B Team Report: Saints narrowly beaten in post-season friendly

2022-23/B Team/Matchdays/20230510 Southampton vs Luton Town Development (Friendly)/20230510_Southampton_Luton_011_edzbux

Southampton’s B team were narrowly beaten in a post-season friendly against Luton Town before being presented with the Premier League 2 Division 2 title at Snows Stadium.

The encounter was arranged as precursor to the official trophy presentation after a successful league season that saw the youngsters promoted as champions of their division.

Saints lined up with a mixed side composed of players that had featured for a varying amount of minutes during the Premier League 2 season.

Luton led at half-time after well-taken goals from Jake Burger and Aribim Pepple were followed by a response by Lewis Payne.

Saints levelled the scores through Sam Amo-Ameyaw soon after the restart and dominated much of the play, but substitute Ollie Lynch headed home a third for Luton.

The game got off to a laboured start, perhaps to be expected of a post-season friendly, as both sides attempted to gain control at Snows Stadium.

Luton were first to go close as Pepple had an effort denied by Matt Hall who raced out of his goal to cover the angle well.

Saints’ first opportunity came in the 18th minute as the game began to open up; Dom Ballard reached the byline on the right hand side and cut the ball back to Kamari Doyle who blazed over from 12 yards out.

Doyle then turned supplier to slip Sam Bellis through on goal, but the returning striker’s angled effort was saved at the near post.

Further efforts to open the scoring followed for both sides as Tommy Blennerhassett had an attempt comfortably saved by Hall before Doyle fired over for the second time.

Just after the half hour mark, Ballard had two quickfire efforts with a shot from distance that was blocked before he turned the resulting cross wide at the near post.

The deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute as the visitors caught Saints out from a quick free-kick that lead to Burger’s chipped finish deliciously finding the far corner.

Pepple then doubled the advantage with a well-taken first time effort from just inside the area, but the lead was swiftly halved as Payne tucked home an equally smart finish after being played through by Amo-Ameyaw’s defence-splitting pass.

Saints began the second half with a far more accustomed spring in their step as they turned up a gear with controlled possession and flowing counter attacking moves.

It took just three minutes from the restart for the scores to be levelled again; a well-worked move, which began with Payne breaking into midfield to find Ballard, saw Amo-Ameyaw released in the area to calmly roll the ball into the bottom left corner.

Chances for a third goal followed as Ballard again impressed with his build-up play and combined with Doyle inside the area, but the midfielder’s clever lob dropped wide of the far post.

Saints’ substitute goalkeeper Jak Stewart made an excellent point blank save in the 70th minute as a loose ball was stabbed towards goal, but the visitors did find the back of the net once more.

Luton substitute Ollie Lynch rose highest to head home a cross from the left wing to restore the lead for the visitors with just over 10 minutes remaining.

An enthused crowd remained behind after the final whistle at Snows Stadium for the main event, as Saints’ youngsters lifted their league title to be officially crowned Premier League 2 Division 2 champions.