B Team Report: Saints survive scare to defeat Derby


Southampton’s B team survived some second half pressure to pick up an important win on the road against Derby County in Premier League 2.

Will Armitage opened the scoring with a towering header in the ninth minute as Saints led at half time.

Sam Amo-Ameyaw doubled the lead early in the second half with a confident finish before Derby halved the deficit instantly through Dajaune Brown.

The hosts pushed for a leveller but Kamari Doyle sealed the win in stoppage time with a composed breakaway finish.

Fresh from a positive international break for a handful of players, Saints lined up unchanged from their last league outing against Aston Villa.

Alex Stepien-Iwumene and Cam Bragg marshalled the centre of midfield behind the attacking quartet that has become a staple in recent weeks, with Doyle again taking the captain’s armband.

Stepien-Iwumene was first to carve out an opportunity in just the second minute with a defence splitting pass to set Tyler Dibling through on goal, but Harry Evans in the opposing goal was alert to rush out and smother the ball.

The hosts then had a chance of their own in the early stages thanks to some clever play from Kido Taylor-Hart; the Derby winger produced some inventive trickery and found Cian Kelly in the area but his shot was well saved by Ollie Wright.

Up the other end, Doyle had his first opportunity as he entered the penalty area but saw his shot deflected out for a corner.

From the resulting set piece, the opening goal arrived to cap off a lively ten minutes as Armitage rose highest to direct his header into the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar.

There was almost an immediate second for Saints as Dibling and Doyle combined on a swift counter attack but the former’s effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

The game settled after its fast-paced start as Saints began to gain a sense of control over their bottom of the league opponents, keeping the ball well in spells of possession.

It was Derby, however, who carved out the next chance in a rare attack that was gain started by Taylor-Hart with Dajaune Brown this time failing to convert a cross.

Two fantastic chances for a second goal agonisingly passed by as Jay Robinson was set through on goal but had his shot saved before Dibling had an effort cleared of the line as he connected with a delightful Doyle cross.

Saints did have the ball in the back of the net twice more but were denied by the offside flag on both occasions as they had to settle for a one-goal lead at the break.

The second half started slower in comparison to the first but, in the space of four minutes, the game burst back into life.

With seemingly nowhere to go on the left wing, Robinson did well to wriggle free of his man and slip in Amo-Ameyaw, who powered the ball across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner to double the lead.

Almost instantly though, Derby hit back and halved the deficit through Brown as they turned the game’s momentum on its head.

Substitute Jayden Davidson was then denied by a vital save from Wright as he hit a volley on the turn after some pinball in the penalty area.

Wright was in action again moments later as a Jack Bates free-kick from distance needed to be tipped over as it headed towards the top corner.

Jem Hewlett had a chance to extend Saints’ lead from a corner but his header was saved well at close range, before Derby began to really push for a dramatic leveller.

The hosts were probing from all avenues, but Saints sub Will Merry almost eased the tension with ten minutes to go as he was denied by a strong save at the near post.

However, in stoppage time, the victory was sealed as Doyle was played through on goal and coolly slotted the ball underneath Evans to claim all three points.