ROB Small was impressed with how George Wind applied himself when the 16-year-old made his first senior start for Bowers & Pitsea.

The right-back played the full 90 minutes in Bowers’ 2-1 Isthmian Premier League defeat to Worthing in midweek.

And Small felt the teenager could be proud of his performance.

“We put a 16-year-old in at right-back and he slotted in like a glove,” said Bowers boss Small.

“George was calm and composed in possession while he was also solid off the ball.

“We have got to blood young players but it is a difficult time at the moment because we have some players who have played at this level before but it’s the first taste of football in the third-tier of non-league for others.

“It was decided that we wouldn’t tell George that he was going to play until he arrived for the game and I was surprised with his temperament.

“When you put a young player in the team, the other 10 players might think it’s a risk but I was pleased with him.

“At his age, he did very well and I was impressed.”

However, Wind’s fine display was not enough to stop Bowers suffering a defeat.

Late goals from Thomas Chalaye and Oliver Pearce ensured Worthing triumphed despite Brad Warner’s injury time penalty.

But Small was keen to remain upbeat.

“It was a really good performance against one of the best teams in the division,” added Small.

“We showed a lot of character and fight.

“Unfortunately, things haven’t quite fallen for us and we just have to remember that we are a very small fish in this division.

“We are having to play at full tilt to compete with some of the teams and, when you do that, it’s difficult to sustain for the whole game.

“I thought we had a lot of possession and created a number of chances.

“If we put them away in those moments, it’s a difficult game.”

And Small felt Bowers should been awarded a spot-kick at a key moment in the encounter.

“A refereeing decision didn’t go our way when Dan Trendall was clearly brought down inside the penalty area and we were given a free-kick instead,” admitted Small, whose side won the Isthmian North title last season.

“The referee said the foul took place outside of the penalty area, but we have video footage to back up the fact that it should have been a penalty.

“It was a game-changing moment because we were into the last 10 minutes and if we score the penalty it’s 1-1.

“Because of not getting the penalty, we found ourselves chasing the game and conceded a second goal.”