PL2 Report: Saints 1-1 Spurs


Southampton's youthful B team will come away from Snow Stadium frustrated with a solitary point, after a strong display against high-flying Tottenham Hotspur in Premier League 2.

The home side took the lead seven minutes into the second half; Bellis firing into the Tottenham goal after a well worked Will Ferry assist to reward what had been a strong performance by Saints.

But despite their dominance in places, the hosts conceded an equaliser nine minutes from time, a fortuitous deflection off of Ferry in over keeper Jack Bycroft.

Saints, as expected, sided with youth for today’s game as under-18s regulars Ethan Burnett, Jayden Smith and James Morris entered the starting eleven in place of Kegs Chauke, Ryan Finnigan and Ramello Mitchell.

But despite the unfamiliar line-up compared to the rest of the season, the hosts started the brighter.

Spurs struggled to maintain possession as Dave Horseman’s side pressed well during the early stages.

The first effort at the Tottenham goal came after eight minutes, with Bellis hitting a fierce strike from a tight angle; well collected by keeper Josh Oluwayemi.

Next to have a go was Burnett, who collected the rebound following a dangerous Lucas Defise cross before firing a first-time hit just over the bar.

Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo, on his second start of the season for the side, also impressed during the early stages, using his pace and close control to skip past the Spurs players and bring the ball forward.

Spurs’ first chance of the game fell just past the 20-minute-mark; Jamie Bowden collecting from an Allan Tchaptchet clearance but dragging his low shot wide of the left post.

Kion Etete, who equalised to earn Spurs a point in the north London derby last week, then had a chance of his own but failed to hit the target after cutting inside.

Centre-back David Agbontohoma turned creative midfielder on the half hour mark, setting free Defise on the right flank who looked for the onrushing Burnett but the former’s shot was well blocked.

But despite chances at either end neither side could break the deadlock before the interval.

Spurs came out flying after the break, pressing Saints back and enjoying far more of the ball than they had in the early stages of the first 45.

J’Neil Lloyd-Bennett, who struggled to see any of the ball during the first-half, looked particularly lively on the right wing, battling well with Saints skipper Ferry.

But Saints responded in the best way possible; Ferry breezing past Lloyd-Bennett before finding Bellis, who fired his side into the lead on the half volley.

It’s the forward’s second goal in three start for Horseman’s side, one which certainly merited their play on a cold Sunday afternoon.

From then on the hosts were penned in by the visitors, who looked to respond to going behind.

With nine minutes to go they did just that, a long-range effort hitting Ferry and looping in over keeper Bycroft to level the scores.

Another cruel blow in what has been a cruel season for Horseman’s side.

Both sides battled for the winner during the closing stages, but ultimately a stalemate was confirmed after two minutes of stoppage time.

It was a spirited performance by a young Saints side, who will have felt hard done by with just the point.

Next up for Horseman's side is a trip to Blackburn on Friday afternoon.