Southampton Under-18s rounded off their regular season with a comfortable 5-2 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
Diamond Edwards’ first-half strike had them 1-0 at half-time and four goals in a blistering spell after the break from Ryan Finnigan, Rylee Wright, Jimmy Morgan and Kami Doyle saw them well in control of proceedings.
A late fightback from Chelsea saw them respond twice through Silko Thomas and Leo Castledine.
Saints had the first real opening of the contest when strong play from Jimmy Morgan on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area gave him the chance to turn and shoot powerfully over the bar.
Both teams were looking calm in possession in the early stages and Chelsea produced two opportunities of their own. Zain Silcott-Duberry curled well over from range and Edwin Anderson saw his shot smothered by Eddie Beach having twisted his way into a shooting position.
However, it was Saints who broke the deadlock in the 19th minute when Diamond Edwards pushed on from midfield and fired in his fourth goal in three games with the help of the post.
It was proving to be an open game though and Eddie Beach had to be alert once again to make an excellent save and deny Tudor Mendel-Idowu finding an equalising from close range after a good move and cross from the left.
Importantly, Saints held on to their lead for the rest of the first half and went close to adding a second on two occasions.
Full-back Sonnie Davis was involved in both as a corner routine saw him flash a first time shot just wide of the far post and then drive a low ball across the six-yard line that just evaded Jimmy Morgan’s stretch close to goal.
Shortly into the second period, Saints enjoyed a good spell of pressure that saw them stretch their lead to 3-0 in quick time.
Midfielder Ryan Finnigan got the hosts’ second of the afternoon with a stunning strike when he arrowed a first time shot into the top corner as the ball was cut back to him on the edge of the D.
Saints’ pressure in the Chelsea half had caused the visitors problems throughout the contest. Determined closing down again from Sonnie Davis and Rylee Wright created the third goal as they won the ball in the opposing penalty area, and this allowed Wright the chance to tap into an unguarded net with 61 minutes on the clock.
With Carl Martin’s and Mikey Harris’ team now in confident mood, they soon added two more to their tally for the day.
The first of two flowing attacks from left to right ended with Jimmy Morgan finishing smartly across goal when one on one with Chelsea goalkeeper Prince Adegoke, and the second saw substitute Kami Doyle cut in on his left foot and fire in low through a crowd of players.
Chelsea did manage to get themselves two goals back late on when Silko Thomas and Leo Castledine found the net in the final 10 minutes but it was Saints who were to round off their season with another three points.
Saints are set to play a national final against Under-18s Premier North winners Manchester City, with a date and venue still to be set at the time of writing.