U21 Report: Saints 5-1 Stoke

2023-24/U21s/Live Matchday Images/20240308 Southampton vs Stoke/stoke_0017_ewbpxb

Southampton Under-21s put in a relentless first half performance and saw out a dominant win against Stoke City in Premier League 2.

In a rampant first half, Tyler Dibling gave Saints a 10th-minute lead with an impressive volley.

Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh doubled the advantage with his first goal for the club as Sonnie Davis added a third just minutes later, with Nico Lawrence making it 4-0 before Stoke pulled a goal back.

Sam Amo-Ameyaw made it five in the closing stages with a solo run and finish that capped off a positive week of results.

Adam Asghar made just one change to his side that drew with West Brom on Monday evening, as new signing O’Brien-Whitmarsh made his first start since arriving in January.

Joe O'Brien-Whitmarsh (R) on his first start. (Photos: Chris Moorhouse)

The opening ten minutes were steady at Staplewood, with Sam Amo-Ameyaw’s low shot needing a comfortable save for Alfie Brooks in the Stoke goal.

What followed was far from comfortable for the visitors, however, as Saints motored through the gears in a dominant display.

In the 10th minute, Jake Vokins’ curling cross from the left wing reached Dibling in the area, who rotated his body to send an impressive volley into the back of the net.

A quickfire double followed as O’Brien-Whitmarsh marked his first start with a well-taken goal, racing onto Lawrence’s long ball to lob the onrushing Brooks from outside the area.

Moments later Saints were three goals to the good as Davis powered home a low drive to score his first goal of the season.

Tyler Dibling celebrates his goal.

Josh McNamara wasn’t kept completely quiet as Stoke looked for a way back into the contest, but Saints’ shot-stopper denied Darius Lipsuic with a smart save with his feet at close range.

O’Brien-Whitmarsh almost had a brace just after the half hour, but he was denied by an equally impressive low save.

A fourth eventually arrived when a corner was recycled back into the box from Dibling and not fully cleared, allowing Lawrence to steal in and slam the ball home from two yards out.

The visitors did pull a goal back before the break as Smith slotted the ball past McNamara to reduce the deficit.

It was Stoke who started the livelier in the second half and almost had a second straight after the restart, but Matt Carson did well to clear Smith’s shot off the line.

Smith went close again as he skewed a shot wide after being found with a cutback in the area, before Amo-Ameyaw was denied at the other end with an excellent diving save.

Despite the goals not flowing in the second half, the entertainment remained as O’Brien-Whitmarsh went close from distance before a gilt-edged chance for Stoke that Tom Sparrow headed wide.

Luke Pearce’s good work in the area was twice denied as he saw efforts deflected away in search of a fifth goal of the evening.

The scoring was eventually capped off in style by Amo-Ameyaw in textbook fashion, as he cut inside from the right and found space to drill a low, left-footed shot in off the far post.

The victory rounded off a satisfying week for Adam Asghar’s side, who take four points from two games to move one point from the playoffs.

Saints: McNamara, Davis, Awe, Lawrence, Meghoma (Carson 29), Bragg (captain), Amo-Ameyaw (Ehibhatiomhan 88), Dibling, Pearce, O'Brien-Whitmarsh (Djaló 75), Vokins.

Subs not used: Upstell, Armitage.

Goals: Dibling 10, O’Brien-Whitmarsh 18, Davis 22, Lawrence 40, Amo-Ameyaw 84.

Yellow Cards: Awe 56.

Stoke City: Brooks, Sparrow, McCarron, Dixon, Anderson, Sidibe, Jeffers, Lipsiuc (Griffiths 46), McGuinness, Smith, Jojić (Curl 46).

Subs not used: Brammer, Kamga, Singh.

Goals: Smith 45+4 .

Yellow Cards: Sparrow 62, Sidibe 77.