The impressive Samuel Shashoua had seemed most likely to register a treble in the early stages as the attacking midfielder, electric with the ball at his feet, netted twice to put us 2-0 up inside 19 minutes.
But he was upstaged by Roles, who increased our lead to 4-0 during a blistering team display in the first half before adding his third with a beautiful first-time finish into the top corner from the edge of the box after we'd suffered a little wobble at the beginning of the second period.
Substitute Kazaiah Sterling then rounded off a swift attacking move to score for the third game in a row and complete an excellent victory.
We flew out of the traps at the Saints’ plush Staplewood training complex and took the lead after 11 minutes when Reo Griffiths rolled in to the feet of Shashoua, who clipped a low shot in off the post from a central position just outside the area.
Shashoua doubled his tally on 19 minutes, smashing home from the penalty spot after Nick Tsaroulla was felled by Christoph Klarer, with Roles then turning in Shashoua’s low drive across from the right – only to be denied by the off-side flag.
There was no stopping Roles on the half-hour mark though. After Adam Parkes saved well from Shashoua at his near post, the midfielder pounced on the rebound and lashed high into the net from a similarly acute angle on the right to make it 3-0.
Goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie saved from Michael Obafemi and then saw Klarer fire over the bar, but we were quickly back on the front foot and rounded off a dominant first-half display two minutes before the interval when Oliver Skipp picked out Roles in the box from the right wing, he stole in ahead of Parkes and converted from a tight angle at the near post.
Above: Tariq Hinds tussles for the ball (pics: Naomi Baker/Southampton FC).
The Saints caught us napping early in the second period, forcing De Bie into playing a dangerous short pass to centre-back Jon Dinzeyi with Harlem Hale bursting in to take the ball and score less than 60 seconds after the restart.
But the goalkeeper redeemed himself moments later with a brilliant save to keep out Aaron O’Driscoll’s fierce drive from eight yards out. De Bie did it again on 52 minutes, making another fine stop to thwart Obafemi, but Will Smallbone was quickest to react to the rebound and swept low into the net.
We regained our composure and made it 5-2 on the hour mark when Shashoua got to the byline on the right and pulled the ball back for Roles, who completed his hat-trick with a sublime first-time curling shot from 18 yards that flew past Parkes.
Jamie Reynolds, making his first start at this level, tested the keeper with a stylish effort before Sterling added goal number six for us with 14 minutes remaining, passing in to the feet of Roles, running beyond him in the area and sweeping in the return pass with his left foot at the first time of asking.
The hard-working Tsaroulla twice fired over the bar when well placed to score in the closing minutes but the team had done enough to leave Head of Player Development John McDermott with a selection headache for our FA Youth Cup tie against Stevenage in midweek.
JOHN MCDERMOTT SAID
“It’s obviously really pleasing. We’re playing a lot of games at the moment – possibly too many as it’s really important for these 16- and 17-year-olds to be on the training pitch and practicing their trade. However to come here at the end of a long week of travelling can be mentally tiring, but we came out of the blocks quickly, we were expansive in the first half, exciting and clinical. Half-time harmed rather than helped us and maybe there was a degree of complacency at the start of the second 45 minutes but we had the mental strength and resilience to ride the storm a little bit for 10 minutes and to then regain the momentum.
“I’m pleased at the different types of goals. Samuel Shashoua needed a big performance – and he contributed with his goals and looked a threat. Similarly, it’s good for Jack Roles to get his hat-trick, Kazaiah Sterling is now starting to hit a goalscoring rhythm, Jamie Reynolds grew into the game and I was really pleased with Nick Tsaroulla who also looked a threat. What’s also pleasing is a couple of boys in the changing room – Jonathan De Bie and the defenders – are so disappointed that they couldn’t keep a clean sheet. It’s good to see that despite such a convincing win.
“The gauntlet laid down to all the boys was to play well and win today, but also to stake a claim for a shirt on Wednesday night in a competition that, for young players, is very prestigious. We’ve got some selection difficulties now but thankfully some pleasant ones – we’ve got a lot of players in form but it’s a case of who do we pick and who do we leave out now?”
Spurs U18s: De Bie, Hinds, Tsaroulla, Skipp (Tanganga 64), Marsh (c), Dinzeyi, Shashoua (Sterling 71), Roles, Griffiths, Duncan (Bennetts 64), Reynolds. Substitutes (not used): Eyoma, Freeman (GK).
We take our first steps in this season's FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night (January 30) against Stevenage. While we are the home team in the third round tie, we will host the Hertfordshire side at their Lamex Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 7pm and tickets will be available on the night.