Saints youngsters earn comeback win


Southampton's youngsters claimed a superb comeback win against Reading on Saturday and rounded off their Under-18 Premier League season in style with an eventual 6-4 victory.

Reading grabbed themselves the lead in the 5th minute when forward Harvey Maunder latched onto a weighted through ball and fired low inside the near post.

Saints fought back though and good work down the left from Trialist A set up a chance for Dom Ballard to shoot on the turn but his effort was well blocked.

A further chance apiece came and went as Reading striker Jahmari Clarke hit the post and Trialist B saw an effort saved well for Saints after a neatly worked move that had seen him put through one-on-one with Reading goalkeeper Matt Rowley.

However, the visitors to Staplewood soon found a second goal to double their lead as midfielder Ben Purcell curled a free-kick into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.

A strong half from the Royals the saw them add a third eight minutes before half-time when Jahmari Clarke reacted quickest to head home after an initial shot had cannoned off the woodwork.

Despite the large deficit, Saints responded and looked determined to rescue a result from the match. Forward Kami Doyle fired home smartly from close-range to make it 3-1 shortly before the break and this gave the hosts something to build on in the second period.

As the action got underway again after a lively first 45 minutes, Saints looked to take control. Trialist C saw his curling strike fly just wide but the hosts soon had their second goal of the contest.

A nice move down the left saw Trialist C and Matt Carson combine to produce a cross that found its way to Kami Doyle at the back post and he duly slotted home his second of the game after first controlling well.

A five-minute period then saw Saints complete what appeared to be a match-winning turnaround with two more quick fire goals.

Neat attacking link-up play between Trialist B and Sonnie Davis saw the latter put in a superb cross that Dom Ballard headed in at the far post on 68 minutes, and then Matt Carson’s low ball across the six-yard line was turned into his own net by Reading defender Louie Holzman.

The visitors got themselves back on level terms late on when Harvey Maunder volleyed in but Saints were determined to get the win their second-half showing deserved and found the net twice more in stoppage-time.

Dom Ballard was on hand to flick a header in from a perfect lofted cross from Lewis Payne and then Trialist B fired home from a tight angle to make the scoreline 6-4 once the final whistle was blown.