COLCHESTER United handed a league debut to three of their fledgling academy youngsters, at the weekend.

And U's interim head coach Wayne Brown says the composure Chay Cooper, Kaan Bennett and Bradley Ihionvien all showed in front of goal at Hartlepool United was particularly pleasing.

The young trio all appeared as second-half substitutes in Colchester's 2-0 triumph at Victoria Park, in their final League Two game of the season.

Cooper scored with a wonderful long-range strike just minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute for Alan Judge.

And Bennett and Ihionvien also looked lively in front of goal, on what was a memorable day for the youngsters.

Brown said: “All three of the trio could have scored.

“What pleased me the most is that they had composure in front of goal.


“They put their shots on target, they didn’t have any rushes of blood, which sometimes can be the case for people playing in front of people who they probably haven’t played in front of before.

“It wasn’t just their contributions in front of goal; it was their all-round performance and their work ethic and their mentality that I was also pleased with.

“After the game, we congratulated the three young boys and congratulated Chay on his goal.

“Everyone knows the make-up of the football club.

“We like to bring through our own but we try and do it at the right time, when they’ve earned the right, when they’ve warranted a place on the bus.

“It was a long journey but a good experience for them in itself, coming away from their families and doing something different.

“It’s about ultimately putting trust in personnel at the right time and when they’re doing well, there is a good time to put them in."


Colchester's win at Hartlepool secured them a 15th-place finish this season, thanks to three wins in their last four matches.

Brown was pleased with the mentality his side showed in finishing the campaign so strongly.

Brown said: “Yes, it’s easier when you’re safe and when there’s a game at the end of the season when you can’t get relegated and you can’t go up and there’s not too much on the game.

“But for us, that’s our mentality; the standards we’ve set, they’ve more often than not been achieved and we’ve pushed them.

“We put demands on them not to go to Hartlepool and down tools and just treat it like the last game of the season, getting over the line and going for the summer break.

“The last four performances have been exceptional, with ten points out of them.

“That’s what we demanded, that’s what we wanted and that’s what we strived for."