B Team Report: Saints fall to Forest defeat


Southampton's B team fell to defeat against Nottingham Forest under the lights at Snows Stadium.

In a tight first half, the visitors threatened more and were rewarded as Alex Mighten opened the scoring before half time.

Saints had limited chances but almost equalised in the second half before Mighten added his second with just over 20 minutes to play.

The defeat sees Forest leapfrog Saints into second place in the table.

With Southampton’s Academy fixture congestion hampering squad selection, there were several changes as the B team lined up in another important PL2 fixture.

Five players who were amongst the Under-18s squad that beat Preston in the FA Youth Cup a day earlier were included, whilst two Under-16s - Jay Robinson and Tommy Dobson-Ventura - also earned call-ups.

A trio of first team players were also handed starts for the second vs third clash, as Juan Larios made a return from injury alongside Sam Edozie and James Bree.

With a chance for both sides to go top of the table with a victory, the game got off to a fairly measured start.

The first clear opening fell to the visitors as Mighten broke through the defence and charged into space to shoot, only to be denied by the feet of Ollie Wright in the Southampton goal.

Wright was required again in the 24th minute as an even bigger opportunity went begging for Forest.

A dangerous cross from the reached Mighten at the far post but, at point blank range, Saints’ shot-stopper launched himself across goal to push the ball onto the underside of the crossbar, with the rebound blazed well over.

Saints were finding it difficult to carve out extended spells of possession and Forest captain Oliver Hammond was next to go close, his shot on the turn clipped the post and went wide.

The deadlock was broken before half time, however, as Mighten finished from close range into the bottom corner after a slick move between Hammond and Julian Larsson in the build up.

There was almost an instant response for Saints in their most threatening attack of the half; Bree was released down the right and his deflected cross rolled to Edozie, whose low shot was saved well by Aaron Bott.

Chances were limited for both sides in the second half, but Saints almost found an equaliser before the hour mark through Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo.

The full-back, who was being deployed in a more attacking role, beat his man on the right wing and delivered a cross that almost crept in at Bott’s near post.

Arguably against the second half run of play, it was the visitors who struck the game’s second goal as Mighten capitalised on a defensive header to volley complete his brace from inside the area.

Forest nearly added a third soon after as Alex Gibson-Hammond skewed a shot well wide on the rebound from a smart low save by Wright, with substitute Esapa Osong then firing narrowly over with the final kick of the game.

The game ended in defeat for the rotated Saints side as they drop below the visitors into third in the table with attention turning to the PL Cup quarter-finals next week.