Bolton U18s 1-0 Saints U18s
Southampton’s Under-18s side were beaten for the first time in seven matches in a narrow reverse at Bolton.
Saints were light on numbers for the trip north team due to the previous night’s Under-21 fixture, as the likes of Dominic Gape, Sam McQueen, and Harrison Reed were absent for the visitors in their tenth Elite Group game of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League.
Despite the absent faces, the youngsters gave a good account of themselves in Lancashire for their second match in five days, having seen off Crystal Palace 5-1 earlier in the week.
A good first half performance from Saints saw them create a fair few chances as they got in behind Bolton’s backline on a few occasions, whilst they never looked in too much danger at the other end.
But on 76 minutes it was from a free-kick that Bolton capitalised as they hit Saints on the break to flick the ball onto the wrong side of Bevis Mugabi before the finish was applied past Chris Johns.
The visitors battled in vain to rescue a draw as they drew a first blank in front of goal since a goalless draw with Chelsea at the turn of the year, but assistant coach Paul Williams was far from despondent post match.
Willo said: “I thought there were some very good performances from us today,” he said. “One or two were below par but overall we hit the same standards as we did on Tuesday (against Palace) and put in a good shift.
“I can’t fault any of the effort today and it’s part of the learning curve for these young players.
“It would be easy to say that we were missing players, but I think we just lacked that bit of extra quality and accuracy with the final pass.”
A top of the table clash with Fulham next weekend is next up for the youngsters, and Williams believes it will re-focus the minds of the players.
“The lads will know what to do to prepare for that one because they know what’s at stake there, so it’s a game we look forward to.”
Saints U18s: Johns, Leggett, Mugabi, Colmer, Nehemie, McCarthy, Higgins, Flannigan, Hesketh, Seager, Gallagher. Sub (not used): Branker