Matt Targett signed off for England duty by scoring a late free-kick to earn Southampton’s Under-21s victory over their Tottenham Hotspur counterparts.
Earlier this week, the full-back was one of four Saints players called up for England Under-19s’ friendly against Turkey next Wednesday.
And he celebrated in style by netting the goal that earned the Development Squad a deserved victory from a hard-working showing at Staplewood.
Harrison Reed, also part of that England selection, returned from injury to start in midfield while Cody Cropper – due to link up with the senior United States squad on Sunday – was between the sticks. Lloyd Isgrove, called up by Wales Under-21s to face England next week, was deployed on the wing.
Targett came close to having an early impact after just a couple of minutes when his whipped free-kick from the right flank caused some panic in the Spurs box, but goalkeeper Jordan Archer came out to claim the ball.
Spurs mustered their first chance on six minutes as Shaquile Coulthirst tested Cropper with a shot that the Minnesota-born ‘keeper held with ease.
Reed came close to a comeback goal on 15 minutes but could only shoot over after good work by defender Jordan Turnbull and wide-man Isgrove on the left.
Saints were awarded a penalty midway through the first half when Kevin Stewart was penalised for handball, but Jake Sinclair could only watch on as his spot-kick was tipped onto the post by Archer before the ball was cleared as Sam McQueen looked to follow up.
Cropper had to be at his best just before the half-hour, turning Laste Dombaxe’s free-kick wide before Giancarlo Gallifuoco headed off target from the resultant corner.
Winger Coulthirst looked like the visitors’ most dangerous player, and he tried Cropper again on 36 minutes after cutting onto his right foot but the American saved well with his body.
Five minutes before the break, Reed was cautioned for a trip on Kenny McEvoy, who, soon afterwards, sent over a dangerous corner that was headed wide by Souleymane Coulibaly.
HALF-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON U21s 0-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR U21s
The second half started in the even manner in which the first period ended, with neither side carving out any clear-cut chances until beyond the hour mark.
In a bid to change their fortunes, Spurs introduced Nathan Oduwa after 60 minutes, and then threw on William Miller and Aaron McEnuff soon afterwards.
Coulthirst then fired wide of Cropper’s goal, before Sinclair’s bid to overcome his penalty miss was thwarted when his low shot was held by Archer.
With 15 minutes to go, Saints coach Martin Hunter brought on 18-year-old Ryan Seager in place of the impressive Isgrove, and the switch seemed to give the side added attacking impetus.
McQueen had been denied in a one-on-one situation shortly before Saints were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position to the right of the North Londoners’ area with ten minutes to go.
TARGETT, who had taken a number of set-pieces during the course of the game, duly obliged by stepping up to fire an effort towards goal and, after taking an advantageous deflection, the ball squirmed past Archer to put Saints ahead.
Seager had a big chance to double the advantage two minutes before full-time when he rose to meet Sinclair’s excellent cross, but the substitute’s header looped just over the bar.
Nevertheless, a one-goal lead was enough for the hosts to complete a warranted victory over a resilient Spurs side.
FULL-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON U21s 1-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR U21s
Southampton Under-21s: Cody Cropper, Jason McCarthy, Jack Stephens (c), Jordan Turnbull, Matt Targett, Dominic Gape, Harrison Reed, Jake Flannigan, Jake Sinclair, Lloyd Isgrove (Ryan Seager 75), Sam McQueen. Unused substitutes: Chris Johns (GK), Matt Young, Jake Hesketh, Corby Moore.
Goals: Targett (80)
Bookings: Reed (40), McCarthy (90)
Tottenham Hotspur Under-21s: Jordan Archer, Alexander McQueen, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Kevin Stewart, Connor Ogilvie, Laste Dombaxe, Harry Winks (William Miller 75), Ruben Lameiras (Aaron McEnuff 77), Kenny McEvoy, Shaquile Coulthirst (c), Souleymane Coulibaly (Nathan Oduwa 60). Unused substitute: Jonathan Miles (GK).
Referee: Richard Hulme