Southampton Under-18s put on a much improved display in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, according to manager Craig Fleming.
Saints took the lead early on in the encounter through Ben Rowthorn and although they were pegged back by Jack Doyle-Hayes’ free-kick just ten minutes later, Fleming was pleased with his side's overall performance.
“We were much improved today,” he started.
“We stood up defensively to a very direct and physical team and created a couple of very good chances, one of which we took.
“Their goal was from a direct free-kick and apart from that we restricted them well - I can’t say they threatened our goal.
“So it was much improved from the previous two games for us and much more like a Southampton team.”
Goalscorer Rowthorn donned the captain’s armband for the match in the absence of the injured Aaron O’Driscoll.
Whilst Alex Cull returned from injury to complete 45 minutes in goal for Saints, and Fleming was delighted with the pair.
“Ben did well,” he continued.
“He took his goal well and led the team well. There was only two or three second years out there and I thought he led and organised the team well.
“I am also very pleased for Alex – that’s his first start for the Under-18s because he has been out with a persistent knee injury.
“We knew he could only play 45 minutes so we decided to start him and take him off at half time. He’s come through relatively pain free so that’s great news.”