Southampton's youngsters return home to host Chelsea at Staplewood Campus in the Under-18 Premier League on Saturday.
Saints vs Chelsea
U18s Premier League
Saturday 27th August, 11am BST
It’s been a difficult start to the 2022/23 season for the reigning U18 Premier League South champions, having claimed just one point in their opening two fixtures.
Goals from Tommy-Lee Higgs, Rylee Wright and Will Merry helped Saints to a 3-3 draw with Aston Villa on opening day, before Mikey Harris’ side fell to a 4-1 defeat at West Ham last time out.
A different tale is to be told for Chelsea, who have secured a maximum six points in their opening two fixtures, with victory over both Arsenal and Leicester City.
The last meeting between the two sides marked a momentous occasion for Saints, who consolidated their Under-18 Premier League South victory with an emphatic 5-2 win on the final day of the regular season.
Diamond Edwards, who earned his debut first-team appearance against Cambridge United in midweek, opened the scoring for Saints back in May.
Heading into the break with a slim one goal advantage, Saints’ youngsters emerged in the second-half with a new found energy. Ryan Finnigan, Rylee Wright, Jimmy Jay-Morgan and Kamari Doyle all found the back of the net in quick succession to ensure Saints were five goals to the good.
And while Chelsea attempted to stage a late comeback with goals from Silko Thomas and Leo Castledine, the damage was already done with Carl Martin’s side claiming all three points at Staplewood Campus.
“It’s an exciting game,” admitted Under-18 boss Mikey Harris. “They’re a top team, top academy and those are the games you want to be involved in.
“I think the staff and players have been fantastic this week and we’re in a good place going into the game and it should be an exciting fixture.”