The pacy Etherington broke his scoring duck just before the interval before producing an eye-catching second half display down the left flank.
The 19-year-old’s trickery has been a feature of Hughton’s reserve teams this campaign, playing alongside Ledley King, Alton Thelwell, Gary Doherty, Dave McEwen and Simon Davies who have recently graduated to the first team pool. Matthew confesses to feeling a little bit left out.
"Definitely, I’m not going to lie about it, it’s been hard for me. But I’ve spoken to the manager and he says I’m in his plans so I’ve just got to bide my time really."
Adding to his newly-created goalscoring tally will not do his cause any harm in terms of alerting the manager to his first team potential, but the first is often the most important.
"Yup — nice to get off the mark, " said Matthew with a hint of relief. "I scored a goal in a friendly when I first got here, but it’s good to get a first league goal.
"I felt I did well, it’s a hard position for me to play, left wing-back, but I did alright and came into it more in the second half. It’s a different position for me."
Told of the presence of John Barnes in the crowd and his subsequent praise, boyhood Liverpool fan Etherington added: "It’s good to hear."
By Richard Hubbard
Matthew Etherington turned in another dazzling performance for Chris Hughton’s reserve side on Tuesday evening against Chelsea at Kingstonian, registering his first competitive goal for the club and attracting compliments from that master of wing play John Barnes, no less.