Saints’ youngsters celebrated victory on home soil in the centenary edition of the Southampton Senior Cup, as they beat Blackfield & Langley 6-0 to lift the trophy.
Yan Valery’s strike and a Will Smallbone hat-trick were followed by late goals from Olufela Olomola and Tyreke Johnson, ensuring victory in the final of the competition, at St Mary’s, as a mix of Under-23 and Under-18 players saw off their Wessex Premier opponents.
The result capped a positive campaign for Saints’ Academy sides, with captain Callum Slattery receiving the trophy at full-time.
Saints, who entered the competition this season to help mark its centenary, threatened as early as the fourth minute, with Christoph Klarer heading over from Jake Vokins’s dangerous corner, but their opponents were generally stubborn opposition in the opening stages.
However, there were signs that resistance would only last so long, with a brilliant block from Connor Doe denying Dan N’Lundulu, on his return from a long-term injury absence, a goal in the 19th minute, as he controlled Valery’s low cross at the near post before shooting.
There was nothing the Watersiders could do three minutes later, though, as Smallbone’s sublime reverse pass from deep picked out Valery’s run in behind, and the right-back swept coolly past keeper Brad Snelling from a tight angle to put Saints in front.
The lead could well have been extended in the 39th minute, as Southampton launched a swift counter, but N’Lundulu shot straight at Snelling after cutting inside from Smallbone’s pass.
It meant a slender advantage at the break for Saints, and that was so nearly eradicated six minutes into the second half, as Lerone Plummer’s fierce strike from just inside the corner of the area drew a sensational save from Kingsley Latham.
With the ball arrowing towards the near top corner, he sprung to his left and tipped it over brilliantly.
It proved to be a pivotal moment, as Saints doubled their advantage in the 57th minute.
This time it was Smallbone making the run in behind, with N’Lundulu threading a pass through to him, and, having sprung the offside trap, the midfielder had time to take a touch and stroke a left-footed shot into the far bottom corner.
N’Lundulu soon made way for Olomola, who came close to adding a third with 20 minutes left, only to see his header from a deflected Johnson cross well saved by Snelling.
Goal number three arrived soon enough, though, with Olomola playing a key part, sliding through a perfectly-weighted pass for Smallbone, who lashed into the net in the 74th minute.
His hat-trick was completed just three minutes later, as another incisive move ended with Johnson getting free in behind and squaring for the midfielder to tap in from close range.
And there was still time for Saints to get another two, as Olomola got in on the act with a back-post strike, before Johnson slammed a low, angled shot in off the far post to complete the scoring.
Southampton: Kingsley Latham, Yan Valery, Jake Vokins, Ben Rowthorn, Aaron O’Driscoll, Christoph Klarer, Nathan Tella (Siph Mdlalose 76), Callum Slattery (Harry Hamblin 78), Dan N’Lundulu (Olufela Olomola 63), Will Smallbone, Tyreke Johnson.
Subs not used: Adam Parkes, Kayne Ramsay.
Goals: Valery (22), Smallbone (57, 74, 77), Olomola (83), Johnson (85).
Blackfield & Langley: Brad Snelling, Liam Robinson, Ryan Oatley, Connor Doe, Sam Poole (c), Connor Hoare (Josh Leslie-Smith 78), Sammy Maklhoufi (Sam Woodward 78), Sean Stewart (Joe Butcher 58), Lerone Plummer, Franklyn Clarke, Sam Griffin.
Subs not used: Harrison Faye, Tom Rees.
Booked: Doe, Clarke, Hoare.