U18 Report: Saints 2-3 Aston Villa

By SFC Media time Sat 10 Aug Saints v Aston Villa
Photo by James Bridle
Sat 10 Aug 12.30PM
U18 Premier League
Southampton
2
Aston Villa
3
Smales-Braithwaite [81'] Idowu [83']
goal
Sylla [4'] Philogene-Bidace [36'] Pressley [61']
Tchaptchet [29']
yellow card
Burton [89']
Referee: Mr A Higgs | Venue: Staplewood Campus | Attendance: 150

Southampton suffered a losing start to the Under-18 Premier League season despite a stirring late rally against their Aston Villa counterparts at Staplewood.

With nine minutes left, the visitors were seemingly out of sight after goals from Mo Sylla, Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Aaron Pressley put them 3-0 up in driving wind and rain.

Saints left it late to show their true colours but proved their spirit to leave Villa hanging on, as Roland Idowu followed up a stunning strike from Benni-Smales Braithwaite.

Villa issued a warning even before Sylla opened the scoring in the fifth minute, with Saints left-back James Morris having to throw himself in the way of a shot to preserve the early deadlock.

But from the resulting corner, a game of pinball broke out in the six-yard box and Sylla was in the right place to force the ball into the net – a scruffy goal in conditions not conducive to pretty football.

Saints keeper Olly Wright had to be alert to make a low save down to his left as Villa set about doubling their lead, but both teams were finding it tough to find any real fluency in their play.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Benni Smails Braithwaite during an U18s game between Southampton FC and Aston Villa pictured at Staplewood Training Ground on August 10, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Benni Smales-Braithwaite scored a spectacular half-volley to give Saints hope of staging a late comeback

The hosts went in at the interval without Mikey Saunders, who was withdrawn through injury just before the break, by which time Philogene-Bidace had already fired home via the inside of the post to leave Paul Hardyman’s side with a mountain to climb.

Things went from bad to worse on the hour when substitute Aaron Ramsey hit the base of the post and saw Pressley tap in the rebound, as Villa seemed to have the game wrapped up.

But the young Saints were not finished yet. With just nine minutes to go, Smales-Braithwaite crashed in a brilliant half-volley from the edge of the box to offer some hope.

Two minutes later, Ryan Cluett surged to the byeline on the overlap, receiving the ball from Lucas Defise and standing up a delightful cross for Idowu at the far post to make it 3-2.

Try as they did, Saints could not force a late leveller, but will take some comfort from threatening to snatch a point from such a perilous position.

Southampton

1
Olly Wright (GK)
2
Ryan Cluett
replace David Agbontohoma (90′)
3
James Morris
4
Callum Watts
replace Seamas Keogh (76′)
5
Pascal Kpohomouh (C)
6
Allan Tchaptchet yellow card
7
Mikey Saunders
replace Rio Glean (44′)
8
Lucas Defise
9
Benni Smales-Braithwaite goal
10
Roland Idowu goal
11
Olaigne Kazeem
12
David Agbontohoma
14
Seamas Keogh
15
Rio Glean

Aston Villa

1
Akos Onodi (GK)
2
Bradley Burton yellow card
3
Sebastian Revan
4
Paul Appiah
5
Myles Sohna (C)
6
Mo Sylla goal
7
Charlie Fear
8
Harrison Sohna
replace Hayden Lindley (70′)
9
Aaron Pressley goal
10
Tyreik Wright
replace Bradley Young (69′)
11
Jaden Philogene-Bidace goal
replace Aaron Ramsey (54′)
12
Aaron Ramsey
14
Hayden Lindley
15
Zito Patrick
16
Kessler Kaine
17
Bradley Young
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