Southampton’s youngsters maintained their spot at the top of the Under-18s Premier League with a convincing 4-1 win at Birmingham City on Saturday.
A sixth successive victory, Saints sit a point ahead West Ham in second with a game in hand and cruised to victory in the Midlands.
With just two minutes on the clock, Rylee Wright registered the game’s first attempt on target as his audacious flick from Matt Carson’s cross was gathered by home keeper Bradley Mayo.
Attempting to turn provider, the next chances for the visitors came from Wright’s cross from the left, which cannoned off of Kamari Doyle and harmlessly behind.
Still inside the opening 10 minutes, Wright’s solo-mission for an opener continued as his surging run ended with a low drive that had to be parried behind for a corner by Mayo.
A one-way affair, Tyler Dibling was next to try his luck with an effort from just inside the box that once again called the Blues stopper into action, before the deadlock was finally broken on 15 minutes.
Collecting Carson’s throw-in, Wright moved the ball onto his right foot before curling a strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.
With a deserved lead, Saints continued to pour forward and hit the crossbar 10 minutes later when Carson’s venomous strike after a scramble in the box beat everyone but the woodwork.
Only a goal up at half-time, Eddie Beach produced two notable saves either side of the break to preserve the lead, before the visitors enjoyed some breathing room with a second on 75 minutes.
Kamari Doyle’s wide free-kick rooted Mayo to his line, with the ball eventually falling to substitute Tommy-Lee Higgs who couldn’t miss from a yard out.
Ending as strongly as they began, Higgs made it a brace six minutes later when Doyle won back possession on the edge of the box before squaring for Higgs to convert once again.
Rico Patterson netted a consolation for the hosts late on only for the three-goal deficit to be restored deep into stoppage time as Ryan Chavez-Munoz capitalised on a Mayo mistake to tap in to round off a successful trip.