Southend United’s under-18 side were made to pay for a series of missed opportunities at the beginning of the second half as they suffered a 5-1 reverse to Peterborough United in their first outing at Boots & Laces this season.

The teenage Shrimpers were hamstrung by the concession of two penalties and two late Peterborough goals added a dominant sheen to the scoreline.

Striker Issa Mpenga scored his first goal of the season to bring Blues level early in the opening period but in the final reckoning it was rendered a mere consolation.

However, coach Danny Heath was keen to remain upbeat.

“The positives were that the boys learnt from last week’s game and the things we had worked on in training,” said Heath.

“At 2-1 at half-time we changed the shape to go to a diamond in midfield with two up top and for the first 25 minutes of the second half there was only one team in it and that was us.

“We could’ve got 4-2 up in fairness but then they got the third from a penalty against the run of play and went on from there.”

Blues ended up conceding five goals having previously been beaten 4-2 by Luton Town on the opening day of the season.

But Heath is confident the Shrimpers’ defence can improve.

“We aren’t being cut open by teams, it’s more about us making the same mistakes,” said Heath.

“But that means it’s stuff we can work on and get better at.”

Peterborough opened the scoring after just nine minutes when Flynn Clarke found the back of the net following a free-kick.

However, Blues equalised when Tommy Lambourne stretched away from the visiting defence and sent a measured centre into the path of Mpenga to fire home.

Peterborough regained the lead with an Archie Jones penalty before the Shrimpers wasted a number of chances to equalise at the start of the second half.

After surviving the scares, Posh extended their lead with another penalty from Jones before further goals from Charlie O’Connell and Bradley Rolt sealed victory for the visitors.

Southend: Taylor, Dabbs (Chandler 28), Bragg, Brogan, Davis, Wallace, Eastwood, Coker (Brown 66), Mpenga (Anyadike 78), Lambourne, Unwin

Subs not used: Grossart & Shala