Southampton Under-18s suffered defeat in the league for the first time on Saturday after falling to a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.
Saints goalkeeper Eddie Beach was forced into some smart action early on as he denied Palace strikers Victor Akinwale and Ademola Ola-Adebomi chances to score in quick succession.
More chances came for the hosts as headers from Akinwale and David Ozoh went close to breaking the deadlock, whilst Saints man Beach dealt with long-range efforts from Jadan Raymond and Tayo Adaramola comfortably.
After a competitive opening, Saints had their first effort on goal on 20 minutes as Luke Pearce worked space for himself and forced a smart low save from Owen Goodman in the home goal.
Although Palace continued to create openings and forced good defensive actions, another breakaway opportunity almost saw Carl Martin’s visitors take the lead themselves as Luke Pearce squared and Tyler Dibling struck straight at Goodman.
However, with 35 minutes played, Palace did take the lead as Jadan Raymond danced into the box and finished smartly.
Saints then pushed to get back into the contest though. Josh Squires’ powerful strike from distance was followed by Fedel Ross-Lang’s fierce shot from a narrow angle, but neither effort proved quite precise enough to find the opposition net.
A quick start in the second-half was important for Saints and two crosses – the first from Tyler Dibling and the second from Luke Pearce – flashed across goal after promising attacks.
A nice flow developed in the second period as the game opened up for Saints to try and take control. Rylee Wright was looking lively after his first-half introduction and was providing some good running from midfield areas as he and his teammates looked for a way back into the contest.
With 15 minutes remaining, Wright had perhaps Saints’ best chance of the game when a subtle shift of the ball onto his right foot in the area worked space for a placed shot and he was unlucky to see his effort roll just wide.
Saints are in action again next weekend and return to Staplewood when to take on Leicester City in the Under-18s Premier League, with kick-off at 11am on 2nd October.