U23 Report: Saints 4-1 Norwich

By SFC Media Fri 05 Apr Saints v Norwich
Photo by James Bridle
Fri 05 Apr 7PM
Premier League 2 - Division 2
Southampton
4
Norwich City
1
N'Lundulu [14'] O'Connor [43'] Johnson [46'] Smallbone [83']
Fonkeu [78']
O'Connor (75')
Coley (40')
Referee: Carl Brook | Venue: Staplewood Campus | Attendance: 58

Southampton's youngsters regained top spot in Premier League 2 after a convincing 4-1 victory over Norwich City at Staplewood Campus on Friday night.

Dan N'Lundulu hit the ground running early on, before further goals from Tom O'Connor, Tyreke Johnson and a sumptuous strike from substitute Will Smallbone made the win certain, and blew the title race wide open.

Three points gained - vital in the quest for promotion - lifts Saints back to the top of the pile, overtaking rivals Wolves in the process, who don't play until Monday night.

It was a perfect opening for Saints, who had a clear game plan from the get go. They pressed high, played forward with tempo and were deservedly ahead inside 14 minutes.

Striker N'Lundulu was the focal point of a three pronged attack, and he was the first to benefit from the hosts' energetic start.

Callum Slattery spread the ball wide for Jake Vokins, who needed little invitation to motor forward down the left, and his floated delivery picked out the head of N'Lundulu, who was denied at first attempt, but made no mistake with the rebound.

Saints celebrate the opener at Staplewood

He had the chance for a second moments later, having rounded defender Ciaren Jones, but stung the side netting with his angled shot.

Continuing to dictate, Christoph Klarer's glancing header flew millimetres over the crossbar, before, in almost identical fashion, O'Connor was picked out at the back post.

The perfect conclusion to a dominant half, the captain rose highest and crashed his header goalward, beating Jon McCraken with sheer power in the 43rd minute. Lead doubled; Saints were in complete control entering the break.

And there was no let up in the second period as Radhi Jaïdi's side continued to capitalise on their momentum. Almost from kick-off, N'Lundulu fed Johnson, who had the presence of mind to slip the ball under McCraken whilst on the move, giving Saints a three goal cushion.

Norwich continued to struggle with the intensity set by boys in red and white, but did manage to claw back a lifeline in the 79th minute. Substitute Pierre Xavier caught the hosts uncharacteristically short at the back, and rounded off a well-executed counter with a sweeping first-time finish. 

The visitors' momentary excitement was ultimately short-lived, though, as Smallbone stepped off the bench to kill any hope of a Canaries revival six minutes from time.

Disappointed to have let a goal slip, the midfielder picked up a good position on the edge of the box, and fired low across McCraken, drilling the ball into the far corner with pinpoint accuracy.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Norwich City
  • Possession (%)
    48
    52
  • Shots
    12
    8
  • Shots on target
    9
    2
  • Corners
    5
    1
  • Passes Complete
    290
    326

Southampton PL2

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
5
Aaron O'Driscoll
4
Alfie Jones
6
Christoph Klarer
2
Kayne Ramsay
3
Jake Vokins
10
Callum Slattery
8
Thomas O'Connor (C)
Harry Hamblin (86′)
7
Nathan Tella
11
Tyreke Johnson
Will Ferry (77′)
9
Daniel N'Lundulu
William Smallbone (62′)
13
Alex Cull
12
Oludare Olufunwa
16
Will Ferry
15
William Smallbone
14
Harry Hamblin

Norwich City PL2

1
Jon McCracken (GK)
5
Ciaren Jones (C)
4
Louis Lomas
3
Alfie Payne
2
Andrew Omobamidele
8
Tom Scully
Louis McIntosh (81′)
6
Saul Milovanovic
7
Isak Thorvaldsson
11
Josh Coley
10
Carlton Morris
Pierre Fonkeu (45′)
9
Adam Idah
13
William Johnson
14
Louis McIntosh
12
Pierre Fonkeu
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