U23 Report: Man United 0-1 Saints

By SFC Media Fri 01 Feb Man United v Saints
Photo by James Bridle
Fri 01 Feb 7PM
Premier League 2 - Division 2
Man United
0
Southampton
1
Afolabi [32']
Ercolani (48')
Klarer (5') Hamblin (66') Tella (89')
Referee: Tom Reeves | Venue: Leigh Sports Village | Attendance: 753

Southampton’s youngsters battled to a hard-fought three points in Premier League 2 on Friday evening, edging out Manchester United by a single goal.

Jonathan Afolabi was on target for Radhi Jaïdi’s side, netting the game’s only goal in the 31st minute, teed up by full-back Jake Vokins.

Maximum spoils were exactly what Saints needed to rise to top spot in the league, with six games remaining, next facing Fulham at Staplewood on February 15th.

Saints played much of the tie without the ball, but were well organised defensively, despite needing a helping hand from goalkeeper Jack Rose in the latter stages. 

A ball over the top found the feet of the lively Mason Greenwood early on, who turned and fizzed a pass towards Tahith Chong in space down the right. The forward hit the shot first time, blazing over; one of a few promising first-half opportunities for the hosts.

The second, shortly after, was a low drive from Greenwood, which needed intervention from Rose, who parried to his left, before another fierce effort from Dylan Levitt flew marginally wide.

Storm weathered, Saints’ first meaningful attack came in the 28th minute when Will Smallbone combined with Marcus Barnes. The wideman had drifted in-field, spotted by Smallbone, and his first touch was excellent, but the shot blocked.

The visitors were beginning to hit United on the counter. And it paid dividends just after the half-hour mark.

Vokins had got forward well down the left, located by the increasingly influential Smallbone in midfield, and the defender floated the ball centrally, where Afolabi trapped it, before swivelling under pressure and finding the bottom corner from close range.

The lead was seen through until half time, but the home side re-emerged wanting to test Saints' resolve further, and for the final 25 minutes, they did so.

Chances came and went. Di’Shon Bernard’s effort from distance was saved, before successive crosses, firstly from the right and then the left, were turned off the line by Aaron O’Driscoll and Tom O’Connor respectively.

Angel Gomes forced a save from Rose 15 minutes from time, but that was rather routine, relieving the pressure after Saints continued to be pegged back. The danger wasn’t over.

George Tanner guided a superb delivery into the area moments later, where substitute Joshua Bohui was well positioned, but the header flew inches over the bar.

Saints were riding their luck. The final chance, a low shot from Greenwood, had Rose scrambling across his line in stoppage time, but the keeper did superbly to adjust hit feet and get a hand to the shot.

The points were certainly hard-won, but send Saints soaring to the top of Premier League 2, having played a game more than closest rivals Reading and Wolves.

Man United

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    77
    23
  • Shots
    22
    6
  • Shots on target
    7
    4
  • Corners
    5
    6
  • Passes Complete
    604
    122

Manchester United PL2

1
Matej Kovar (GK)
2
George Tanner
4
Luca Ercolani
5
Di Bernard
3
Brandon Williams
6
James Garner
8
Dylan Levitt
10
Angel Gomes (C)
7
Tahith Chong
11
Nishan Burkart
Joshua Bohui (59′)
9
Mason Greenwood
14
Joshua Bohui
15
Aidan Barlow
13
Alex Fojticek
16
Aliou Badara Traore
12
Matthew Olosunde

Southampton PL2

1
Jack Rose (GK)
4
Thomas O'Connor (C)
5
Aaron O'Driscoll
6
Christoph Klarer
8
Harry Hamblin
10
William Smallbone
2
Oludare Olufunwa
3
Jake Vokins
11
Marcus Barnes
Will Ferry (49′)
9
Jonathan Afolabi
7
Nathan Tella
Allan Tchaptchet (94′)
15
Will Ferry
12
Allan Tchaptchet
13
Kingsley Latham
14
Alexandre Jankewitz
16
Daniel N'Lundulu
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