Martin Hunter was left to reflect on what might have been after conceding late on against Manchester United.
The 21s coach admitted that his side were not at their best, but having got their noses in front, it was frustrating to let the advantage slip, even with a missed Saints penalty following soon after.
“The equalising goal was the biggest disappointment for us,” Hunter told Saints Player. “That was poor play that has allowed them to get a foothold in the game.
“If the penalty had been struck a little bit lower then you never know, but we have plenty to look upon this evening.
“We are pleased to get a point at the end of it, but not pleased with the performances both individually and team wise, especially in the first half.
“Cody has made four great saves in the game, which has proved very important in us getting the point.”
Goalkeeper Cody Cropper made some notable saves in the opening 45 minutes to keep their opponents at bay, but Hunter confessed it was always going to be a learning curve for his players.
“There were two battles for us to fight this evening,” he explained. “One is obviously playing here at St Mary’s, for some of the players that is a new experience for them.
“Then you are playing against Manchester United, so it was almost a double fight for some of them this evening.
“Some of the players have dealt with it well, but others need more practice.
“Playing in any sort of stadium is advantageous and we had a good crowd here this evening.
“When we played Manchester United away that was in a stadium, so it is better to play in front of people watching because it gives it a bit more of an edge for the players.”
Players with first team experience were involved with the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Emmanuel Mayuka getting some valuable game time under their belts, and Hunter praised the duo’s approach to the contest.
“Their attitude is exemplary as we have said before, it is a way of upping their match fitness if they aren’t playing regularly in the first team. That is the beauty of playing in this league and it’s a step forward for us as a club to be involved in it.”
Attention remains firmly on securing a top three position in their group standings, and although not entirely in Saints’ hands, Hunter is still optimistic that results will fall his side’s way.
“It is still very open ended,” he highlighted. “We need to beat Newcastle and then we will see how the table is finalized because this is probably the toughest league in terms of points.
“The biggest disappointment so far was the game against Stoke at home, but that is by-the-by so now we have to go and beat Newcastle at Eastleigh.
“We need to win the game and we know that.”