First Anthony Georgiou equalised after Marcus Barnes had given the Saints a first half lead at the Training Centre.
And despite Jake Hesketh restoring the visitors’ advantage three minutes from the end, a stoppage time strike from Will Miller secured a share of the spoils in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League.
“In spite of their goals we continued to show character, kept plugging away and we scored at the end. I think it’s really important to have that resilience there and that the players didn’t lie down,” said John, our Academy Manager.
“The standards are always high here so my expectation was for a bit more zip in things. I didn’t think we hit the heights that we’d set initially, but when you set such a high marker that’s sometimes going to be the case.”
With our place in the end-of-season play-offs already secured – we take on Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday in the semi-finals – John took the opportunity to field a handful of younger players alongside some more experienced campaigners.
And while he was left with plenty to mull over, he picked out two players in particular for praise.
“I was really pleased with Joe Muscatt at left-back,” he said. “I thought he added forward momentum and had plenty of zip about the way he played. I was also pleased with Cameron Carter-Vickers.
“I said to the boys at half-time and again afterwards that we can’t deem these fixtures as end-of-season games because there’s so much riding on them to try and establish a credibility.
“There’s obviously some boys trying to earn a place in the semi-final at Goodison next week there’s not one position that’s guaranteed. There’s 17 or 18 people, possibly even more, that I’d feel more than comfortable and confident starting.”