Southampton Under-18s battled hard to return to winning ways with a deserved 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion in the Under-18s Premier League.
A tight game saw drama in the last 20 minutes as West Brom’s Deago Nelson was sent off for two yellows, and Saints took advantage when defender Tyler Edmondson bundled home the winning goal from a late set-piece.
It took both sides a while to get going and it was West Brom who has the first real chance of the game when Nelson drove wide after a corner was cleared to him on the edge of the box.
Saints responded though and had chances that forced the hosts to defend resolutely; Jem Hewlett’s header went over from a corner and Harrison Miles saw his shot deflected wide after a driving run towards the edge of the area.
The last action of the first period saw Saints goalkeeper Adli Mohamed make his first save of the contest when West Brom defender Jamal Mohammed climbed highest from head a cross low and towards the middle of the goal.
Overall, it was a first-half of few opportunities as strong winds limited the impact of the ball being played in the air.
Saints started the second half strongest and enjoyed some good spells of possession in the opening stages; some neat play around the West Brom box ended when Josh Squires fired over from range.
Perhaps the best chance of the game until that point fell to West Brom’s Mohammed when Saints failed to clear a lofted free kick, but the centre-back screwed his effort wide from a promising position.
There was a significant in the game on 72 minutes though, when Albion left-back Nelson was sent off for two bookable offences, giving Saints a good spell of the game to try and take advantage of their extra man.
From the next attack, Sonnie Davis went within inches of breaking the deadlock for the visitors when he struck a free kick into the side-netting.
However, another Davis free kick was the source of the opening goal though as the deadlock was finally broken on 79 minutes.
Edmondson met his teammates' delivery and bundled home from close range as the ball rebounded back off of him and into the net after a save from goalkeeper Beau Hudd.
Saints controlled proceedings from that point and could have extended their lead when Tommy-Lee Higgs saw his curling effort from the edge of the area clip the top of the crossbar.
West Brom did force a late chance but goalscorer Edmondson made a crucial headed clearance off his own goal line to ensure that the three points remained destined for the South Coast.
Saints are in action again on Thursday 2nd March when they travel away to take on Preston North End in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals.