Saints Under-18s battled to a goalless draw with top-of-the-table Arsenal at London Colney on Saturday morning.
Anthony Limbrick’s side also recorded their first clean sheet of the season in a game where Marcus Barnes was unlucky to not secure their first Barclays U18 Premier League win.
Barnes had Saints’ first real chance but was denied when in a one-on-one situation by a superb recovery tackle from Gunners centre back Tolaji Bola.
Harley Willard fired a powerful effort across goal but Josh Vickers managed to parry it clear.
Stephy Mavididi, who has netted ten times already this season, had a chance before half-time to give Arsenal the lead but headed over from six yards out.
Southampton were the better team throughout the second period and Barnes came within inches of breaking the deadlock. After he failed to make contact with Willard’s initial cross, an audacious backheel destined to find the net was met by a good reaction-save from Vickers.
Arsenal introduced Kayleen Hinds on the hour mark and he had three chances in as many minutes to put the hosts ahead, but Harry Isted was equal to them as he stood firm between the sticks.
The best chance of the game came to Barnes with quarter of an hour left. Callum Slattery fed him from the left flank but the former’s shot was saved by an outspread Vickers from just eight yards.
Olufela Olomola came off the bench to give Vickers one final test, but couldn’t get enough power behind his back-post effort that couldn’t quite creep inside the far corner.
Southampton U18s: Harry Isted, Niall Mason, Ollie Cook, Kyle Clinton, Josh Debayo, Joe Lea (Chris Regis, 60), Armani Little, Callum Slattery, Josh Sims, Harley Willard (Olufela Olomola, 65) Marcus Barnes. Unused substitutes: Neal Osborn, Stuart Wilkin, Colm Deasy.