U23 Report: Saints 0-4 Leicester

By SFC Media time Fri 16 Mar Saints v Leicester City
Photo by James Bridle | Michael Obafemi
Fri 16 Mar 7PM
Premier League Cup
Southampton
0
Leicester City
4
goal
Gordon [11'] Hughes [45'] Dewsbury-Hall [59'] Thomas [90']
Smallbone [55'] Little [78'] O'Driscoll [88']
yellow card
Dewsbury-Hall [20'] Muskwe [78']
Referee: Adrian Quelch | Venue: Staplewood Campus | Attendance: 110

Southampton Under-23s were eliminated from the Premier League Cup by a ruthless Leicester side at Staplewood Campus.

The young Saints did cause problems for the visitors, particularly in the first period, but were beaten by a well-drilled visiting team who were physically strong and clinical in front of goal.

Striker Josh Gordon broke the deadlock after 11 minutes, while another header, from big defender Sam Hughes, proved a major setback right on the stroke of half time.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall added the Foxes’ third with an accurate low shot just shy of the hour mark, before George Thomas tapped in from close range to complete the scoring.

Saints knew the size of the task in front of them, with Leicester sitting pretty at the top of Premier League 2 Division One, a full 18 places above their hosts on the Under-23 pyramid.

Radhi Jaïdi’s side did show some early promise, threatening with a pacey front three of Nathan Tella, Michael Obafemi and Tyreke Johnson.

But it was Leicester who took an early lead when Connor Wood crossed from the left and Gordon rose at the far post to power a downward header back across Kingsley Latham, finding the net via the unfortunate Alfie Jones on the goal line.

Saints responded when Tella tore down the right and fed a pass inside to Obafemi, who rather miss-hit his shot, which looped into the air and forced an acrobatic save from Max Bramley, who wasn’t to know the offside flag had already intervened.

Then Bramley tipped over an awkward header from Aaron O’Driscoll that was dropping in, before another burst from Tella. This time the winger drilled in a low cross that broke for Callum Slattery, whose shot was crucially blocked.

Saints were playing well. Slattery slipped a clever pass inside the right-back for Jake Vokins, who surged into the box only to be denied by the legs of Bramley.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Mark Hughes First Team Manager (left) comes to watch the U23s between Southampton FC and Leicester City FC at Staplewood Complex on March 16, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
New First Team Manager Mark Hughes was an interested spectator at Staplewood

Jaïdi’s young charges had enjoyed the majority of the chances, but that counted for little when Hughes showcased his aerial prowess to haed home a corner in the final minute of the first half.

The Saints boss responded with a half-time double change, introducing Will Smallbone and Olufela Olomola for Tom O’Connor and Tella.

Both replacements were involved within ten minutes of the restart, as Obafemi fed Smallbone to his left thanks to a run from Olomola that opened up the space, inviting his fellow substitute to crack a 20-yard shot that had to be pushed aside by Bramley.

But Leicester had already proved they did not need to dominate the play to score goals, and Harvey Barnes served a timely reminder with a curling effort from nothing that nearly crept inside the far post.

Latham was beaten for a third time from the next attack. Captain Hamza Choudhury galloped down the right and produced a low cross to pick out Dewsbury-Hall, whose smart shot on the turn nestled into the bottom corner to effectively kill the tie.

Leicester knew their passage to the quarter-finals was assured. Still they pushed for more, causing havoc from set-pieces with an obvious physical advantage in the air, while Vokins rattled the crossbar from his own dead ball – an inswinging free kick from the right that Bramley could only stand and watch.

It was as close as Saints came to mounting an unlikely comeback, as Thomas rounded off a slick team move in stoppage time to bring an abrupt end to the hosts' five-match unbeaten run.

Southampton

1
Kingsley Latham (GK)
2
Ben Rowthorn
3
Jake Vokins
4
Armani Little icon-yellow-card
5
Alfie Jones (C)
6
Aaron O'Driscoll icon-yellow-card
7
Nathan Tella
replace Olufela Olomola (46′)
8
Tom O'Connor
replace Will Smallbone (46′) icon-yellow-card
9
Michael Obafemi
10
Callum Slattery
11
Tyreke Johnson
12
Christoph Klarer
13
Adam Parkes
14
Will Smallbone
15
Siph Mdlalose
16
Olufela Olomola

Leicester City

1
Max Bramley (GK)
2
Darnell Johnson
3
Connor Wood
4
Josh Knight
replace Lamine Kaba Sherif (82′)
5
Alex Pascanu
6
Sam Hughes icon-goal
7
George Thomas icon-goal
8
Hamza Choudhury (C)
9
Josh Gordon icon-goal
replace Admiral Muskwe (76′) icon-yellow-card
10
Harvey Barnes
11
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall icon-yellow-card icon-goal
replace Josh Eppiah (72′)
12
Lamine Kaba Sherif
13
Jakub Stolarczyk
14
Liandro Martis
15
Admiral Muskwe
16
Josh Eppiah
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