Saints U18s 4-2 WBA U18s: Report

By SFC Media time Sat 19 Oct Club

The Under-18s returned to winning ways with a fairly comfortable 4-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Staplewood.

Saints imposed their dominance from the first whistle of Saturday afternoon’s game, but they also endured slightly worrying moments as a hungry Albion side constantly battled in attempt to force their way back into the match.

Certain aspects of the victory delighted U18s coach Jason Dodd, who was pleased with how eager his side pushed forward as they successfully looked to atone for their previous defeat to Chelsea.

Saints looked to make the most of the home advantage immediately, and this was epitomised by early pressure from Sam Gallagher.

The towering forward latched onto a hopeful ball from Tom Leggett before driving an initial shot that was parried back out by Alex Palmer. Unfortunately, the Baggies goalkeeper was untroubled by Jake Hesketh’s follow-up as the youngster drilled narrowly wide under pressure.

Southampton didn’t have to wait to see their efforts rewarded as GALLAGHER calmly sent the hosts into the lead. Josh Sims utilised his blistering pace to latch onto a long ball before pulling back for the striker to side-foot underneath the arm of Palmer.

Minutes later, Gallagher kindly returned the favour as he assisted SIMS for Saints’ second of the match. An incisive pass from Gallagher split the defence, allowing the unmarked winger to slam the ball into the roof of the net.

After appearing increasingly comfortable as the game progressed, uncertainty suddenly crept in for the hosts when GED OLDNALL capitalised on some defensive confusion to halve West Brom’s deficit. 

Saints’ failure to swiftly clear the ball on the edge of the area allowed Oldnall to race in and faintly clip the ball past the onrushing Harry Isted.

Reminiscent of the way that Saints built on their first goal, the Baggies fought straightaway for a second goal, but they were thwarted from the penalty spot.

After Oldnall was shoved the ground in the area, the forward dusted himself off to take the spot-kick but saw his fairly weak attempt pushed to safety by Isted.

The visitors’ misery was compounded by NIALL MASON when the midfielder struck in stunning circumstances as the break approached.

Mason took advantage of acres of space as he whipped a soaring 30-yard effort that curled into the top corner to restore Saints’ two-goal lead.


Looking to extend his and Southampton’s tally further, Sims was unfortunate not to hand the hosts a fourth shortly after the restart. The youngster burst through the centre of the 18-yard-box but failed to wrap his foot around the ball under pressure as he side-footed well wide.

Tahvon Campbell nearly made the hosts pay for their wayward aiming early into the second half when his 25-yard shot curled beyond Isted and rattled the post.

However, the visitors did give Saints U18s cause for concern when they cut the goal margin to just one yet again through OLDNALL.

The striker raced deep into the 18-yard-box to instinctively meet Phil Gannon’s cross with a close-range header that crashed into the net.

Thankfully, with 20 minutes remaining Saints eased themselves back into the comfort zone as they secured a two-goal lead for a third time in the encounter through substitute DAN DEMKIV.

Individual brilliance from the youngster saw him control the ball on the edge of the area before chipping the ball towards goal with the outside of his foot. Palmer initially raced out of his goal in anticipation of the danger but his fingertips couldn’t prevent the ball from bouncing into the open goal as Saints secured all three points.


Speaking after the game to Saints Player, Dodd was delighted with the flashes of brilliance that his side displayed and hopes the U18s continue to replicate good training work on the pitch when Saints face Liverpool next week.

The U18s coach said: “We scored four good goals – not that the opposition made mistakes, we had to create them ourselves.

“A few of our goals today were from decent possession of the ball, moving the opposition around, decent delivery into the box – and then you get goals. Today there were some really positive things to come out of the game.

“It’s about putting our performances that we do daily onto matchday and there were glimpses today. There are still areas where we need to focus on, but we’re young.

“We go to Liverpool [next week]. I imagine it’ll be a really tough game, but these boys need to be tested for them to improve and get better. They want to be playing against the best players. Today we edged it, but we deserved to win the game 4-2.”

Meanwhile, Sam Gallagher, who produced an impressive performance including a goal and two assists, was delighted to find the net after a few games without having done so and was also pleased with how the team held on when the Baggies threatened. 

“I was happy to get a goal,” the forward said. “It’s been a few games since I got one, so it’s really nice. 

“For strikers, it goes on the record how many goals you get so it was nice. I won a few more headers in the second half, which was pleasing. First half, I didn’t really get hold of it, but on the whole it was good.

“The defence kept us in the game so many times, they made a few mistakes which could have got punished but Harry [Isted] helped us out with that penalty save.”

When asked if Gallagher wanted more of the same from what was produced this weekend, he delivered a typically encouraging striker’s response

The youngster concluded: “More goals and more assists is what I’m looking for!”

Southampton U18s team: Harry Isted, Tom Leggett, Isaac Nehemie, Armani Little (Mark Irvine 63), Kyle Clinton, Josh Debayo, Niall Mason, Marcus Barnes (George Mells 63), Sam Gallagher, Jake Hesketh, Josh Sims (Dan Demkiv 67). 

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