U21 Report: Saints 1-1 Nottingham Forest

2023-24/U21s/Matchdays/20240412 Southampton vs Nottingham Forest/forest_0023_kc3o7n

Southampton Under-21s concede a late equaliser to draw against Nottingham Forest, but extended their unbeaten streak to five games in PL2.

With little to separate the sides, Luke Pearce eventually broke the deadlock in the second half before the visitors equalised through an unfortunate own-goal in the closing stages.

There was just one change from last week’s victory, as Nico Lawrence returned in defence in place of Jayden Moore.

The first half was a slow affair at Staplewood, as both sides seemed to balance eachother out with little chances to show for it.

Both sides showed their support for the Premier League's No Room for Racism campaign. (Photos: Chris Moorhouse)

Blocked shots from Sam Amo-Ameyaw and Forest’s Kyle McAdam were the only half-chances in the first twenty minutes, before Jack Thompson blazed over from a corner for the visitors from a corner.

Jack Nadin hit a low effort that was comfortable for Josh McNamara to deal with, as Nottingham Forest had a period of control around the half hour.

The best opportunity of the first half came when the visitors intercepted a pass from Zach Awe and Joe Gardner attempted a lob from distance that the backpedalling McNamara did well to tip over.

Saints slowly grew back into the half, which ended goalless, and looked to kick on in the second when Amo-Ameyaw flashed a low delivery across goal that was cleared at close range.

Both goalkeepers were called into action with excellent saves to keep the scores level; McNamara reacted well to stop Ben Perry’s downward header at close range.

At the other end, Amo-Ameyaw hit a curling effort that was destined for the top corner but tipped away at a stretch by Aaron Bott.

The deadlock was finally broken as the game entered the final 20 minutes, when Sonnie Davis recycled a corner and Pearce arrived in the area to finish.

Saints’ striker connected with a volley into the bottom corner to score his third goal in as many games.

Pearce could have had a second ten minutes later when he found himself past the defence and in on goal, but his eventual shot from the edge of the area was saved.

Forest, who had chances throughout the game, struck back in the dying minutes to equalise.

A low cross fizzed in from the right and deflected into the back of the net off Awe, before the arriving Esapa Osong could connect in the six yard box.

It ended level at Staplewood as Saints stretched their unbeaten run to five games and maintained their place in the play-off bracket.

Saints: McNamara, Davis, Awe, Lawrence, Meghoma, Bragg (C), Amo-Ameyaw, Dibling, Pearce, Djaló (Lett 85), Robinson.

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

Goals: Pearce 72.

Yellow Cards: Bragg 62, Amo-Ameyaw 74.

Nottingham Forest: Bott, Sinclair, McAdam, Thompson, Abbott, McDonnell (C), Perry, Nadin, Osong, Gardner, Perkins.

Subs not used: Willows, Norkett, Newton, Whitehall, Brown.

Goals: Awe (OG) 89.

Yellow Cards: McDonnell 60.