U21 REPORT: Southampton 0-0 AFC Bournemouth

By SFC Media time Thu 23 Jul FDSC

The Under-21s' pre-season started with a goalless draw after a dominant Saints team were held back by AFC Bournemouth at Staplewood.

In a tightly-contested first half, neither side looked close to breaking the deadlock, with the visitors going closest through a deflected long-range shot which was denied by a reaction save from goalkeeper Will Britt.

The second half began with both teams quick out of the blocks and, as the game went on, Saints assumed control, but Bournemouth had moments where they nearly caught the hosts on the counter-attack.

Under-21s assistant Radhi Jaïdi was in charge of the Saints team and he handed starting places to Will Wood, Dominic Gape and Marcus Barnes, who featured for only half an hour in last weekend’s under-19 defeat to Fluminense.

It was a tight opening 25 minutes, with neither side even having a shot, but Bournemouth had the opening chance of the game after their full-back broke into the box on the right hand side only to shoot well wide.

Southampton registered the first attempt on target in moments later when Sam Gallagher slipped Siph Mdlalose in on goal, but from a tough angle he could not test the Cherries’ goalkeeper.

On 33 minutes Armani Little played a clever long ball forward which put Gallagher in behind the visitors’ defence but, after cutting in and beating his man, he fired his shot wide.

Jaïdi’s team grew in confidence whilst attacking but they still found it hard to create a clear cut chance. There was a nervous moment just before the end of the half, when Wood blocked a shot from the visitors and the ricochet guided the ball towards the top corner, where Britt made a good stop.

In contrast to the first half, both sides were on the front foot quickly in the second 45, with Bournemouth having a shot on target in the opening minute of the new period.

Southampton responded with a good spell in possession as they pressed the visitors back. Barnes, who was the Under-18s’ top goalscorer last season, composed himself at the edge of the box but his shot just went wide.

Saints nearly broke the deadlock just before the hour mark after Gallagher teed up a trialist from the by-line, but his shot was well saved out of the top corner.

In the 60th minute Jaïdi changed the line up with eight players coming on, including Ollie Cook, Callum Slattery and Olufela Olomola, who netted Saints' only goal against Fluminense.

Ten minutes later, Bournemouth had a rare second-half attack and they nearly made it count when one of their substitutes had a curling effort which went just over the bar.

Slattery nearly unlocked the Cherries’ resolute defence with a sublime pass to Olomola but the defender was quick to tackle him after his first touch.

The away side had a big chance to get into the lead against run of play after a free-kick hit the wall but the following shot was comfortably held by substitute ‘keeper Harry Isted.

Saints ended the game in the ascendancy with a solid spell of possession, but despite their best efforts to find a winner they failed to find a way past Bournemouth’s back line. 

Next up for the Under-21s are two games at St George’s Park, where they will face the Nike Academy before going up against Derby within the same week.

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