Southampton’s Under-18s travel to Nottingham Forest on Saturday as they kick-start their Under 18 Premier League Cup campaign.
Nottingham Forest vs Saints
Under-18 Premier League Cup
The Nigel Doughty Academy
Saturday 18th September, 11am BST
Saints are unbeaten so far this season in the Under-18 Premier League (South), claiming an impressive 10 points from a possible 12.
Last-time-out was an entertaining 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Staplewood Campus, where Carl Martin's side secured a point in the 92nd minute after having gone 3-1 down early into the second half.
Jimmy Jay Morgan and Luke Pearce scored early goals for the hosts, before substitute Tommy-Lee Higgs rescued the game in stoppage time.
It's the first occasion this season where Saints' youngsters have dropped points, as they continue their positive start to the new campaign.
Forest have had mixed fortunes in the Under-18 Premier League (North), currently sitting ninth in the table having clinched four points from a possible nine.
Unbelievably, Saturday's hosts were also involved in a 3-3 draw last-time-out after an entertaining meeting with Liverpool's youngsters on Saturday.
James McConnell put the visitors ahead after just 11 minutes, before Forest stormed back through a Detlef Osong double and a Ben Hammond strike before the interval.
Liverpool's revival came in first-half stoppage time; Bobby Clark scoring in the fifth minute of time added on, before Oakley Cannonier rescued a point in the final minute of normal time.
PREMIER LEAGUE CUP GROUP
Saints have been drawn in Group A of the Premier League Cup, alongside Forest, Leicester and Newcastle.
Saints will host Leicester on Saturday 16th October at 1pm, before travelling to Newcastle on Saturday 27th November at 11am.
The last time Saints were in Premier League Cup action came back in November 2019; Michael Saunders and Roland Idowu scoring the goals during a 3-2 defeat at home to Liverpool.
"I think it was fair to say it was the proverbial game of two halves," said Under-18s Individual Coach Mikey Harris on last week's point at home to Arsenal. "They were stronger than us in the first half and we didn't get our game going to the levels we have done this season.
"We had a conversation at half-time about what we felt needed to change and we felt the boys went out and did that really well during the second half. They showed some real resilience and character to come back, especially considering we conceded so early in that second half. It's important we learn from that first half.
"There's a really positive feeling around this group. The first years in particular have been with the club a long time, that togetherness and cohesion is something that is really hard to create in a short space of time. They've had an opportunity to build that over a long period of time.
"It's great to play a team we don't often play. Nottingham Forest are a very establish Academy and new to the CAT 1 set-up.
"It's a new experience for us. Important that the boys get used to travelling up the night before. We'll be training at St George's again which is something we're very grateful we're able to do. Hopefully the boys can reward us all with a good performance and some points on the board in our group."