B Team Report: Saints earn vital point


Kazeem Olaigbe's second penalty of the season earned Southampton's B team a vital point in Premier League 2, on a sunny Friday afternoon at Staplewood Campus.

Stoke took the lead early on, Douglas James-Taylor finishing under Jack Bycroft after eight minutes.

Saints went on to dominate the rest of the half despite going behind, getting their reward in first-half stoppage time via Kazeem Olaigbe’s second successful penalty of the season.

The second half swung in favour of both sides, neither able to find that winner in what was a competitive affair at the training ground.

Dave Horseman made three changes to the side which lost to Birmingham City on Monday; Olly Lancashire, Caleb Watts and Josh Lett dropping out in place of Thierry Small, Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo and Ethan Burnett.

Stoke’s top scorer Adam Potter captained the side, with new acquisition Matthew Barker starting at the heart of the defence.

Both sides went into Friday afternoon’s fixture keen to make amends after defeats on Monday.

Whilst Saints fell foul to a Birmingham comeback, Stoke were on the wrong end of an 8-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa.

It was the visitors who would hit first on eight minutes; Saints losing the ball in the middle of the park and James-Taylor making no mistake in one-on-one to give Stoke the lead.

Saints’ young duo combined well to almost immediately respond within three minutes.

Kamari Doyle’s lobbed through ball bought down by Dominic Ballard, the forward then hounded out by three retreating defenders.

Then came an effort from Olaigbe, who profited off of some strong closing down by Kegs Chauke and Ballard to receive the ball on the edge of the box, before seeing his low shot blocked.

The next big chance fell to Doyle, who latched onto a deep through ball sent by Otseh-Taiwo, but his lobbed effort was well saved by keeper Nathan Broome who was quick off his line.

Stoke continued to be susceptible to the lobbed through ball, this time Olaigbe finding the run of Payne who was denied a shot at goal by the offside flag.

Despite being a goal behind Saints dominated the first-half, Doyle involved again just four minutes shy of the break with a long-range strike which skimmed past the keeper’s right-hand post.

The Saints youngster created the game’s next chance as he stepped over a wide free kick, swinging a ball into the back post where Dynel Simeu was waiting to test Broome at his near post.

As the pressure built Horseman and his side will have been dreading the half-time whistle with the hosts firmly on a top.

Then, in the final minute of the half, the hosts were awarded a spot-kick with Chauke bought down in the box.

Up stepped Olaigbe who had already scored from the spot at Middlesbrough, following suit this time around to and sending Broome the wrong way.

Although the hosts ended the first half the brighter, it was Stoke who came out for the second with more purpose.

Goal scorer James-Taylor looked for his second of the afternoon with a shot just outside the penalty area, which failed to find the target and proved little worry for Bycroft.

Other than the above the Saints keeper remained relatively untested despite the Potters’ pressure. Horseman’s side regaining the ascendancy as the half wore on.

Like the first Stoke were being forced back by Saints press, the home side just short of finding that final ball.

On the break came an opening for the visitors, D’Margio Wright-Phillips cutting in from the left but Bycroft able to collect comfortably.

That chance seemed to swing momentum back into Stoke’s favour, with Saints dropping off and allowing Kevin Russell’s side to enjoy possession of their own.

Daniel Malone was next to go close, firing a first-time shot over from the edge of the box as the game entered the final 15 minutes.

Typical of how the afternoon panned out it was Saints who would threaten next; Doyle with a shot on the edge of the box which Broome did well to meet low to his right.

Olaigbe continued to prove the focal point of the attacks, using his close control to carry the ball forward whilst dodging challenges from all angles.

As the game entered stoppage time the intensity of the game refused to drop as both sides searched for a winner.

But it wasn’t to be with both sides settling for a point after a goal apiece. Something for Saints to build on in the coming weeks.

Next up for Horseman’s side is a visit to League One side Charlton Athletic in the Papa John’s Trophy group stages on Tuesday night.