GREAT Wakering Rovers player-manager Steve Butterworth has been given food for thought ahead of this weekend’s derby with Canvey Island after a trio of teenagers impressed in the 2-1 Isthmian League Cup defeat to Tilbury.

Jack Lelliott, Louie Hay and Henry Fisher - who are 18 - played the full 90 minutes as Wakering suffered a late loss to their Isthmian North rivals.

But Butterworth insists the promising youngsters can be proud of their performance.

“We played three 18-year-olds in defence and they did not look out of place,” said Butterworth.

“Reece Conway was the only defender who is vaguely experienced and Tilbury could only score a penalty and in the last minute, so the defenders held their own.

“I was more than happy with how we defended with the young lads.

“The game also gave us another opportunity to get some minutes into players like Billy Harris, who had not played much this season because of being unfit.

“George Cox also got 90 minutes under his belt after being injured, so that was good.

“But I was extremely impressed with the 18-year-olds and I was not too bothered with the result because the competition is not a priority for us.”

Wakering fell behind in the contest with Tilbury thanks to former Bowers & Pitsea frontman David Knight converting from the spot.

However, Butterworth brought himself off the bench and levelled matters by nodding a Conway cross into the corner of the net with just six minutes remaining.

It looked as though the clash was heading for a penalty shoot-out, but Tilbury grabbed a last-gasp winner thanks to Ola Ogunwamide.

Although the contest saw Butterworth get his name on the scoresheet for the first time since February, the attacker insists he will not be rewarding himself by starting this weekend’s eye-catching derby with Mark Bentley’s Canvey.

“I am not fit enough to play 90 minutes anymore because I am doing everything off the pitch as player-manager,” added Butterworth, who took permanent charge in April.

“Due to that, it’s impossible to get 100 per cent fit.

“But I can come on and be effective because I am big and strong.

“I can make an impact by coming on for 10 or 20 minutes and people can play off me.

“But I think it is best if I lead the team from the dugout.”