Southampton Under-18s were defeated 4-0 by Crystal Palace in the Under-18 Premier League on Saturday despite competing well with their opponents for much of the match.
The game started at a rapid pace and both sides would go close to opening the scoring in the first 10 minutes.
Palace struck the post with a firm header early on but Saints pushed forward and pieced together a flowing move.
Passes were interchanged in midfield and broke the hosts’ defensive lines, and it was Kazeem Olaigbe who forced a strong save from home goalkeeper Joe Whitworth after collecting the ball and driving into the penalty area from his attacking-midfield role.
Palace then went close again on the half-hour mark. A cross to the back post was headed down to Jack Wells-Morrison but he could not stretch quite enough to turn the ball home.
Saints ended a competitive first half on top though and had two further opportunities of their own.
Ramello Mitchell saw a shot blocked well after another nicely worked Saints move and then Sam Bellis’s low drive was smothered well by Whitworth in the home goal.
It was, therefore, harsh on Louis Carey’s side when Palace snatched the lead just before half-time courtesy of a smart finish from forward Maliq Cadogan after he had cut in on his left foot and fired low into the bottom corner.
Into the second half, Saints made a strong start and had three chances to get their equalising goal.
Ramello Mitchell could only hook a hanging cross back across goal before the lively Lewis Payne fired a left-footed effort wide to end another promising venture forward.
Jayden Smith also saw his shot fly over after driving in from the left flank.
As in the first period though, the visitors’ inability to make their attacks count saw Palace given a chance to extend their lead, which they duly did.
Two quickfire strikes from Kevin Gonzalez and Kayden Rodney in the 63rd and 65th minutes made it 3-0 and would ultimately mean a lead that was too difficult back from.
Saints attempted to put some late pressure of their own but Palace added their fourth goal as Maliq Cadogan found the net again from close range.
Saints Under-18s are in action twice in the coming week. Games on Tuesday 6th April and Saturday 10th April see them host Arsenal and Spurs respectively, with both kick-off times at 11.30am.