U18 Report: Aston Villa 0-1 Saints

By SFC Media time Sat 17 Feb Aston Villa v Saints
Photo by James Bridle
Sat 17 Feb 11AM
U18 Premier League
Aston Villa
0
Southampton
1
goal
Brennan [16']
yellow card
Hamblin [85']
Venue: Bodymoor Heath Training Ground | Attendance: 0

Southampton's high-flying youngsters made it nine games unbeaten in the Under-18s Premier League, with a 1-0 away victory at Aston Villa sealing maximum spoils.

Sean Brennan netted the only goal of the game, with the quality befitting of a match-winner, as he dispatched a bold chip over Villa's stranded 'keeper in the first half.

The visitors clean sheet was also warranted, with manful defensive performances from Saints' centre-half pairing, as well as stopper Adam Parkes. A hard-fought three points then, but rightful nonetheless.

But it didn't all fall the way of the visitors, who had to be alert when, with mere seconds on the clock, Villa's Michael Tait had threaded the ball through to Dimitri Sea, who rounded Parkes but ran out of grass before the angled finish was dispatched.

Under uncomfortable pressure from the off, Tait fired a second warning shot in the sixth minute, but perhaps should have done better given the range, sending the ball wildly over the upright.

But it was Saints who drew first blood, and finished the half the stronger. Pouncing on a relatively innocuous Villa goal-kick, Saints won the aerial duel before Dan Bartlett looped a pass over the top to Brennan, who completed a smart move to give Craig Fleming's side the lead against the run of play.

The midfielder, sensing an opportunity looming, had made an unmanned forward run and sent an audacious chip over the onrushing Kieran Boucher, who was helpless to the danger. The finish was shrewd, and swung the momentum the way of Saints.

Will Smallbone, continuing the assault, charged forwards on the half-hour mark, forcing Boucher to make a low one-handed save, before the Villa stopper denied goalscorer Brennan from close range.

Absorbing the early pressure served as adequate wake up call for Saints' young charges, who commanded the remainder of the half, and entered the break with a deserved advantage.

Captain Christoph Klarer was marshalling the backline well, mopping up any loose aerial balls, with Villa opting to go long after the restart. Slick in possession, and organised out of it, Saints continued to dominate their Midlands counterparts.

With half-chances to capitalise squandered, it was the home side who nearly seized. Saints were ambushed on the break, but Klarer typically won first contact on the delivery from wide, before full-back Josh Williams lashed a volley marginally wide of Parkes's goal. The skipper's positioning and spacial awareness at centre-half was getting Saints out of trouble on numerous occasions.

The game opened up on 75 minutes, as Saints looked to protect their gains, while Villa probed for a leveller. Smallbone's burst presented Kornelius Hansen with a chance on the left, but the Norwegian's first touch was wayward and allowed Villa's retreating defenders to recover.

Parkes was nearly caught out ten minutes from time. A shot-come-cross was fired in from the right, with the flight of the ball awkward for the backtracking stopper, who managed to cleanly divert the delivery over his bar.

A final chance fell to the hosts. A free-kick situation, central and within 20 yards of goal, was struck by Williams, but failed to trouble Parkes - whose praiseworthy performance merited a clean sheet.

Fleming's in-form youngsters continued to keep pace with table toppers Arsenal and Chelsea after securing the three points - their eighth league triumph of a previous nine played.

Aston Villa

1
Kieran Boucher (GK)
2
Jake Walker (C)
3
Josh Williams
4
Callum Rowe
5
Isaiah Bazeley-Graham
replace Charlie McConnachie (45′)
6
Dominic Revan
7
Colin Odutayo
8
Lewis Brunt
replace Jack Birch (76′)
9
Dimitri Sea
10
Michael Tait
replace Indianna Vassilev (68′)
11
Jacob Ramsey
12
Jack Birch
13
Mani Idem
14
Indianna Vassilev
15
Ben Guy
16
Charlie McConnachie

Southampton

1
Adam Parkes (GK)
2
Kayne Ramsay
3
Kameron Ledwidge
4
Harry Hamblin icon-yellow-card
5
Trialist
6
Christoph Klarer (C)
7
Enzo Robise
8
Dan Bartlett
9
Will Smallbone
10
Sean Brennan icon-goal
replace Christian Norton (80′)
11
Kornelius Hansen
replace Taymar Fleary (90′)
12
Taymar Fleary
13
Kingsley Latham
14
Javen Siu
15
Bailey Owen
16
Christian Norton
Highlights: Aston Villa 0-1 Saints timeSat 17 Feb
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