Technical Director Martin Hunter was delighted with his ‘street-wise’ side after the 4-0 victory over Crawley Town in the Checkatrade Trophy at St Mary’s.
An own goal from Yusuf Mersin set Saints on their way, before goals from Siph Mdlalose, Callum Slattery and Olufela Olomola capped a fine performance.
And Hunter was particularly pleased by the execution of the game plan set out against an experienced League Two side.
“I thought we were terrific. Obviously we got an early goal from an error from their goalkeeper but after that I think in the first 25-30 minutes, there was some terrific football played by a young team,” Hunter said.
“We’d talked a lot about the players being street wise against a men’s team with lots of physicality and some good players so we did work around that.
“The pleasing thing is they took that game plan throughout the first-half particularly and in the latter stages of the second-half.”
As well as being resolute in defence, Saints showed killer instinct to convert their dominance into precious points and top the group.
Hunter added: “I thought they were very bright, they learnt very quickly about the battles they could win and some that they couldn’t.
“Some of the attacking play was not only pleasing on the eye but also very clinical.
“At half-time we said to keep the standards up as well as a few technical things. The hardest thing for the young players is to keep the momentum going.
“It’s a home tie next up so it’s another opportunity for our young players to test themselves against senior players.”