Southampton Under-18s claimed their first victory in the Premier League Cup with a 2-0 win over Leicester City on Friday.
An end-to-end opening 10 minutes saw both sides battling to take control of proceedings at Snows Stadium.
It was the visitors that claimed the first real opportunity of the game as they were awarded a free-kick after 14 minutes of play. Henry Cartwright’s looping ball looked promising but it was met by the head of Leon Pambou.
It didn’t take long for Saints to create their own openings in the game, with Kamari Doyle and Fedel Ross-Lang linking up on the wing.
Saints’ first big chance of the contest came around the 20 minute mark as Josh Lett released Ross-Lang on the wing. Ross-Lang’s ball into the box met the head of Doyle whose header was deflected above Arlo Doherty’s crossbar and behind for a corner.
The resulting corner marked the defining moment of the match for Saints as Doyle was brought down on the edge of the box and Saints were awarded a penalty.
It was Ross-Lang who stepped up to the penalty spot for Saints, firing his shot into the back of the net despite Doherty’s best efforts to deny him.
Leicester threatened immediately after Carl Martin’s side took the lead at Snows Stadium as Kian Pennant danced his way into the penalty area. A heart-in-mouth moment followed as Gustav Lillienberg nearly lost possession but some risky footwork payed off and the threat was cleared.
Further chances for Chris Popov and Penant came and went as the visitors searched for an equaliser at Snows Stadium but Saints stood firm.
There was no letting up from Saints, though, as Doyle found Ross-Lang on the wing once more as they produced a flowing attack towards goal before linking up with Rylee Wright whose shot met the safe hands of Doherty.
As the first half drew to a close Wright displayed some impressive footwork in the centre of the pitch before finding Ballard who chipped the ball over the keeper and netted Saints’ second of the meeting.
Saints’ youngsters continued to pile on the pressure as the second half resumed with Wright charging towards goal but the ball just edged away from him.
The hosts came close to a third as Sonnie Davis crosses into Doyle who seamlessly finds Wright in a threatening position but his shot skimmed over the top of the crossbar.
With 15 minutes left to play, Adam Barradell’s side pressed to get back into the game but Cartwright’s header from the corner went over.
Shortly after being introduced to the game Jack Lewis found himself with an opportunity to close the gap for Leicester but Lillienberg was there to clear for Saints, Pennant was there for the rebound but Popov’s shot missed by distance.
Dom Ballard then displayed his individual prowess as he worked his way into the centre of the box but his shot, though goalwards, was safely cleared by Doherty.
As the clock wound down Saints had the perfect opportunity for a third as they were awarded a dangerous free-kick but Jem Hewlett’s header just missed the goal.
Saints’ youngsters are back in action next Saturday as they travel to West Brom in the Under-18 Premier League.