Leverstock Green’s excellent run in the FA Youth Cup came to an end on Monday night as they were beaten 6-0 in the first round proper at Southend United.
The Green side gave a very good account of themselves, and caused a few scares for the Football League academy side.
However, they were punished for too many mistakes at the back and ran out of steam during the second half as the class and superior fitness of the home side told.
Ross Johnson, George Burton (2), Macauley Keatin, Freddie Gard and Sonny Coutts got the goals.
After a fairly even opening, Leverstock had a couple of early chances.
In the 10th minute they broke away quickly from a Southend corner as Casey Lindsell found Luke Warner-Eley, but Leverstock’s top scorer was thwarted by a tackle.
Seconds later, Warner-Eley hit a shot just over the bar. In the 15th minute Green keeper Mark Berg did well to grab and hold on to a low shot from Brandon Scott with a forward coming in to pounce on any rebound.
Southend opened the scoring in the 19th minute from a far post corner, as Johnson came in to head home from a narrow angle.
An unfortunate second goal followed three minutes later, as the ball was given away in the right-back area and Burton took advantage to run on and shoot home from the edge of the box.
Leverstock fought back strongly, though. On 26 minutes they were denied twice from a corner by Southend keeper Joshua Bexon, who first blocked a header from Jayden Shelly-McPherson then kept out a follow-up effort from Alfie Boswell.
Four minutes later Boswell hit a superb shot from 30 yards which rattled off the crossbar.
On 35 minutes Warner-Eley struck a free-kick from distance which was heading for the top corner until Bexon tipped it over the bar.
Had any of those chances gone in, Leverstock would have been right back in the game, but instead they were punished for another mistake in the 39th minute.
Too long was taken to clear a ball inside their own box, and Burton pounced to steal the ball and shoot home a third Southend goal.
That left the Green side with a mountain to climb in the second half, which became even steeper as they started to tire.
The fourth goal arrived in the 58th minute, and it was an unfortunate one for Berg, who did well to turn a shot from Gard onto the post, but the rebound fell kindly for Keating to tap home from a couple of feet out.
Another piece of defensive hesitancy was swiftly punished 10 minutes later as Gard slid in to stab home a cross from close range.
Coutts applied the finishing touch to turn home a ferocious cross in the 75th minute as the Southend side threatened to run riot against a Leverstock side that were out on their feet.
However, the Green players continued to battle and did not allow any further goals over the last 15 minutes.
They might have had a consolation goal towards the end when a ball over the top put Boswell through, but the impressive Bexon came off his line to block Boswell’s shot.
In the end it was a fine effort by the Leverstock players, who came off the pitch with their heads held high and to great applause from their travelling supporters.
They must now turn their attention back to the Southern Counties League, where they currently top the Corinthian Division with a 100 per cent record from six games.