U18 REPORT: Southampton 2-3 Norwich City

By SFC Media time Sat 30 Jan U 18

Southampton Under-18s were beaten by their Norwich counterparts in a game that swung on two goals in as many minutes.

Saints had dominated the opening half-hour, taking a deserved lead through Harley Willard.

But Louis McIntosh struck twice in quick succession to put the visitors ahead at the break, with Benny Ashley-Seal extending their advantage with a 57th-minute penalty.

Stuart Wilkin pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining as Saints ended the game as strongly as they started, but there was to be no leveller as Norwich left Staplewood with all three points.

The home side could have taken the lead as early as the third minute when Ollie Cook got on the end of Willard’s in-swinging corner, but his header was parried by Canaries goalkeeper Aston Oxborough.

More good play was to follow, with Wilkin and Olufela Olomola combining well to tee up Ben Rowthorn, whose effort was blocked before skipper Olomola lashed the ball over.

Willard’s corners were a regular source of danger, with Cook going close to getting onto another two in quick succession only to be twice foiled by a mass of Norwich bodies.

Saints’ bright opening was duly rewarded with a goal on 20 minutes. Some tenacious play by Tyreke Johnson led to the ball breaking for Wilkin, who advanced before playing in Willard to cut onto his left and expertly curl the ball inside the far post.

But the game was turned on its head in the space of two minutes just before the half-hour mark.

First, McIntosh turned the ball home following good work by Emmerson Mututala-Sambu and Jamal Lewis down the left, levelling matters with 28 on the clock.

Then, barely a minute later, the same scorer was on home to prod home from a few yards out after Glenn Middleton had centred from the right. 

It could’ve been worse a few minutes later as McIntosh tumbled in the Saints box after tangling legs with a Saints defender, but referee Derek Hughes declined to award a spot kick.

The second period began with a substitution, as Norwich replaced centre-back Callum Ellesley with Owen Wallis.

And it was the visitors who went close to opening the second-half scoring as two-goal McIntosh advanced before shifting the ball onto his left foot only to curl it wide.

Norwich did not have to wait much longer for their third, though. Middleton was tugged back by Thomas O’Connor as he broke into the box, allowing Ashley-Seal to make it 3-1 from the penalty spot.

The visitors appealed for another spot kick soon afterwards as goalkeeper Jake Hallett collided with Ashley-Seal, but referee Hughes ruled that contact was made outside of the box. The resultant free-kick was curled wide by McIntosh.

The Canaries continued to hold the upper hand, with Middleton sending a fizzing shot just wide, while Saints captain Olomola went close after rounding goalkeeper Oxborough only to be denied by Wallis on the goalline.

But the hosts did manage to pull one back on 70 minutes when, after Oxborough’s goal kick fell short, Willard and Olomola combined to play in Wilkin to halve the deficit.

An injury to Norwich substitute Wallis meant the visitors had to play the final five minutes with a numerical advantage, spurring hopes of a late Saints leveller.

And it almost came when, deep into injury time, substitute Yan Valery centred for Rowthorn but Norwich defender Timi Odusina made a vital interception to turn the ball behind for a corner. 

The defeat was the ninth in a row for Craig Fleming’s side, who travel to Arsenal next weekend.

Southampton Under-18s (4-2-3-1): Jake Hallett; Richard Bakary, Ollie Cook, Thomas O’Connor, Jake Vokins; Ben Rowthorn, Harry Hamblin (Oskar Cvjetičanin 58); Tyreke Johnson (Yan Valery 65), Stuart Wilkin (Archie Thomas 85), Harley Willard; Olufela Olomola (c).

Unused substitutes: Adam Parkes (GK), Joe Lea.

Goals: Willard (20), Wilkin (70)

Booking: Bakary (80)

Norwich City Under-18s (4-3-3): Aston Oxborough; Louis Ramsay (c), Timi Odusina, Callum Ellesley (Owen Wallis 46), Toby Syme; Emmerson Mututala-Sambu, Harley Black, Louis McIntosh (Devonte Aransibia 72); Jamal Lewis, Benny Ashley-Seal (George Couzens 63), Glenn Middleton.

Unused substitutes: Fergal Hale-Brown (GK), Giovanni Da Costa.

Goals: McIntosh (28 & 29), Ashley-Seal (penalty 57)

Referee: Derek Hughes

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