U18 Report: Saints 2-0 Brighton

By SFC Media Sat 11 Mar Saints v Brighton
Photo by Naomi Baker | Saints celebrate 
Sat 11 Mar 11.00AM
U18 Premier League
Southampton
2
Brighton & Hove Albion
0
Valery [23] Afolabi [86]
Referee: M Desborough | Venue: Staplewood Campus | Attendance: 0

Southampton Under-18s recorded their second Under-18 Premier League victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in as many weeks at Staplewood.

Goals in each half from Yan Valery and then substitute Jonathan Afolabi ensured that Saints completed their fourth consecutive league victory.

Craig Fleming made eight changes for the visit of the Seagulls; the most notable of which saw Michael Obafemi return to the starting line up following a six-week injury lay off.

Despite the number of changes, Saints started confidently and looked assured in possession inside the final third, though they would have to wait to fashion their first clear-cut chance of the encounter.

Breaking down the left flank on 20 minutes the ball was cut back to Will Smallbone just inside the Brighton penalty area, but the midfielder was unable to test the visiting goalkeeper with his strike.

The opener came just three minutes later. Valery surged down the right flank and picked up a loose ball inside the penalty area before tucking in low from close range to break the deadlock.

Smallbone and Callum Slattery then had opportunities to double the advantage from range in the closing stages of the first half, but neither strikes threatened Robert Sanchez in the Brighton goal.

Jake Vokins cuts the ball back for Will Smallbone to strike during the first half.

Five minutes after the restart Harlem Hale had a great opportunity to extend the advantage. A low drive from the left byline found the winger in plenty of space at the far post, but he was unable to adjust his feet in time to guide the ball goalwards.

The left flank was proving fruitful for Saints. Moments later Jake Vokins bombed forward on the overlap and cut inside to unleash a right-footed effort at goal, but it swung just wide of the far post.

Sanchez then pulled off two fine double saves to keep his side in the match. First he parried Smallbone's long-distance effort and denied Obafemi on the rebound, before then pushing away Thomas O'Connor's free-kick and blocking Hale's strike.

That set piece was to be O'Connor's last contribution of the afternoon, as he was then replaced by Harry Hamblin. Obafemi also made way shortly after and Jonathan Afolabi was introduced up top.

The visitors had a chance to steal an equaliser in the closing stages. An in-swinging cross from the left deceived everybody and fell through to Stephan Ljubicic at the back post, but he was unable to direct a header at goal.

Afolabi then put the result beyond doubt in the final minutes. The substitute met Jake Vokins' corner at the far post and tapped in to an empty net to confirm a well-deserved victory for the Saints youngsters.

Southampton

1
Alex Cull (GK)
2
Yan Valery
3
Jake Vokins
4
Ben Rowthorn
5
Aaron O'Driscoll (C)
6
Thomas O'Connor
Harry Hamblin (59′)
7
Harlem Hale
8
Callum Slattery
9
Michael Obafemi
Jonathan Afolabi (69′)
10
Will Smallbone
11
Trialist
13
Adam Parkes
12
Harry Hamblin
14
Javen Siu
15
Oliver Gardner
16
Jonathan Afolabi

Brighton and Hove Albion

1
Robert Sanchez (GK)
2
Owen Moore
3
Alex Cochrane (C)
4
Archie Davies
5
Danny Barker
6
Sam Rolph
Tariq Shihas (88′)
7
Hamish Morrison
Columbus Ibeh (63′)
8
Charles Ferguson
9
Stephan Ljubicic
10
Luis Garcia
11
Isaac Hutchinson
Tyrese Fornay (63′)
13
George Bentley
12
Tyrese Fornay
14
Columbus Ibeh
15
Cameron Tutt
16
Tariq Shihas
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