Under-18s report: Southampton 4 Chelsea 0

Our winning start to the season in the Under-18 Premier League came to an abrupt halt on the blustery South Coast as Jody Morris’s side suffered defeat in the south section for the first time since last September.

It was a display lacking in the quality and application that had seen our youngsters win their opening seven league matches this campaign, although their strong start to 2017/18 means they remain five points clear at the top of the regional league.

Morris made two changes from last weekend’s battling victory away at Leicester, with Nicolas Tie replacing Marcin Bulka in goal and Tushaun Walters, scorer of our late winner in the Midlands, coming in for Billy Gilmour, who was absent on international duty. Our quintet of England Under-17 representatives also remain away in India at the World Cup for their age group and take on USA in the quarter-finals later this afternoon (Saturday).

The Staplewood training campus, venue for the day’s action, was subjected to intermittent periods of driving wind and rain as a stormy Saturday set the scene at Southampton. However, it was the hosts with the wind in their sails from the first whistle and Javen Siu went close with a low strike just wide inside the first 30 seconds.

Juan Castillo holds off a challenge on the touchline.

Jake Vokins was next to take aim at Tie’s goal, shooting narrowly off-target as the young Blues struggled to settle in possession and were subsequently pinned back in their own half. Our first forward foray resulted in a blocked shot from Tariq Uwakwe but that proved the limit of attacking joy for Morris’s men in the first half.

Tie watched Will Smallbone’s free-kick fly a couple of feet past his post before the French keeper made a comfortable low stop to deny Harlem Hale’s effort from the right. The momentum remained with the Saints as the interval approached and they established a two-goal lead by half-time with a double in the five minutes before the break.

Harry Hamblin opened the scoring with a header, flicking on a dangerous inswinging free-kick from Smallbone to beat Tie, before Hale doubled the lead with a close-range finish following positive play down the left flank from Will Ferry.

Morris switched to a back four in response and introduced Clinton Mola into the midfield but the home side grabbed a killer third goal six minutes after the restart. Another free-kick into the box from Smallbone caused problems and we failed to clear the danger before Christoph Klarer found the bottom corner.

The best opportunity of the game for the visitors fell to Martell Taylor-Crossdale shortly after that third goal but the striker slipped on the slick surface, summing up a disappointing afternoon for our youngsters. Anjorin fired high and wide after an hour, while Lamptey (pictured below) did well on the right wing and delivered a cross towards substitute Daishawn Redan, though keeper Alex Cull grasped the loose ball.

With the game opening up further in the latter exchanges, there were opportunities for Southampton to punish us on the break. Jack Wakely made a well-timed sliding tackle in the box to thwart Michael Obafemi and Tie saved from the striker moments later but the Saints did eventually make it 4-0 in added time as Obafemi cut inside and rolled underneath Tie.

The loss brings to an end our 14-game unbeaten run in all Under-18 competitions, stretching back to April. An Under-18 Premier League Cup trip to Brighton is next up in a fortnight.

 

Chelsea (3-4-1-2) Nicolas Tie; Marcel Lavinier (Clinton Mola h/t), Jack Wakely (c), Dynel Simeu; Tariq Lamptey, Tariq Uwakwe, Tino Anjorin (Marcel Lewis 63), Juan Castillo; Tushaun Walters; Charlie Brown (Daishawn Redan 61), Martell Taylor-Crossdale
Unused subs Jon Russell, Renedi Masampu

Southampton (4-2-3-1) Alex Cull; Oliver Gardner, Christoph Klarer, Jamie Bradley-Green, Jake Vokins; Harry Hamblin, Javen Siu; Harlem Hale, Will Smallbone, Will Ferry; Michael Obafemi (Taymar Fleary 90+2)
Unused subs
Adam Parkes, Kayne Ramsay, Simon Kozak, Callum Watts
Scorers Hamblin 40; Hale 45; Klarer 51; Obafemi 90+1
Booked Obafemi 88

Referee C Hubbard