An injury-time free-kick from Sonny Blu Lo-Everton earned the Hornets another dramatic victory from behind at Ipswich Town on Saturday, to keep the pressure on Under-18 Professional Development League leaders Millwall.
“He wants to do extra every day after training, and sometimes we have to protect him a bit and rein him in,” said Under-18 Assistant Coach Tom Hart, speaking about match-winner Lo-Everton.
“But he wants to practice those free-kicks every day. It’s really encouraging, and he’s got that natural ability.”
The young Hornets dominated from the off, but Ipswich were resolute in defence and took the lead through a first-half corner. The visitors stayed true to their game plan though and moved the ball well, eventually equalising after 80 minutes through substitute Thomas Horsewood, who was returning from a hamstring injury.
“Thomas was unlucky not to start, he’s looked really sharp since coming back from injury and he’s been scoring goals as well,” said Hart.
“As a first-year scholar halfway through the season he would have liked to have played a lot more football, but he’s realised that and coming back he just looks hungrier than ever.”
Having come from behind three times in last week’s 4-3 victory against Bristol City, Hart was not surprised to see the determination and never-say-die attitude from the players reap rewards once again.
“As long as we keep performing like that and finding ways to win and get what we deserve, that’s the most pleasing thing and it’s a massive positive for us,” he said.
“The lads kept going and even in the 96th minute when Ipswich won a free-kick and put everyone in the box, we were putting our bodies on the line to clear it away.
“It was a massive win, our performance deserved it and it just shows the determination and commitment of the players at the moment to keep going until the last minute and until we get the win.”
Match-winner Lo-Everton and defender Andi Janjeva were two players included in the first-team squad which travelled to Tranmere on Thursday night, and Hart praised them for bringing back to the Academy what they have learned from the senior team.
“It was great for Sonny and Andi to be part of the first-team squad on Thursday night and then come and play for us on Saturday and have the right attitude,” he said.
“I spoke to them before the game about using those experiences with the first team and trying to add it to their game and help the Under-18s as a group. I asked them about the warm-up and they said it was loud, people were talking and demanding from each other, they were professional.
“We’ve seen that at the top end, and we have to create that in the youth team to affect others in a positive way and create the right environment where we prepare like the first team.”