U23 Report: West Brom 1-1 Saints

By SFC Media Thu 18 Apr West Brom v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Southampton FC
Thu 18 Apr 3PM
Premier League 2 - Division 2
West Bromwich Albion
1
Southampton
1
Rogers [76']
Smallbone [48']
Referee: Daniel Middleton | Venue: West Bromwich Albion Training Ground | Attendance: 31

The PL2 Division 2 title race will go into the final matchweek of the season after Saints were held to a 1-1 draw by West Brom on Thursday afternoon.

A win would have put Radhi Jaïdi’s side two points clear and firmly in the driving seat but as it is, they will head into their final fixture against Sunderland level on 40 points with both Reading and Wolves.

A dominant first half performance yielded a host of scoring chances, which would later prove to be costly as West Brom’s Morgan Rogers cancelled out Will Smallbone’s penalty 14 minutes from time.

Jaïdi’s youngsters headed into the game in the knowledge that only two wins would guarantee the title and they will be left wondering how they were unable to make their early pressure count against a highly-experienced West Brom side.

The likes of Wes Hoolahan, Tyrone Mears, James Morrison and Jonathan Leko started the game for the hosts who nonetheless started the game on the back-foot in the face of a high-intensity opening from Saints.

Lining up in a 3-4-3, the visitors fashioned the only presentable chances of the first half. Tom O’Connor narrowly missed connection on a curling Smallbone free-kick before Jake Vokins’s devilishly inviting early cross from the left was headed out from under the West Brom crossbar inside the opening quarter of an hour.

With the Baggies, overrun in midfield, the sights of goal for Saints continued as the half drew on; Bradley House could only parry Dan N’Lundulu’s shot into the path of Smallbone, but the midfielder could only scuff his left-footed rebound back into the ‘keeper’s arms from inside the penalty area.

The best of them fell to Dan N’Lundulu, the striker fiercely lashing inches over the angle of crossbar and post with House then acrobatically flicking away Tyreke Johnson’s shot moments later.

N’Lundulu headed wide on the run from Harry Hamblin’s precise back-post cross and ought to have done better when turning into space on the edge of the box, instead shooting tamely at the goalkeeper.

A pair of near-post blocks from Christoph Klarer ensured Saints were not caught out on the counter-attack at the end of a half in which the home side failed to register a single shot on target.

Saints were rewarded for the first-half endeavour with an instant of the restart. Johnson’s angled run into the box drew three home defenders and a trip on the winger handed Smallbone the chance to set up a deserved lead.

Smallbone's penalty looked to have sent Saints two points clear at the top of the PL2 Division 2 table only for the Baggies' late equaliser.

He duly delivered, smashing low into the corner via a touch from House to cue passionate celebrations from the boys in red and white stripes, the potential significance of the goal clear to see.

Jaïdi had called on his side to treat the game like any other and their composure, handling of pressure and game management skills were put under heavy scrutiny for the remainder of the encounter.

Klarer might have even doubled their advantage just after the hour-mark, Will Ferry’s right-wing free-kick finding the defender unmarked in the centre to head straight at House.

The Austrian’s positioning was once again required at the other end to block Leko’s shot on with his chest on the goal-line after the forward had snaked inside three Saints defenders down the inside-right channel.

There was nothing they could do about West Brom’s equaliser on 76 minutes from a superbly struck free-kick. With Hoolahan looking to be the more likely taker, midfielder Rogers swept the ball right-footed up and over the wall and beyond the dive of Jack Rose to level the scores.

It was a moment that left Saints rueing their profligacy in the first half, a draw the fairest result given the way West Brom forced their way back into the game after the break.

With Saints now level on points with Wolves and Reading, a nail-biting conclusion to the PL2 season awaits on Monday 29 April at St Mary's.  

West Bromwich Albion

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    63
    37
  • Shots
    9
    19
  • Shots on target
    3
    7
  • Corners
    3
    8
  • Passes Complete
    390
    188

West Bromwich Albion PL2

1
Brad House (GK)
5
Tomiwa Solanke
6
Max Melbourne
4
Nathan Ferguson
3
George Harmon
8
Morgan Rogers (C)
2
Tyrone Mears
Dan Meredith (60′)
7
James Morrison
Finn Azaz (45′)
10
Wes Hoolahan
9
Jonathan Leko
11
Rayhaan Tulloch
Stanley Asomugha (84′)
13
Joshua Griffiths
12
Finn Azaz
16
Kevin Healy
15
Dan Meredith
14
Stanley Asomugha

Southampton PL2

1
Jack Rose (GK)
5
Aaron O'Driscoll (C)
6
Christoph Klarer
4
Thomas O'Connor
2
Oludare Olufunwa
8
Harry Hamblin
10
William Smallbone
7
Will Ferry
Kameron Ledwidge (69′)
3
Jake Vokins
11
Tyreke Johnson
Alexandre Jankewitz (88′)
9
Daniel N'Lundulu
Marcus Barnes (72′)
14
Kameron Ledwidge
12
Allan Tchaptchet
16
Marcus Barnes
13
Alex Cull
15
Alexandre Jankewitz
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