Southampton's Under-18s fell to a 4-3 defeat against West Bromwich Albion in an eventful contest in the Under-18s Premier League on Wednesday afternoon.
A commanding showing from Saints in the first period saw them go into half-time with a 3-1 lead after Tyler Dibling’s brace either side of Tyler Edmondson’s header.
West Brom fought back in the second-half though and had doubles from Adriel Walker and Archie Kirton to thank for their victory, with three of their goals coming in nine second-half minutes.
After a lively start from Saints, both sides went close to opening the scoring; West Brom striker Eseosa Sule flashed a shot across the Saints goal before his opposite number Prince Ehibhatiomhan forced a good smothering save from Ben Cisse.
The hosts were getting some good support in attack and Isaac Bailey was unfortunate to see his first-time effort fly wide after he met a cutback from the left on the edge of the penalty area.
Positive play from Saints was soon rewarded though when Dibling broke the deadlock on 13 minutes, striding onto an excellent through ball from Josh Squires and firing home at the near post.
However, the response from West Brom was swift and they drew level as Walker calmly tucked home a penalty after Saints goalkeeper Josh Jeffries had brought down Kirton.
The home side soon regained their lead though as centre-back Tyler Edmondson was on hand to head home after a corner had been recycled and crossed back into the area by the influential Squires.
As the first-half moved to its conclusion, the visitors went close to equalising for a second time.
A cross from the right found its way to Oliver Bostock at the back post and he headed narrowly wide after beating Jeffries to the ball.
The eventful first 45 ended with Saints extending their advantage as Dibling netted his second of the afternoon, this time cutting in from the right and finding the far corner with the help of a deflection.
Into the second period, West Brom looked to half their deficit early as the first of two consecutive corners saw captain Jenson Sumnall’s header well saved by Jeffries.
The second delivery then gave substitute Fenton Heard a chance to sting the palms of the Saints shot-stopper with a testing drive.
With Saints down to 10 men after using all their substitutes and seeing Alfie Prescott withdrawn through injury, West Brom netted a quickfire double to level the game up.
Walker scored his second of the match when he drove powerfully home despite the best attempts of Saints substitute Dexter Trego to clear off the line, and then Kirton equalised when he turned home a cross at the back post on 69 minutes.
The turnaround for the visitors was complete with 75 minutes on the clock as Kirton found the net again, pushing his way towards the Saints penalty area and striking a low shot into the far corner across goal.
There was no way back for the hosts in the closing stages, as they fell to a narrow defeat in their penultimate home game of the season.
Saints are in action again on Saturday 29th April when they travel to take on Norwich in the Under-18s Premier League, with kick-off at 11am.
Southampton: Josh Jeffries, Alfie Prescott, Ethan Hartness, Reggie Evans, Tyler Edmondson (Dexter Trego 46), Josh Squires (c), Willy Merry, Joe Andrews (Bailey Hester 46), Princewill Ehibhatiomhan (Jay Robinson 46), Tyler Dibling, Isaac Bailey (Hansel Adjei-Afriyie 58).
Subs not used: Adli Mohamed.
Goals: Dibling 2, Edmondson.
West Brom: Ben Cisse (c), Narel Phillips, Deago Nelson, Alex Williams, Jamal Mohammed, Jenson Sumnall, Archie Kirton, Cole Deeming (Cory Seans 89), Eseosa Sule, Oliver Bostock (Fenton Heard 46), Adriel Walker (Cheick Kone 84).
Subs not used: Louis Brady.
Goals: Kirton 2, Walker 2.