B Team Report: Young Saints narrowly beaten


With three Academy scholars starting the game it was a proud performance by Southampton's B team, despite a 1-0 Papa John's Trophy defeat at Leyton Orient on Tuesday night.

Whilst Saints had edged the first half in terms of chances it was Orient who were in the driving seat during the second 45.

After a few strikes which failed to hit the target, Antony Papadopoulos, on his debut for the club, fired home the only goal of the game after a low Dan Kemp cross with eight minutes to play.

Saints’ starting eleven was a particularly youthful one at the Breyer Group Stadium. Kamari Doyle, Lewis Payne and Joshua Lett amongst the first-year scholars starting for Dave Horseman’s side.

Rhys Byrne and Antony Papadopoulous made their professional debuts for the hosts, with Grenada international Omar Beckles skippering the side, who was a summer signing from Crewe Alexandra.

It was the League Two side who threatened first on the night; Kemp finding space on the edge of the box before testing Jack Bycroft after just two minutes.

But the action following proved the exciting talent this Saints side had.

Kazeem Olaigbe as ever the centre of attention bursting through the middle of the park and forcing Orient to take drastic action in order to halt the breakaway; Hector Kyprianou with the game’s first booking on nine minutes following a tactical foul.

Next came an effort for the lively Doyle, who latched onto a tame pass out of defence before firing just over from a tight angle after 14 minutes.

The return of Caleb Watts was a welcome sight for Horseman’s side, as shown just a minute later when the Australian international burst through the heart of the Orient defence before being denied a shot by a brave Alex Mitchell sliding challenge.

Saints’ pressure continued soon after; Ramello Mitchell finding a pocket of space inside the box and skimming the outside of the far post with a fierce strike.

Orient finally clicked back into gear just shy of twenty minutes. Ruel Sotiriou turning on the edge of the box and forcing Bycroft into a fingertip save to push it over the bar.

Another chance for Kenny Jack’s side came ten minutes later. A clever set-piece routine finding an unmarked Sotiriou at the back post who could only produce an air kick in front of a grateful Bycroft.

The hosts began to grow more into the game as it wore on.

Kyprianou found himself free on the edge of the area as the ball was cleared from Sotiriou’s low cross, but the forward was unable to direct his first-time strike goal wards as it flew over the bar on 31 minutes.

Both sides had chances, some of which they will have felt they could have done better from, but the game remained goalless as they went in at the break.

A set piece brought the opening glimpse of the second half. Orient’s Dan Happe heading just over from a deep free kick after rising highest.

Next came another chance for Kemp after his early first half effort, his low, long-range effort deflected behind for a corner after Olly Lancashire closed his man down.

With the home side coming out the blocks quickly at the start of the second half Saints certainly had to stay sharp defensively. Something captain Dynel Simeu ensured he was on multiple occasions at the start of the half to quell the O’s attacks.

Unlike the first half Saints struggled to get into the game, the Os cheered on by the majority of the 663 fans in attendance.

Those travelling fans in attendance will have been pleased to see their side go up a gear once more on the 65th minute.

Doyle and Kegs Chauke leading a counterattack with pace, showing more signs of the playbook in action and the clear threat Horseman’s youngsters had against a high Orient backline.

Saints first shot towards goal in the new half came twenty minutes from time; another quick counter led by the likes of Lewis Payne and Olaigbe led to Watts’ strike from the edge of the box which failed to find the target.

In spite of that opportunity and a slight change in intensity from the visitors, it was Orient who were in the ascendancy as the game grew older.

A goal looked on the horizon and this is exactly what came on 82 minutes, through a passage of play the hosts had been trying all evening.

Kemp involved again, this time playing a ball towards the back of the penalty area where debutant Papadopoulous was waiting to smash home the opener.

Horseman turned to a young Saints in order to look for a response, one of those Dominic Ballard setting up Payne for a first timed shot from a tight angle which missed the target on 90 minutes.

The response was good following the goal, with the hosts seemingly happy to sit deep and protect their narrow lead as the referee awarded five minutes of stoppage time.

But the League Two side held on for victory, on a night where plenty of positives could be seen in regard to the develop of the club’s latest crop of Academy players.

Next up for Saints B is a game in front of the crowd at St Mary’s on Sunday, with Burnley the visitors in a game which you can watch for free.

More details on how to claim tickets in due course.