Saints B battle back for a point


Will Ferry's second-half double strike earned Southampton's B team a point, after being 2-0 down to Arsenal at the break in Premier League 2.

Arsenal took an early lead through Nikolaj Moller’s eleventh minute penalty.

Their second came in the 29th minute, Kido Taylor-Hart bundling the ball over the line following a corner.

But Saints came out for the second half looking a rejuvenated outfit, Will Ferry grabbing a goal back on 53 minutes with a sublime, curled effort into the far top corner.

It took until the 82 minute for the hosts to grab a deserved equaliser; substitute Lucas Defise bought down in the box before Ferry scored his second of the game with a confident spot-kick.

Saints were boosted by some returning faces to Snows Stadium this afternoon.

Ferry, Kayne Ramsay and Allan Tchaptchet all coming into the starting eleven to give the hosts are far more experienced look than they had last week.

One of Arsenal’s familiar faces, Reiss Nelson, started for the visitors whilst the prolific Flo Balogun was amongst the substitutes.

Saints started with the same energy and enthusiasm they had shown in previous weeks; Ferry making a darting run down the left wing before finding Sam Bellis whose shot was well blocked.

But it was Arsenal who were awarded an early advantage, Ramsay looking to clear but subsequently taking out the leg of Joel Lopez and conceding a penalty.

Up stepped Moller, who found the side netting giving Jack Bycroft no chance despite diving the right way.

Unlike the previous visitors to Snows Stadium in recent weeks, Arsenal did well at stopping the Saints breakaway early, with vital blocks in midfield.

With a lead to protect the Gunners halted Saints effectively before doubling their lead just shy of the half-hour mark.

The first corner of the game was well dealt with initially by the hosts, before the ball fell to the feet of Taylor-Hart who bundled it home for Arsenal’s second.

Unfortunately for Saints the pressure from the visitors continued; full-back Lopez making a run at the back post but only able to header straight at Bycroft.

Then came an effort for Nelson, who took the ball down on the half volley but couldn’t find the far post.

Saints’ chances were few and far between as the half came to a close, with Arsenal proving to be a much harder defensive challenge than in recent weeks.

In a bid to turn the tide Dave Horseman made a change at the break, Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo replacing David Agbontohoma.

The initial signs were that the change, alongside the half-time rally, had the desired effect.

Bellis showed his defensive capabilities to win back possession in midfield, before setting off substitute Otseh-Taiwo on the break.

Kazeem Olaigbe then made a trademark darting run through the heart of the midfield, before letting fly with a shot which went just wide via a deflection.

Soon Saints got their reward for a much improved second half.

Ramsay fed the ball out wide to Ferry who, under little pressure, curled a superb effort into the far corner of the net, leaving keeper Karl Hein with no chance.

The game then turned into a much more even affair with Arsenal’s lead at just one, both sides looking to grab the next, all-important, goal.

Both sides make changes looking to grab momentum , Saints opting for Lucas Defise in place of James Morris on 72 minutes.

Unlike the first-half the Arsenal midfield block became far less effective, meaning the hosts were able to r each the Gunners’ penalty area on a more regular basis.

In the 81st minute Defise burst into the visitors’ box and got bought down by Nelson.

After much deliberation from the officials, a penalty was awarded.

Up stepped Ferry, who sent Hein the wrong way with a confident spot-kick.

Arsenal came back fighting after the goal, having much more of the ball following during the closing ten minutes.

During the closing moments Saints showed a defensive characteristic they had shown on numerous occasions in recent weeks as the Gunners pushed them back.

The defensive line of Tchaptchet, Ramsay and Otseh-Taiwo were joined by Seamas Keogh for the final minutes and defended for their lives against a strong Arsenal side.

Eventually the two sides settled for a 2-2 draw, with Saints earning a hard-fought point at 2-0 down at half-time.

It’s a quick turnaround for Horseman’s side, who play Blackburn on Monday afternoon next time out.