U18 Report: Saints suffer Spurs defeat

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Southampton's Under-18s fell to a 4-2 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in their return to Under-18s Premier League action on Wednesday afternoon.

Spurs pushed into a 4-0 lead by the 51st minute thanks to a brace from Oliver Irow and further goals from Jaden Williams and Gabriel Han Willhoft-King.

However, a strong finish to the contest from Saints saw them create many chances and add two late goals of their own courtesy of Nick Oyekunle and an own goal.

The young Saints side were unable to return to winning ways however after returning to league action following their FA Youth Cup exit.

In blustery conditions, Spurs missed a good early chance when Irow dragged his shot wide after being played into a promising position on the left side of the area.

It proved difficult to piece together moves in the opening stages, but the hosts then wasted another opportunity on 22 minutes when Williams blazed over after Saints had been robbed of possession near their own goal.

Tyrese Hall then went closer still to breaking the deadlock for the hosts when he wriggled into some shooting room in the box, only for his rising strike to clip the top of the crossbar.

Spurs eventually managed to take the lead soon after when Irow found space on the left to cut inside his marker and place a shot into the far corner.

Saints were limited to just one opening in the first period when Tyler Dibling drove into the area and twisted into a shooting position on his right foot, but his firm effort could only find the side-netting at the near post.

A tough first half for the visitors finished with Spurs doubling their lead in injury time when a whipped in free kick found the head of Williams who made no mistake by planting a close-range header past Josh Jeffries.

A fast start to the second half saw the North London side extend their advantage further as Willhoft-King timed his run into the box from midfield well and tucked home a low shot into the bottom corner.

Saints attempted to get themselves on the scoresheet in response; a few promising attacks were pieced together with Joe Andrews seeing his shot tipped over the bar by Luca Gunter in goal.

However, that good spell was cut short by a fourth Spurs goal as Irow added his second of the afternoon by cutting in off the right and firing home a shot that proved too hot to handle for Jeffries.

Again though, Saints continued to push at the other end despite the deficit.

A free kick from captain Sonnie Davis looked set to loop in off the defensive wall but Gunter palmed over impressively before Will Merry curled an effort narrowly over from just outside the area.

A deserved consolation goal soon followed in the 75th minute when Oyekunle latched onto a weighted through ball and clipped a neat effort past the onrushing goalkeeper.

Then, with 3 minutes remaining, a corner delivery from Josh Squires was deflected in off a Spurs body to give the scoreline a more respectable feeling based on a much improved display in the second period.

Saints' busy end of season schedule continues on Saturday 15th April when they travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Under-18s Premier League, with kick-off at 11am.