Southampton's B team enjoyed a dominant afternoon in Premier League 2, hitting four past Aston Villa at Staplewood Campus.
Nathan Tella scored the opener on 24 minutes, winning and then slotting away his penalty with ease after a dominant Saints start.
That dominance continued throughout the first half and into the second. The hosts doubling their lead with Thierry Small’s first for the club from close range before Lewis Payne made it three just a minute after the break.
Payne doubled his tally and made it four on the hour mark as Saints really turned on the heat.
Saints reverted to experience following their youthful side’s victory at Reading on Monday night.
The notable name on the teamsheet was of course Tella, who was joined by a return for Will Smallbone, Payne and Small as he looked to up his minutes.
With their Premier League game on later in the day Aston Villa’s side was a youthful one, top scorer Caleb Chukwuemeka amongst those missing out.
Tella scored four on his last Premier League 2 outing and almost notched another inside five minutes, firing just wide of Oliwier Zych’s far post.
On ten minutes the fans in attendance got their first glimpse of Kazeem Olaige’s direct running play, bursting down the left wing and winning a free kick. Olly Lancashire heading just over from the resulting delivery.
Saints’ pressure on their visitors continued, led in the main by Tella and Olaigbe whose running style left Villa pegged back.
Next came efforts for Small, who cut inside from the left but narrowly missed the far post from a tight angle, and Kegs Chauke, who fired just over from range.
The chances kept coming; Payne back in the side breaking down the right wing before firing a shot against the near post.
Finally the pressure told in the 22nd minute when Saints were awarded a penalty.
Tella, who won the spot kick, stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to give his side a deserved lead.
Minutes later Saints and Tella could have doubled their tally. A lobbed through ball feeding the 22-year-old who forced a good save from an onrushing Zych.
Small thought he had made it two soon after, a neat first-time finish into the far corner deemed offside by the linesman.
Small then produced a neat trick to break free of his man on the left side, before striking the post from a narrow angle as Saints searched for a second.
With three minutes to go before the break the hosts continued to threaten, Dynel Simeu heading just over from a deep cross into the box.
Another break followed soon after, Olaigbe the one at the centre of it but dragging his shot wide of the near post.
The pressure continued into first half injury-time, Caleb Watts, Olaigbe and Tella combining well with one-touch passes but eventually crowded out.
Then in first half stoppage time it was finally two, Tella with two bites of the cherry which were well saved by Zych but the ball fell to Small who fired home his first for the club.
Saints certainly didn’t let up going into the second half, making it three just a minute into the new 45.
Payne fed through by Dare Olufunwa on the right flank, before finishing from an impossible angle and adding to the score line.
Following the goal Villa enjoyed their first spell of pressure in the game. Simeu the one to thank after getting in the way to block not one, but two close-range strikes.
Saints response was almost instant, Tella dancing through the visitors’ defence before his lobbed finish rattled the crossbar.
On the hour mark they made it four, Payne surging down that same flank he scored from at the start of the half and producing the same result for his second of the afternoon.
Saints controlled the play from then on in, Villa only having glimpses of the Saints net with Jack Bycroft remaining relatively untested.
Tristan Goodridge went the closest the Villains had come all afternoon in the final ten minutes, striking the crossbar after a neat turn inside the box.
For all of the exploits at the top end of the pitch the full-time whistle signalled a third consecutive clean sheet for Bycroft and his defenders, conceding just one in four PL2 games.
Saints have the chance to continue this run even further on Friday, hosting Newcastle United at Staplewood Campus.