Craig Fleming felt Southampton’s Under-18s should have wrapped up the three points long before Leicester fought back from 2-0 down to take a 2-2 draw at Staplewood.
Saints made a flying start to the game by going 2-0 up inside the opening 20 minutes thanks to goals from Will Smallbone and Michael Obafemi, but Fleming was left to rue a succession of missed chances to increase that lead.
The hosts paid the price as Leicester substitutes Tom Fielding and Harrison Myring each struck inside the final quarter of an hour to rescue what looked an unlikely scoreline during the contest, leaving Saints U18s’ coach to reflect on what felt like a defeat.
“They always feel that way when you’re 2-0 up, dominating the game at 2-0 and very comfortable,” he said.
“But there’s some good lessons for the lads to take there in both boxes. In football they say 2-0 can be a dangerous scoreline and we had three or four one-on-one chances, and if you don’t take them, then you see they get a goal back and you’re thinking, ‘I’ve seen this one quite a few times in my playing career!’
“There were lots of positives from the first half, but second half there are lots of things that we need to work on because we were 2-0 up and cruising.
“We didn’t start the second half particularly great, but we had three, maybe four really good chances and you’ve got to take one of those really.
“I was very disappointed with the way that we started the second half, but we weathered it quite well,” Fleming added.
“We’ve been defensively pretty solid over these past few months so you always feel like we’re going to weather it and dig in there, but once we didn’t take our chances and they got one back you just felt it was coming.”
we had three, maybe four really good chances and you’ve got to take one of those really.CRAIG FLEMING
SOUTHAMPTON U18S COACH
Saints fielded a team made up of almost entirely first year scholars, and Fleming says the youngsters will learn lessons from the way they lost control of the game.
“They’re young lads and this bunch today were very young,” the U18s coach highlighted. “They’re learning the game and that’s part and parcel of it. They’re not season we professionals who have done it all before so they’re going to make mistakes, but they’ll learn from it and they’ll get better.
“I think we need to get better in possession under pressure. We gave the ball away far too often in the second half which is unlike us really, we’re quite good generally in possession but under pressure we were too open when it got to 2-1 and a bit of panic set in.
“We didn’t keep the ball very well and we’ve got to be more clinical when you get the sort of chances we did, you’ve got to put them away because then the game is finished.”