U21 Report: Norwich 0-2 Saints

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Southampton’s Under-21s made it four matches unbeaten in Premier League 2 with a controlled 2-0 victory over Norwich City.

Saints raced into a two-goal lead through Sonnie Davis and Luke Pearce’s well-taken finishes.

Their first half goals proved to be the difference as Norwich struggled to find a way back into the contest.

In his side’s first game in three weeks, Adam Asghar made three changes as Ussumane Djaló returned to the starting line-up, along with Jayden Moore and Jay Robinson.

Ussumane Djaló made his second Saints start. (Photos: Tom Mulholland)

Brimming with confidence from an unbeaten March, Saints began the game on the front foot and looked at ease on a slick surface at The Lotus Training Centre.

It took just five minutes to open the scoring, through a right-sided combination that has been in good form of late.

Sam Amo-Ameyaw drove into the penalty area before slipping a pass to Davis on the overlap, who fired home at the near post.

For the third game in a row, right-back Davis found himself on the scoresheet with each goal of his streak assisted by Amo-Ameyaw.

An in-form Sonnie Davis celebrates the opener.

Amo-Ameyaw, recently nominated for PL2 Player of the Month, then tried his luck for a goal of his own after a solo run down the wing, but his near post effort was saved.

Saints didn’t have to wait long for a second though, as Pearce doubled the lead when he picked the ball up in a crowded area and found the far corner with a low shot that nicked off a Norwich defender.

Robinson grew into the first half and started to cause trouble on the left with a jinking run to the byline, but his cutback pass to Pearce resulted in a close range effort that was saved on the line.

Pearce was denied again moments later after Tyler Dibling charged forward and set the striker through on goal, only for Ellis Craven to smother the chance.

Norwich’s best opportunity of the first half came in the closing minutes when a corner wasn’t cleared convincingly, but Pedro Lima’s volleyed attempt was blocked at point-blank range by Moore.

Pearce (R) is congratulated after scoring.

The hosts rallied at the start of the second half but could only muster a series of half chances; Errol Mundle-Smith had a speculative shot from distance blocked behind in the 50th minute.

The young Canaries had the ball in the back of the net from the resulting corner, but a foul on Josh McNamara in the area ruled out the goal.

A flowing attack from Norwich saw the ball work its way across the pitch to substitute Ben Watt, but his attempt trickled wide.

Saints got themselves back into the contest by force when Djaló won the ball high up and found Amo-Ameyaw, who curled an effort wide just after the hour mark.

Amo-Ameyaw looked to turn provider again in the 79th minute with a defence-splitting pass to Dibling, who shot wide under pressure.

The pressure ramped up again as Saints controlled the final ten minutes, with Pearce almost finding a brace but for an excellent block by Charlie Wilson.

A third goal should have arrived when Dibling won possession from the defence but, when the ball eventually reached Robinson in the area, the hosts got back to clear their lines.

In the end, two goals were enough for Asghar’s side who strengthened their position in the play-off places by moving up to 14th in the table with three games to play.

Norwich: Craven, Riley, Forsyth, Wilson, Renecke, Brooke (Watt 49), Manning, Lima (Coker 71), Mundle-Smith (Roberts 65), Duffy, Myles.

Subs not used: Bullen.

Yellow Cards: Watt 70, Craven 83, Mannin 90+3.

Saints: McNamara, Davis, Awe, Moore, Meghoma, Bragg (captain), Amo-Ameyaw, Dibling, Pearce, Djaló, Robinson (Pitts 90+4).

Subs not used: Mohamed, Armitage, Lett, Edwards.

Goals: Davis 5, Pearce 12.

Yellow Cards: Meghoma 55.