Two goals from Kazeem Olaigbe helped Southampton's B team on their way back to winning ways in Premier League 2, with a 3-1 win over second place West Brom at Snows Stadium.
The opener came via a long ball from deep from Baggies keeper Ronnie Hollingshead, finding left-back Tom Fellows who finished the move in some style on 17 minutes.
It was all Saints from then on in, the hosts finally grabbing a deserved equaliser in the 45th minute through Luke Pearce’s cool finish after rounding Hollingshead.
The game was flipped on its head in the 52nd minute as Kazeem Olaigbe fired home from close range to make it 2-1.
Olaigbe continued his fine form with his second on 74 minutes, finding the back of the net from range as West Brom backtracked.
Saints’ starting line-up was once again a youthful one; Pearce keeping his place in the side following his goal in Wednesday’s abandoned match against Bournemouth, as Harry Lewis came in for his second appearance of the season between the sticks.
West Brom’s standout man was number nine Reyes Cleary, who had netted in his last four Premier League 2 games, catching the eye of the likes of Borussia Mönchengladbach in the process.
The start of the game proved to be an end-to-end affair. The visitors pushing Dave Horseman’s side back before the hosts would break with pace on the counter.
It was one of those breaks which almost resulted in the first goal; Kazeem Olaigbe carrying the ball through the middle of the park before feeding Jayden Smith, whose cross-goal shot narrowly missed the far corner.
But after a period in which Saints edged the chances and possession they were punished by a long through ball from Baggies keeper Hollingshead.
The keeper picked up the ball deep inside his own half and found the run of full back Fellows on the left flank, who cut inside and fired past Lewis at this near post.
Saints responded well. First Pearce with a right-sided shot which Hollingshead parried, then picked up by Olaigbe who forced another fine save.
The response continued from Dave Horseman’s side, but the visitors were standing strong in defence despite being pinned back in their own half.
Thierry Small’s direct run on 41 minutes carved a way through the West Brom defence, finding the run of Smith who had just mistimed his run according to the linesman.
Finally the pressure paid off just shy of first half stoppage time. Pearce, who had been a positive spark all game, coolly rounding the keeper after Watts’ through ball to grab a deserved equaliser.
Saints started the second much like they finished the first, pushing the Baggies back and forcing Hollingshead into some early work as he collected Payne’s header.
Then came a shot from the edge of the area for captain Chauke. Hollingshead claiming with relative ease despite the power on the strike.
Once more the pressure told for Horseman and his side. Watts again the provider after combining well with Payne, feeding Olaigbe who made no mistake from a tight angle to take the lead.
The Baggies responded with their best spell of the game, Cleary leading the revival but the Saints defence matching their visitors stride-for-stride.
This spell didn’t mean the end of Saints’ attacking threat; a strong run from substitute Ramello Mitchell finally falling to Small on the far side who forced another Hollingshead save.
Pearce thought he had his second on the hour mark. Unmarked at the back post the Northern Ireland international tapped home Turner’s through ball, only to be deemed offside.
When the Baggies did threaten it was a team effort from Saints to see them out. Olaigbe tracking back to win the ball on the edge of his own box not once, but twice as the visitors pushed forward.
Another important moment for one of Saints’ youngsters came on 70 minutes. Sam Bellis making his first appearance of the season after a long injury lay-off.
The third goal for the home side followed minutes later. Olaigbe given space on the edge of the box and finding the back of the net via both posts for his second of the afternoon.
As the game started to draw to a close both side’s tempo began to fall.
West Brom had a golden chance on the break via substitute Owen Windsor to pull a goal back, but the forward was unable to find the target after rounding his defender.
The final five minutes saw a thoroughly professional performance from Saints’ young side, not allowing their visitors any bite of the cherry and controlling the game as the sun began to set.
With seemingly as much energy as he has in the first minute Olaigbe continued to find pockets of space inside the Baggies half, typifying a superb performance from the Belgian.
After a result which didn’t warrant their performance last Sunday at Sunderland, this week’s three points were a welcome reward for Horseman and his side.
They will look to continue their rich run of form next-time-out, where they travel to Stoke City on Monday 6th December.