Joe Lea had fired the Saints ahead after 10 minutes amid a swirling wind and it needed a fine double-save from goalkeeper Tom McDermott to prevent us from slipping further behind in bitterly chilly conditions.
But it was the Saints who were caught cold as Nick Tsaroulla’s cross was accidentally headed into his own net by defender Ben Cull before Tsaroulla himself completed the turnaround a minute later as we returned to winning ways in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League.
Saints defender Alfie Jones was involved at both ends of the field in the early stages, first going up for a free-kick which he nodded across goal but wide and then intervening with a covering tackle to prevent Kazaiah Sterling from going through on goal a few minutes later.
Southampton, who were celebrating a birthday of sorts having been founded 130 years ago to the day, got the party started after 10 minutes as the ball was whipped in from the left and seemed to change direction in the wind, dropping nicely for Lea to step clear of our defence and slot past McDermott.
It might have been 2-0 on 28 minutes but for some brave defending from our lads. After a good run down the right by Yan Valery his cross was met by Tyreke Johnson, whose effort was blocked close to the goal-line by Charlie Owens. Lea latched onto the rebound and shot from 10 yards out, but Japhet Tanganga threw his body in the way to prevent him from adding to the scoreline.
Saints substitute Harley Willard then saw a long-range free-kick drop just the wrong side of the post as we struggled to keep hold of the ball in central areas, before the wind thwarted us again on 37 minutes as Charlie Hayford’s cross was seized upon and the visitors broke the full length of the pitch. Johnson went through on goal but McDermott made himself big to block the forward’s first shot, before clawing the ball away when the Southampton man picked up the rebound and cut inside to try his luck again.
That proved to be the turning point as full-back Tsaroulla put the visitors under pressure on the left side in the moments that followed. His 40th-minute cross was headed against the near post by Sterling, but when he floated the ball in again three minutes later, Cull accidentally headed it past goalkeeper Harry Lewis to gift us an equaliser.
And within 60 seconds we were in front, with Tsaroulla striking home from inside the area after good work in the build-up by Sterling.
Having led at the interval, we hardly looked in danger of conceding after the break and controlled the possession for large spells – Marcus Edwards in particular causing Southampton problems with his running on the ball.
Sterling’s downward header from Jack Roles’ cross was easy for Lewis to field, before Roles himself was off-target at the back post as he met Edwards’ free-kick. The Saints did go close on the hour mark when Ollie Cook rose highest in the box to get his head to Stuart Wilkin’s corner, but Hayford was there on the goal-line to clear.
Ryan Loft headed wide from Edwards’ corner mid-way through the second half as we searched for a third goal, while Chris Paul (pictured above) and Aramide Oteh also had an influence on our attacking play following their introduction from the bench.
Paul went on a powerful run from midfield on 76 minutes and forced a low save from Lewis with a driven effort, while Oteh was just off-side as he went for the rebound.
Oteh himself shot towards goal on 82 minutes after Owens won the ball on the edge of the box, but Lewis got down low once more to ensure we couldn’t add to our lead.
Spurs U18s: McDermott, Hayford, Tsaroulla, Owens, Tanganga, Maghoma, Roles (Paul 73), Duncan (Marsh 73), Loft, Edwards, Sterling (Oteh 69). Substitute (not used): Austin (GK).