U18 Report: Saints 3-0 Swansea

By SFC Media Sat 16 Mar Saints v Swansea City
Photo by James Bridle | Benni Smales-Braithwaite
Sat 16 Mar 12PM
U18 Premier League
Southampton
3
Swansea
0
Smales-Braithwaite [5'] Kpohomouh [22'] Norton [45']
Olufunwa [31']
McKendry [18']
Venue: Staplewood Campus | Attendance: 0

Southampton’s youngsters made it back-to-back victories in the Under-18s Premier League with a fairly routine 3-0 win over their Swansea City counterparts at Staplewood Campus on Saturday morning.

First-half goals from Benni Smales-Braithwaite, Pascal Kpohomouh and Christian Norton gave Paul Hardyman’s side a commanding lead at the break, and they remained resolute in the second period, reducing their Welsh visitors only to a few half chances.

The three points, at this crucial point of the season, lifts Saints into fourth, leapfrogging both Aston Villa and West Ham, who were themselves beaten by Norwich and Arsenal respectively this weekend.

And, with a favourable goal difference and a game in hand on their nearest rivals, Saints look well positioned to finish inside their targeted top four, having won four of their six league encounters since the turn of the year.

A fast paced start, in similar fashion to the reverse fixture at Swansea’s Training Centre in October, gave the youngsters in red and white the upper hand fairly early on, and they were ahead with barely five minutes on the clock.

Striker Smales-Braithwaite, on set-piece duty, was presented with the perfect chance from 22 yards out, whipping his free-kick around the wall and into the bottom left corner for the lead.

One soon become two in the 22nd minute, as Will Ferry’s out-swinging corner was met by the towering frame of centre-half Kpohomouh, and, managing to arch his neck backwards, he headed powerfully at goal, out of reach of keeper Nathan Sheppard, and beyond full-back Ryan Bevan, who was guarding the far post.

Saints’ third involved both Smales-Braithwaite and Ferry once more, whose combination play was a constant thorn in the side of the Swans, as they fell three behind on the stroke of half-time.

The forward found Ferry wide right, who motored past opposition left-back Jacob Jones and, having reached the byline, pulled the ball back towards Rio Glean, whose shot was stopped on the line but not cleared, allowing Norton the easiest of finishes.

No further goals arrived in the second 45, but the damage had already been done by a clinical first-half performance from Saints, who can now turn their attention to next week’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur - set to be held at their newly built first-team stadium.

And with 30,000 likely to be in attendance, there’s no better opportunity for the young Saints to, once again, showcase their plentiful quality.

Southampton

1
Jack Bycroft (GK)
2
Dare Olufunwa
3
Kameron Ledwidge (C)
James Morris (45′)
4
Caleb Watts
5
Pascal Kpohomouh
6
Allan Tchaptchet
7
Will Ferry
8
Alex Jankewitz
Callum Watts (45′)
9
Christian Norton
Roland Idowu (74′)
10
Benni Smales-Braithwaite
11
Rio Glean
12
James Morris
13
Olly Wright
14
Seamas Keogh
15
Roland Idowu
16
Callum Watts

Swansea

1
Nathan Sheppard (GK)
2
Ryan Bevan
3
Jacob Jones
4
Luke McKendry
Marc Walsh (45′)
5
Cameron James Evans (C)
6
Kai Ludvigsen
Bradley Gibbings (45′)
7
Daniel Patrick Williams
8
Owen Jarrett Evans
9
Charlie Clancy
Josh Thomas (45′)
10
Ali Al-Hamadi
11
William Rickard
12
Josh Thomas
13
Alex Rutter
14
Bradley Gibbings
15
Marc Walsh
16
Louis Bates
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