U18 Report: Saints put four past Villa

By Marc Walker time Sat 11 Feb Aston Villa vs Saints
Photo by Isabelle Field | Alex Stepien-Iwumene
Sat 11 Feb 11AM
U18 Premier League
Aston Villa
Broggio [28'] Lutz [56’]
Andrews [21’] Higgs [45’ 54’] Merry [80’]
Venue: Bodymoor Heath Training Ground | Attendance: 0

Southampton Under-18s put in a battling performance to claim a deserved 4-2 win over Aston Villa in the Under-18s Premier League on Saturday.

Goals for Joe Andrews and Tommy-Lee Higgs either side of a Villa reply from Ben Broggio gave Saints a 2-1 lead at half-time.

Higgs’ second shortly after the break then put Saints two goals ahead once again and, although Villa’s Charlie Lutz made it 3-2, a late goal from Will Merry put a well earned result beyond doubt for Saints.

Saints had the first chance of the game when excellent work from Merry saw him set up his strike-partner Higgs for a snapshot in the area, but the strike was well blocked by the Villa defence.

It was a lively start from the visitors and they deservedly took the lead after being awarded a penalty in the 21st minute.

Alfie Prescott was tripped in the area after pressing Villa goalkeeper Alex Hammond in possession, and this gave captain Andrews the chance to open the scoring from 12 yards – a task he completed on the rebound.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Joe Andrews of Southampton during the U18s Premier League match between Southampton U18s v West Ham  on January 27, 2023 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Joe Andrews opened the scoring for Saints

Villa looked for a swift response and duly levelled things up just seven minutes later; a clipped ball over the Saints defence led to a pullback towards Broggio in a central position, and his firm finish across goal found the bottom corner .

It was a game where both sides had shown some good attacking play and Saints almost took the lead after another superb run from Merry.

Picking up the ball in his own half, he drove towards the edge of the Villa box and, despite having four defenders for company, dug out a cross to the back post.

Higgs met it on the volley and was unfortunate to see the ball strike home goalkeeper Alex Hammond and bounce away from danger.

However, the Saints striker was not to be denied for long and found the goal to put his side back in front on the stroke of half-time.

A poor backpass from Villa gave Higgs an opportunity to steal possession with just Hammond to beat, and he duly did so by advancing towards goal, rounding the goalkeeper, and slotting into an empty net.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: during the U18PL match between Southampton and Aston Villa, at the Staplewood Campus, on August 13, 2022 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Craig Hobbs/Southampton FC)
Tommy-Lee Higgs ensured Saints still led at half time

Saints made a positive start to the second-half as they looked to add to their lead.

Strong pressing at the top end of the pitch almost created a third goal as Merry stole the ball in the box and found Ryan Chavez-Munoz, whose first-time strike cannoned off the base of the post.

The visitors were soon rewarded fullt for their energy in the early stages of the second period when a clipped pass over the Villa backline found Higgs once again, and his calm control and finish made it 3-1.

However, Villa responded immediately as Lutz made it 3-2, with a cool finish past Josh Jeffries two minutes later.

The hosts went close to finding an equaliser after a couple of set-piece opportunities; Finley Munroe curled a free-kick narrowly over before Tristan Rowe headed over after a dead ball delivery from the left.

After the Villa pressure, Saints restored their two-goal advantage on 80 minutes as the lively Merry got his name on the scoresheet.

Another excellently weighted pass over the defence caused problems and Merry won the bouncing ball, skipped past a challenge and poked home from close-range to secure the three points.

Saints are in action again on Saturday 18th February when they take on Tottenham Hotspur at Staplewood in the Under-18s Premier League, with kick-off at 11:30am.


B Team Report: Saints salvage late draw against Sunderland
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Aston Villa

Alex Hammond (GK)
Jayden Barber
Finley Munroe yellow card
Tristan Rowe
Jack McDowell
Mikell Barnes
replace Charlie Pavey (73′)
Kyrie Pierre (C)
Todd Alcock
Charlie Lutz goal
Abube Onuchukwu
Benjamin Broggio goal
Harvey Rhoades
Sam Proctor
Charlie Pavey
Luke Softley
Dylan Mitchell


Josh Jeffries (GK) yellow card
Alfie Prescott
Ethan Hartness
Will Armitage
Tyler Edmondson
replace Jem Hewlett (63′)
Alex Stepien-Iwumene
Tommy-Lee Higgs
Reggie Evans
replace Barnaby Williams (51′)
Will Merry
Ryan Chavez-Munoz
replace Nicholas Oyekunle (63′)
Joe Andrews (C)
Barnaby Williams
Jak Stewart (GK)
Jem Hewlett
Nicholas Oyekunle
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