A much improved second half performance was not enough as Southampton's B team were defeated by AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League Cup.
Bournemouth took the lead after ten minutes, Euan Pollock finding space in the box before nestling the ball into the far corner.
Dave Horseman’s side struggled to maintain a foothold in the first half but flipped the game on its head in the second.
Chances fell to the likes of Dom Ballard, Kamari Doyle and even attacking full-backs Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo and Matt Carson, but the visitors somehow managed to hold on for the points.
Saints experimented somewhat with their line-up on Thursday afternoon, Lewis Payne captaining the side which saw Luke Pearce and Ballard line-up alongside each other up top.
There were also two tralists looking to make a mark, one playing at centre-back with Will Tizzard and the other in an attacking midfield position.
Visiting Bournemouth on the other hand went for the tried and tested approach. First-team experienced Zeno Ibsen Rossi and Christian Saydee amongst their starting eleven.
Bournemouth looked to carve an early chance after just five minutes; a long ball from deep finding the wide run of Tarik Gidaree, who attempted a square ball into the path of Jake Scrimshaw but for Trialist A’s well-timed block.
The visitors continued their early pressure and soon got their reward, Pollock finding space inside the box before converting into the far-left corner after ten minutes for the opening goal.
That long ball from deep continued to prove a tool for the Cherries, Christian Saydee was the one this time to bring the ball down but was martialled out of play by Tizzard.
On 25 minutes Bournemouth should’ve made it two. The ball falling to Scrimshaw inside the six-yard box, who tried the acrobatic effort which Ollie Wright was equal to in fine fashion.
Soon after Aaron Roberts went bursting into the box, denied a shot on goal by a superb Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo challenge inside the penalty area.
Another chance fell to the visitors on 35 minutes, as a fiercely struck cross from the left flank was glanced over via the head of skipper Brennan Camp.
Despite both possession and chances swinging in Bournemouth’s favour, it was Saints who finished the half with a flurry.
Neat interplay featuring Ballard, Kamari Doyle and Trialist B saw a low ball sent into the box from Matt Carson; Pearce just beaten to it by a backtracking defender inside the six-yard box.
Saints started the second half with much more urgency, pressing Bournemouth and as a result holding the lion’s share of possession.
Trialist B tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area on the hour mark. Payne’s cross from the left falling to the midfielder before he struck a half volley straight into a Bournemouth defender.
Then came a chance for Doyle, Payne again the provider with an intricate ball from the left into the path of the youngster, who turned and shot but could only drill his effort wide.
The two players then switched roles just two minutes later; Doyle lobbing the ball over the top for the run of Payne whose volley flashed past the far post.
Saints got even closer soon after. Doyle again involved this time rattling the near post with a low strike from just outside the area.
Carson was the next Saints player to get in on the act, the full-back running in at the far post to meet Otseh-Taiwo’s cross but unable to direct his effort goalward.
With Saints clearly in the driving seat Bournemouth defended resolutely, frustrating their hosts with a tight backline.
Substitute Josh Squires looked to make his mark on 75 minutes, driving with the ball through midfield before firing a low strike towards goal which Cherries keeper Ollie Camis did well to hold onto.
Squires then superbly played through Otseh-Taiwo on 84 minutes, but the full-back was just unable to lift the ball over the keeper with Camis closing down to narrow the angle.
With time running out Saints needed one of these chances to go in their favour. One final chance would come with two minutes to go.
A long ball from deep was bought down superbly by Ballard on 88 minutes, the young forward taking a touch before fizzing his effort agonisingly wide of the far post.
Bournemouth held on for the three points, but it was another spirited display from a youthful Saints in the second half.
Horseman’s side now have a break in games, next in action on Monday 7th February with a return to New Bucks Head as West Brom host in Premier League 2.