Southampton's youngsters returned to winning ways with a 3-0 success over Blackburn Rovers at Staplewood on Saturday morning.
Despite the convincing scoreline, Under-18 Coach Jason Dodd was far from satisfied with the performance from the team over the course of the 90 minutes, citing that the players need to do better – particularly at home.
This was Saints’ second successive victory on home soil but, as was the case in their 2-1 win over Sunderland a fortnight ago, the display at times left Dodd frustrated at the manner in which the players went about it.
The coach named a strong starting XI as top goalscorer Marcus Barnes, who recently joined on the club on a full-time basis, was partnered in attack by Ryan Seager and Sam Gallagher.
The team got off to a good start too, taking the lead with just ten minutes on the watch when Seager drove down the right flank to cross for BARNES who made no mistake inside the area to claim his fourth goal of the season.
The form of Will Britt in goal was a contributing factor to it staying that way going into the half-time break as Dodd redressed the balance to the side at the interval.
An improved second half performance helped by substitutes Will Wood and Josh Sims eventually led to the hosts doubling their lead on 73 minutes. Sims crossed for SEAGER to tap in at the far post and make it 2-0 as Saints finally found their rhythm.
The three points were made secure soon after when a strong run from Gallagher down the left was converted by Jake HESKETH with a left-footed finish which made the scoreline more comfortable than some of the play suggested.
“The result will say a 3-0 win but, in truth, it was never comfortable for us,” Dodd said post-match.
“First half we really struggled and we seem to do that at home when there’s a bit of a crowd. It’s something the lads have to get used to.
"Away from home, where the pressure is maybe slightly off, we’ve played well and lost, but here it’s a case of winning but not playing in the way that we want to.
“The last 20-to-30 minutes were closer to what we expect in terms of performance but, really, winning is a bonus for us because we want to play in a certain way.
“We go to Chelsea next week which will be a big test but one I’m focusing on already because we want to do better.”
Southampton U18s team: Will Britt, Tom Leggett (c), Kyle Clinton, Josh Debayo, Isaac Nehemie (Will Wood 46), Jake Hesketh, Niall Mason (Armani Little 79), Charlie Higgins, Marcus Barnes (Josh Sims 65), Ryan Seager, Sam Gallagher. Unused substitute: Harry Isted (GK).