U18 Report: Saints 0-1 Arsenal

By SFC Media Tue 31 Jan Saints U18 vs Arsenal U18
Photo by Naomi Baker | Jonathan Afolabi
Tue 31 Jan 12.00PM
U18 Premier League
Southampton
0
Arsenal
1
Malen [20']
Hamblin [40']
Gilmour [51']
Referee: M. Carmichael | Venue: Staplewood Campus | Attendance: 0

Southampton Under-18s suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal in their latest Under-18 Premier League fixture.

A young Saints side put on a positive display against a strong Arsenal outfit at Staplewood, but were undone by a real moment of magic from the visitors when Donyell Malen netted in the first half.

Craig Fleming made six changes to the side that were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Manchester City, with a number of those players featuring for the Under-23s against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.

Despite the youthful side, Saints had the chance to take the lead after just four minutes. Harlem Hale cut in from the left flank and took range at goal, but his shot flew just over Alex Crean’s crossbar.

The visitors fought back and Trae Coyle’s corner from the left was headed clear off the line by Javen Siu, before Adam Parkes pulled of a fantastic reaction save to deny Yassin Fortune’s header from the rebound.

On the 20-minute mark the visitors did eventually take the lead. Joe Willock threaded a superb ball forward for Malen to chase, who then cut in from the left and rifled a fine strike into Parkes’ far corner.

Malen almost turned provider just five minutes later when he slipped in Eddie Nketiah, but Parkes was quick off his line to deny the Arsenal captain.

Saints very much grew into the first half but despite mounting pressure were unable to create any clear-cut chances, and the visitors took a slender lead into the break.

Arsenal were quick out of the blocks after the interval and so nearly doubled their lead within minutes. Fortune cut back from the left across Parkes' goal, but the onrushing Nketiah was unable to provide the finishing touch into an empty net.

On the hour mark Saints almost found the perfect response. Will Smallbone curled from deep towards Jonathan Afolabi in the penalty area, but the towering striker was unable to make contact and the ball fell just wide of Crean's far post.

Moments later Afolabi teed up Hale in space on the left of the penalty following a swift counter, but the Saints winger volleyed wide of the target from close range.

Although time appeared to be getting away from them, Saints refused to give up. Hale burst down the left flank once more in the closing minutes and crossed for Afolabi to convert, but the Irish striker was unable to move the ball out of his feet quick enough. 

Despite a confident display in which they created a number of good chances, Fleming's men were unable to take anything from the fixture, as Malen's fine first-half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides.

Southampton

1
Adam Parkes (GK)
2
Connor Langan
Rugare Musendo (65′)
3
Javen Siu
4
Harry Hamblin
5
Aaron O'Driscoll (C)
6
Christoph Klarer
7
Harrison Davis
8
Will Smallbone
9
Jonathan Afolabi
10
Siph Mdlalose
11
Harlem Hale
13
Alex Cull
12
Oliver Gardner
14
Jamie Bradley-Green
15
Rugare Musendo

Arsenal

1
Alex Crean (GK)
2
Jordi Osei-Tutu
3
Tolaji Bola
4
Charlie Gilmour
Danny Ballard (80′)
5
Joseph Olowu
6
Kostas Pileas
7
Yassin Fortune
Robbie Burton (67′)
8
Joe Willock
9
Eddie Nketiah (C)
10
Trae Coyle
11
Donyell Malen
13
Daniel Barden
12
Zech Medley
14
Tobi Omole
15
Robbie Burton
16
Danny Ballard
Fleming praises youngsters despite Arsenal defeat
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Fleming praises youngsters despite Arsenal defeat

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