B Team Report: Saints salvage late draw against Sunderland


Southampton’s B team rescued a dramatic point at the death in a 2-2 draw against Sunderland at Staplewood.

Black Cats captain Ellis Taylor opened the scoring with a well-placed free-kick as the visitors led at half-time.

Harry Gardiner extended the lead ten minutes into the second half from close range, before Will Merry scored off the bench to pull a goal back.

Late pressure from Saints paid off as Sam Amo-Ameyaw scored an excellent solo effort in stoppage time to equalise.

Dave Horseman fielded a youthful team, with Ollie Wright, Leon Pambou, and Olly Lancashire the only players over 18 in the starting line-up.

Kamari Doyle was handed the captain’s armband, partnering Josh Squires in midfield, whilst 15-year-old Jay Robinson was given his first Premier League 2 start.

With several B team regulars out on loan for the second half of the season, seven of the Saints side had also started in the FA Youth Cup at St Mary’s just three days earlier.

In a fairly tight start, where neither side could really get hold of possession, it was the visitors who had the first effort with an audacious attempt from Caden Kelly - his shot from just inside the Saints half dropped wide of the target.

The visitors did open the scoring in the 12th minute through their captain; after Ollie Wright had fouled Ben Middlemas on the edge of the area, Taylor stepped up and placed the resulting free-kick into the bottom left corner.

Amo-Ameyaw had the closest opportunity for a quick response as he hit the side netting from inside the penalty area after being played in by Tyler Dibling.

However, the visitors were beginning to find their groove and Wright was called into action to make an impressive one-on-one save against Harry Gardiner, only for the offside flag to bring the play back.

Tommy Watson went close just before the half hour mark, but he also hit the side netting after charging into the box from the left.

Chances were few and far between for Saints in a frustrating first half, with Olly Lancashire volleying the ball over from 12 yards after meeting a knock down at a corner.

In defence, Sonnie Davis was alert to make two successive blocks with the latter impressively denying a fierce shot across goal from Kelly.

The visitors led at the break, but Saints almost had a remarkable equaliser moments after the restart.

An innocuous back pass was miscontrolled by Sunderland goalkeeper Adam Richardson as the ball rolled towards goal, but Zak Johnson raced back to clear off the line.

Sunderland thought they had their second as Taylor converted a rebound after an initial shot from Watson was saved, but the offside flag was raised.

Less than two minutes later though, in a similar fashion, they did double their lead as Gardiner finished from close range after an effort from Kelly was saved.

With a double change on the hour, Saints looked to turn the tide and soon had a goal back through substitute Will Merry.

Excellent work from Ballard on the left saw the striker race to the byline and cut the ball back for Merry to tap home inside the area for his first PL2 goal of the season.

Merry then created a chance of his own, beating a defender and delivering a dangerous low cross that was cleared with the momentum finally beginning to in Saints’ favour.

Amo-Ameyaw was next to try his luck in search of an equaliser, firing a rising shot over the crossbar from the edge of the area twice in a matter of minutes.

Saints laid siege on the Sunderland goal as Kamari Doyle saw two shots blocked from the edge of the area with the clock approaching the 90th minute.

The late pressure paid off in dramatic fashion as Amo-Ameyaw produced a stoppage time equaliser with a solo effort, driving towards the edge of the box and drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.