B Team Report: Saints exit Hampshire Senior Cup


Southampton’s B team suffered derby day defeat to a strong Portsmouth side to exit the Hampshire FA Senior Saturday Cup on Tuesday night.

Under the lights at Fratton Park, first-half strikes from Zak Swanson, Reeco Hackett and Michael Jacobs flattered the hosts, teeing up a second 45 minutes fraught with action.

With Saints reduced to 10 men just three minutes after the restart with Olly Lancashire's dismissal, three goals in 19 minutes followed as Hackett’s second of the night was matched by a pair of Jimmy-Jay Morgan efforts.

That proved to be as good as it got for the visitors, with any hopes of a dramatic comeback denied by a late Koby Mottoh strike.

Making four changes from the side that beat Aston Villa in Premier League 2 on Saturday, Dom Ballard, Will Armitage, Cameron Bragg and Jimmy-Jay Morgan came into the line-up, with their opponents boasting plenty of senior experience.

With 10 of their starting eleven tasting varying amounts of first team minutes so far in 2022/23, it was no surprise the home side were quick to set the tempo.

After Ballard dragged a low shot a yard wide in the opening exchanges, Danny Cowley’s outfit broke the deadlock with their first attack at the other end.

With a corner finding its way to Swanson at the back post, the full-back took a touch with his chest before dispatching the ball back where it came from and into the back of the net.

Despite the early setback, Saints responded in spirited fashion, displaying some neat football in enemy territory.

Ballard and Morgan demonstrated their ever-growing relationship up front, with the former teeing up the later inside the box, with Morgan’s shot curling into the arms of Josh Oluwayemi.

With the duo continuing to look a threat, the prolific Ballard almost turned provider midway through the half, with his floated cross from the byline inches too high for Morgan or Sam Bellis to connect at the back post.

Having inflicted a few nervous moments on the home-supported Fratton End, the hosts doubled their lead in fortuitous fashion on the half-hour mark.

Picking up a half-cleared corner, Kieron Freeman’s half-volley was scuffed into the heart of the box, where a scramble resulted in Hackett finding space to drive home from 12 yards.

Maintaining a rub of the green, Pompey added a third just seven minutes later, thanks to an even greater slice of luck.

After Jacobs swivelled past Jack Turner to make space on the left-hand side of the box, his curling shot took a wicked deflection off of Lancashire to beat Olly Wright and provide some breathing space at the halfway stage.

After the lull of the interval, the derby burst to life after the restart, starting with Lancashire’s dismissal having dragged down Joe Pigott as last man.

Immediately making the most of their man advantage, Hackett tapped in his second from close range, before Horseman’s side rallied in impressive fashion.

Just three minutes after falling four behind, Morgan remained the coolest man inside Fratton Park when one-on-one with Oluwayemi, waiting for the keeper to commit before dinking the ball into the back of the net.

Firing up the 200-strong following from SO14, Morgan silenced the home crowd once again just before the hour-mark, rising highest to head Turner’s in-swinging delivery into the far corner to halve the deficit.

In the ascendancy, Ballard had a strike from the edge of the box well-saved by an advanced Oluwayemi, with Morgan close to completing his hat-trick on 72 minutes when his well-hit attempt flew just over the bar.

In similar vein, Hackett almost completed his hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining by rippling the side netting, swiftly followed by Koby Mottoh striking the crossbar inside the final 10 minutes.

An entertaining cup encounter, Saints could not force a nervy final few moments for Pompey, who made sure of Hampshire Senior Saturday Cup progression with a late Mottoh goal.