U23 Report: Southampton 0-0 Chelsea

By SFC Media Mon 06 Mar Saints U23 vs Chelsea U23
Photo by Matt Watson | Martín Cáceres
Mon 06 Mar 7.00PM
Premier League 2
Southampton
0
Chelsea
0
Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 0

Southampton’s Under-23s earned a point against their counterparts from Chelsea with a goalless draw in Premier League 2 action on Monday night.

Jay Rodriguez, Jake Hesketh and Josh Sims all went close to breaking the deadlock, but both defences held tight to ensure a shutout at St Mary’s.

Ahead of kick-off Saints knew they could close the gap to the Blues who fielded a strong team against them in the reverse of this fixture, to keep pace with the top six teams in a tightly contested division.

And, with no Premier League game for two weeks, Saints included a number of first team players in the side, with recent addition Martín Cáceres among those given some game time.

Harrison Reed was named as captain for the evening, and it was the hosts who got the game under way, attacking the Northam stand with Rodriguez and Sofiane Boufal immediately taking the game to their opponents.

Inside the opening five minutes, Højbjerg won possession and found Sims on the right hand side who crossed towards Rodriguez inside the six yard box, but the striker couldn’t quite reach the arching delivery into the area.

Moments later the striker connected to a fine throughball from Hesketh, but saw his low shot saved well by Bradley Collins in the Chelsea goal.

Josh Sims searches for a way through against Chelsea

At the other end, Kyle Scott blazed wide from distance as the visitors stood firm against the pressure from Saints, and they went even closer when Harvey St Clair tried his luck from range with a low strike which forced Mouez Hassen into a save down at his right post. 

Sims tricked his way through the Chelsea backline but to no avail as the half wore on. Saints’ best chance of the opening 45 came when Valery found Sims, who fed Rodriguez via Højbjerg, but the striker couldn’t keep his shot down as his effort cleared the crossbar.

Debutant Cáceres was called into action to thwart the advances from Ike Ugbo inside the area, before Saints threatened again late on in the half when Reed placed a superb pass into the path of Sims who sliced his shot wide of the left post.

The half came to a close shortly after Boufal’s late free-kick took a wicked deflection on its way out of play, narrowly avoiding the bottom corner.

It took a little while for the second 45 to warm up, although both McQueen and Boufal were on the receiving end of two strong challenges, which saw both players remain grounded.

Hesketh goes close for the hosts

Boufal made way for Tyreke Johnson and soon after, Saints almost broke the deadlock when Sims cut the ball back across the area, where Rodriguez saw his shot blocked, before Hesketh blazed an effort over as he tried to lift it into the top right corner of the net.

The visitors threatened just past the hour mark when Chelsea full back Dujon Sterling burst into the area on the right hand side, and saw his low shot warm the hands of Hassen, who then gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Substitute Johnson saw a near post effort saved with a good reaction stop from Collins, before Højbjerg’s free-kick was deflected behind for a corner as Saints applied late pressure.

Harry Reed then attempted a delicate chip over Collins after finding his way into the area, but the Chelsea 'keeper clawed the effort away to help his side claim a point from the game.


Southampton

1
Mouez Hassen (GK)
2
Yan Valery
3
Sam McQueen
4
Harrison Reed (C)
5
Martín Cáceres
6
Alfie Jones
7
Josh Sims
8
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
9
Jay Rodriguez
10
Sofiane Boufal
Tyreke Johnson (58′)
11
Jake Hesketh
13
Harry Lewis
12
Ollie Cook
14
Thomas O'Connor
15
Tyreke Johnson
16
Ryan Seager

Chelsea

1
Bradley Collins (GK) (C)
2
Dujon Sterling
3
Richard Nartey
4
Trevor Chalobah
5
Joshua Grant
6
Kyle Scott
12
Ruben Sammut
8
Jacob Maddox
9
Ike Ugbo
10
Mason Mount
11
Harvey St Clair
13
Jared Thompson
7
Todd Kane
14
Isaac Christie Davies
15
Joseph Colley
16
Josimar Quintero
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