U21 Report: Saints 3-6 Man Utd

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Southampton's Under-21s suffered a 6-3 defeat against Manchester United in a relentless final game of the Premier League 2 season.

Saints got off to a dream start inside the opening minute, when Sam Amo-Ameyaw converted straight from a kick-off routine.

The visitors responded with a quickfire brace from Ethan Wheatley to turn the score around and lead at half time.

In a relentless second half, Luke Pearce equalised before Manchester United responded with another quickfire pair of goals from Sam Mather and Ethan Williams.

United wrapped the game up with another late double as Williams scored his brace and Charlie McNeil added a sixth, before Will Merry reduced the deficit for Saints.

Saints made one change from their last outing. (Photos: Chris Moorhouse)

With a play-off finish firmly in their hands, Saints’ youngsters made an incredible start after just 17 seconds without their visitors even touching the ball.

A kick-off routine saw the ball fired up to Pearce, who laid off Amo-Ameyaw to fire in the opener and stun Manchester United.

There was almost a second minutes later when Pearce fired a shot over the crossbar with Saints firmly on top in the early exchanges.

United showed their threats however, when Ethan Williams raced away down the left and into the area but hit the crossbar with a near-post shot.

Amo-Ameyaw celebrates his instant opener.

The visitors grew into the game and turned the contest around with two goals of their own in little over a minute from recent senior debutant, Wheatley.

The powerful striker first held off Zach Awe in the area to slot home at the near post, before striking low across goal moments later to give his side the lead.

Saints reacted well and didn’t let their standards drop, as Jake Vokins saw an angled delivery into the area parried.

Tyler Dibling closest to an equaliser before the break with a well-struck free-kick from the edge of the area, that was tipped over at full stretch by Elyh Harrison in the United goal.

Jay Robinson was also denied by Harrison after spinning a defender in the box before shooting at the goalkeeper. 

Both sides traded chances at the start of the second half, but Saints eventually found an equaliser to start a manic spell around the hour mark.

Pearce had a shot saved by Harrison but the rebound bounced off him and into the back of the net to level the tie.

Pearce equalised in the second half.

However, just like the first half, United struck twice in quick succession to extend the lead again

Mather converted the third for the visitors before Williams tapped home from close range on the rebound from his initial shot.

A quiet 20-minute period followed, before another pair of back-to-back goals wrapped up the scoring.

United substitute McNeil added his side’s sixth of the afternoon, controlling a lofted pass and setting himself to slot home through Saints bodies.

The scoring wasn’t over, despite the result being out of, as Merry reduced the deficit from close range.

Defeat leaves a play-off finish out of Saints’ hands, as they must wait for results elsewhere to confirm whether they will make the post-season knockouts.

Saints: McNamara, Davis, Awe, Lawrence (Armitage 89), Meghoma, Bragg (c), Amo-Ameyaw, Dibling, Pearce (Merry 72), Robinson, Vokins.

Subs not used: Mohamed, Lett, Djaló.

Goals: Amo-Ameyaw 1, Pearce 59, Merry 88.

Yellow Cards: Awe 62.

Man Utd: Harrison, Ogunneye, Amass, Jackson, Aljofree (c), McAllister, Forson, Curley (Devaney 56), Wheatley (McNeil 81), Mather (Scanlon 82), Williams (Murray 86).

Subs not used: Kingdon.

Goals: Wheatley 21, 23, Mather 60, Williams 62, 81, McNeil 86.

Yellow Cards: Amass 90+4, Devaney 90+5.