There is always an element risk when giving a young player their first chance in the Football League.

The early signs from Dayle Southwell’s debut in the 1-0 defeat against Crawley Town on Saturday would suggest Wycombe Wanderers’ gamble may just pay-off.

He looked assured throughout and but for an excellent goal line clearance would have opened his account with a volley in the first half.

While Southwell, who joined the club from National League North side Boston United in June, was disappointed with the result, he was pleased with his own display.

“To get the Football League debut was pleasing, but I’m very disappointed with the result and I thought in the first half especially we played well,” Southwell said.

“I felt like I fared well and I enjoyed it. When their goal went it was a bit frustrating because we played well, but overall it was a good experience.”

The 22-year-old looked sharp in the early stages as he linked up well with Garry Thompson and Myles Weston, before the winger was withdrawn with an injury.

He went closest to finding the net in the first period, when his controlled strike beat the keeper and was cleared off the line.

It was an agonising moment for anyone associated with Wanderers, but Southwell believes his maiden goal for the club is not too far away.

“I thought [I had scored] because it has gone past the keeper. Maybe I caught it too cleanly and the defenders have got back to clear,” Southwell said of his chance.

“Hopefully once I get off the mark the goals will start flowing. It would have been nice for that one to have gone in today, but there are plenty of games in August so I am sure I will score soon.”

Wycombe’s first half profligacy was punished just before the hour mark on Saturday when a defensive slip up allowed Jimmy Smith to race through and score.

Gareth Ainsworth’s side never really got up to speed in their attempts to peg the hosts back and Southwell believes the goal took the impetus out of Wycombe’s game.

He said: “I think the goal took the wind out of our sails a little bit and we lost track of the way we were playing. It made us play a bit more long balls and it didn’t work out for us.”

Southwell’s team mate Adebayo Akinfenwa has been quick to talk up his ability and suggested the inexperienced forward could shoulder much of the goalscoring burden this season.

It is a responsibility Southwell is happy to take on and remains confident of hitting a 20 goal target.

He said: “Whatever level you are playing at, as a striker you set yourself 20 goals and out here today I felt like I had chances to score and have a chance of getting that target.”