U23s Report: Cardiff 0-1 Saints

By SFC Media Thu 02 Nov Cardiff v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Callum Slattery
Thu 02 Nov 1.00PM
Premier League Cup
Cardiff City
0
Southampton
1
Johnson [80']
Harris [26']
Jones [34'] O'Driscoll [80']
Johnson [85']
Venue: Leckwith International Stadium | Attendance: 100

Made to work for the victory, Saints Under-23s got their Premier League Cup campaign up and running with three points in Wales against a dogged Cardiff City side.

Tyreke Johnson was the match-winner, scoring a sensational solo goal in the 80th minute, before being dismissed moments later for a mistimed lunging challenge on Cardiff's George Ratcliffe.

The visitors had chances to extend the margin of difference, as Nathan Tella, Jonathan Afolabi and Callum Slattery fired efforts on target, while Jack Rose made two vital stops in the second period to preserve Saints' clean sheet.

Despite Saints dominating much of the early possession on a difficult surface, and dictating tempo, the home side were the first to test their opposition 'keeper, forcing a routine save from in-form Rose.

Striker Frederic Gounongbe won a free-kick 25 yards out, which was struck with pace by Mark Harris, without causing too much exertion for Saints' stopper.

Thomas O'Connor twice tested Rose's opposite number Ratcliffe with efforts from range, before Slattery curled a shot goalward in the 20th minute, which set the tone for the remainder of a one-sided affair.

The hosts did however muster a flurry of chances late in the first period, with midfielder Amos Nasha firing a low shot towards the Saints upright, which required intervention, before Lamin Conte caught the visitors unaware with a late run in behind.

The alert Rose stood tall, and ensured Saints emerged from an uncharacteristically sloppy period unscathed. Both Tella and Afolabi had opportunities to edge Saints in front, but half-time arrived without a blemish on either side's record.

It took ten minutes of a cagey second-half for the away side to carve a clear-cut opening. Lively as ever, Slattery was involved in the preamble, before a neat interchange between Tella and Jones worked the ball to Afolabi in the box.

Saints looked certain to take the lead, but for some steadfast Bluebirds defending, who remained on the back foot for much of the game. The home side continued to frustrate, before a piece of solo genius from Tyreke Johnson finally put paid to Saints' collective dominance.

The winger collected the ball on the halfway line, before bursting forward and sending an effort crashing in off the underside of the crossbar. The finish was befitting of all three points, and allowed Southampton's young charges to register their first victory of this season's Premier League Cup competition.

Cardiff City

1
George Ratcliffe (GK)
2
Cameron Coxe
3
Nathan Mavila
4
Amos Nasha
5
Tyrone Duffus (C)
6
Connor Young
7
Lamin Conte
8
Lewis Hewitt
9
Frederic Gounongbe
James Waite (59′)
10
Mark Harris
11
Kris Owens
12
James Waite

Southampton

1
Jack Rose (GK)
2
Richard Bakary
Yan Valery (70′)
3
Will Wood
4
Alfie Jones (C)
5
Ollie Cook
6
Aaron O'Driscoll
7
Nathan Tella
Harlem Hale (58′)
8
Thomas O'Connor
Armani Little (70′)
9
Jonathan Afolabi
10
Callum Slattery
11
Tyreke Johnson
12
Yan Valery
13
Alex Cull
14
Armani Little
15
Ben Rowthorn
16
Harlem Hale
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