U23 Report: Villa 2-1 Saints

By SFC Media Fri 07 Dec Aston Villa v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Will Smallbone
Fri 07 Dec 7PM
Premier League 2 - Division 2
Aston Villa
2
Southampton
1
Hepburn-Murphy [66'] Clarke [90']
Ige (og) [55']
Ige (90+1')
Klarer (45') Hamblin (65')
Referee: Andrew Miller | Venue: Villa Park | Attendance: 127

Southampton's youngsters were undone by two second-half strikes from Aston Villa in Premier League 2, having initially taken the lead at Villa Park.

Will Smallbone, with the help of defender Luke Ige, had fired the visitors ahead for a short 10 minute spell, before Rushian Hepburn-Murphy found an equaliser, and Jack Clarke completed the turnaround two minutes before the final whistle.

The visitors did indeed attempt to get back on level terms in the dying stages, with a flurry of corners, but time was against them and, having wrestled back the deficit, Villa were reluctant to allow any further dent in the scoreline.

There was little action to report from an uncharacteristically quiet first half.

Smallbone created the best opening in the 35th minute, but the eventual effort was off target, after clever build up play down the right from Harry Hamblin.

Villa, also shy of a goal threat, had one opportunity of note towards the end of the first 45 from a free-kick, which was floated deep and turned off the post by Jordan Cox.

The second half was contested in stark contrast to the first. Saints played with more tempo, eager for a breakthrough, and it nearly came three minutes after the restart.

Jonathan Afolabi used clever movement to position himself between Villa's centre-backs and latch onto Will Ferry's cross, but wasn't able to get enough purchase on the first-time finish.

The visitors were growing in influence, and so too were their frequency of chances.

55 minutes in, Ferry flicked a pass onto Smallbone down the left, who fizzed the ball across the face of goal, only for Ige to inadvertently turn into the back of his own net.

But Saints' advantage wasn't to last. Hamblin lunged into Hepburn-Murphy on the break in the 65th minute, sending the striker tumbling, before he despatched the resulting free-kick.

Side-footing from 20 yards, the strike took a nick off Saints' wall, and nestled in the corner of Jack Rose's net before the stopper was able to intervene.

With their tails up, Villa continued to look dangerous. Substitute Jacob Ramsey sent an effort crashing off the crossbar with 20 minutes remaining, before Hepburn-Murphy wriggled free in the box, and manoeuvred room for the shot, which Rose was this time equal to at his near post.

Two minutes from time, the hosts struck the decisive blow. On from the bench, Colin Odutayo was found by Hepburn-Murphy, and he drilled a low ball across the six yard line, which found the back post run of Clarke, and he applied the finishing touch.

A killer blow for Saints' youngsters, who fought well throughout, but were ultimately undone by a couple of second-half lapses in concentration, handing all three points to Villa.

Aston Villa

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    46
    54
  • Shots
    16
    15
  • Shots on target
    5
    5
  • Corners
    4
    6
  • Passes Complete
    243
    306

Aston Villa PL2

1
Matija Sarkic (GK)
3
Callum Rowe
5
Jacob Bedeau
2
Isaiah Bazeley-Graham
4
Luke Ige
8
Alex Prosser (C)
10
Jake Walker
Jacob Ramsey (61′)
7
Jordan Cox
11
Harvey Knibbs
Colin Odutayo (60′)
6
Jack Clarke
9
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy
16
Ethan Patterson
13
Sam Lomax
12
Colin Odutayo
14
Jozef Pastorek
15
Jacob Ramsey

Southampton PL2

1
Jack Rose (GK)
3
Tyreke Johnson
2
Kayne Ramsay
6
Christoph Klarer
5
Aaron O'Driscoll
4
Harry Hamblin (C)
7
Nathan Tella
Christian Norton (91′)
11
Will Ferry
Harlem Hale (78′)
10
William Smallbone
8
Thomas O'Connor
9
Jonathan Afolabi
13
Alex Cull
12
Pascal Kpohomouh
16
Christian Norton
14
Alexandre Jankewitz
15
Harlem Hale
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