Southampton’s B team Head Coach Dave Horseman lauded a “really, really good night” for his young side after a deserved late win at League One side MK Dons in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Youngster Sam Bellis profited from a mistake by Dons’ Laurie Walker after 22 minutes, nicking the ball off of the keeper’s feet for a goal to mark his first start of the season.
The winner came from similar circumstances; Walker again involved by playing the ball to the feet of Kazeem Olaigbe who made no mistake in the 93rd minute with the goal gaping.
Horseman praised his side for sticking to the game plan on Wednesday night:
“To win it, not just late but by tackling the goalkeeper – which if I’m being honest was the game plan all along – and to score two goals by tackling the goalkeeper. It’s one of those really, really good nights.
“It’s a really good night because it helps them buy in to what we’re trying to do. Some of these boys haven’t played loads this season.
Dave HorsemanWe want to win and we got to every game to win, but the learning outcomes far outweigh the result.
“It’s also really good for the coaches. People like Lauren [Jones] who goes into such detail of the analysis of the opposition.
“For her to put a game plan together and the boys execute it and to win on those actions was fantastic for everyone.”
Saints fielded a side with plenty of youth, with Bellis and defensive midfielder Ryan Finnigan amongst those making the step up from the Under-18s.
“The front man [for MK Dons] was a handful for our two centre-backs [Allan Tchaptchet and David Agbontohoma] but they actually dealt with it really well.
“I think they were cute and they know how to win fouls when under pressure and they’ll learn loads from these experiences.
“Ryan Finnigan has just turned 17, he’s a first-year scholar. He’s never even played in a stadium before.
“To play 45 or 50 minutes against league opposition who have hundreds of appearances amongst them and to do as well as he did is magnificent.
“He’s been playing with the Under-18s and at the moment they haven’t transitioned into doing what the B team do. So it’s magnificent.”