Under-23: “It’s Another Learning Curve”
Hayden Mullins felt his Under-23 side paid the price for not capitalising on a period of first-half dominance as they went down to a 4-1 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic at Vicarage Road.
The stage look set for a fourth straight home win in the Professional Development League when Joseph Hungbo curled in a beauty from distance for his fifth of the season on the half-hour mark.
But Ryan Cassidy hit the top of the bar with a penalty just before that and a couple of other chances went begging, leaving the door ajar for Wigan to firstly equalise before half-time and then pull clear with three goals in 15 second-half minutes, including a hat-trick clincher for Charlie Jolley.
"I'm disappointed with the manner of the goals we conceded," said Mullins. "We were just a bit naive. We had a couple of good chances after going 1-0 up and then started to relax a little bit. If ever there was a lesson that missing chances can come back and bite you then that was it.
"It's another learning curve. The boys know what is required and today was a tough day. They are a good side and we lost our way a bit the longer the game went on. This lot are a good group to work with, though, and they are willing to learn."
Mullins was without the services of Kane Crichlow, the Bermuda youth international, who is set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
"It's a real unlucky one for him," said Mullins. "He was invited to go and train with the first team on Sunday and he's broken his ankle. It's a big shame for him as he started the season so well. It's a bit of a blow. I think he'll be out for 4-6 months."
Danny Welbeck was the first to check on Crichlow after he went down as he knows all about ankle injuries, while another England international with experience of a major injury went one step further.
"I believe Chalobah is helping Kane with transport in and out of training and asked if he'd like to go and stay with him for a couple of weeks," said Mullins. "That's great for Kane as he's over from Bermuda and Nate recognises he might be a bit lonely right now, so he's invited him to stay with him for a little bit. That's fantastic and a great gesture."
HORNETS: Parkes; Balogun (C), Barrett, Spencer-Adams, Zeegelaar; Hungbo, Whelan, Wise, Bennetts (Trialist 72); Hinds, Cassidy (Hutchinson 80).
Subs not used: Adebiyi, White (GK), Burchell.