Hardyman pleased with young Saints' response

By SFC Media Tue 04 Dec Saints v Rotherham
Photo by James Bridle | Paul Hardyman

Paul Hardyman revealed it took some stern words at half time to ensure Southampton Under-18s progressed to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

Saints scored early through Christian Norton’s header against their Rotherham United counterparts at St Mary’s, but would have to wait until the closing stages to put the tie to bed, as Will Ferry finished the job with a late second.

Boss Hardyman sensed some complacency in the first half, but was largely encouraged by how his young charges handled the occasion.

“It was a little bit frustrating in some ways, but really pleasing in others,” he said, summing up Saints’ performance.

“I was really pleased with how we played in the first 20 minutes, but then it was almost like they thought it was going to be easy and took their foot off the pedal.

“They got a bit of a kick up the backside at half time. They kept the ball reasonably well in the second half, but it was just the tempo I would’ve liked to be a bit quicker.

“The three times we really popped it well, we scored twice and created a good chance from the other.

“It’s a learning curve for these lads. They’re young 16 or 17-year-old lads and it’s a big night for them with all their family here.

“It was the first time a lot of them have played at St Mary’s, so we’ve got to take that into consideration.

“The first goal was excellent, it was just a shame it took us so long to get the second, which was equally as good.

“There was some good play down both flanks and we looked dangerous in wide areas, but I just wish we could’ve entertained a little bit more.”

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