Saints U18s 1-1 Spurs U18s
Report from Staplewood
23 August 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Stoppage time heroics from Southampton’s substitute goalkeeper Neal Osborn denied our Under-18s a winner in their first away game of the domestic season.
Shayon Harrison’s deflected free-kick was clawed away to safety by Osborn at the end of an energetic Barclays Under-18 Premier League clash at the Saints’ Staplewood training ground on Saturday lunchtime.
Anthony Georgiou had earlier brought us back level after Callum Slattery’s opener for the home side but, with neither side able to find a way through in the second half, the match ended 1-1.
The home side began on the front foot, keeping left-back Kyle Walker-Peters busy in the opening stages. He stood his ground to prevent Richard Bakary from wriggling free in a dangerous position at the side of the box and then cut out Harley Willard’s cross before it could reach anyone in the crowded penalty area.
Zenon Stylianides made a fine covering tackle as Marcus Barnes shaped to shoot, while Christian Maghoma was forced to turn another Willard cross behind at the expense of a corner as Southampton continued in the ascendency.
Their early endeavours were nearly rewarded on 24 minutes when goalkeeper Tom Glover failed to get power behind his clearance and the ball went straight to Willard. However, after taking a touch to get into a more central position from the right, the custodian made himself big and denied the Saints’ attacker from point-blank range.
Two minutes later, however, Southampton did take the lead as Willard’s ball in from the right resulted in Slattery sweeping low into the net.
This seemed to galvanise our players, with Georgiou sending Armani Daly’s right-wing cross back into the danger zone at the first time of asking – but prowling front man Ryan Loft couldn’t get his foot on the ball and the Saints cleared their lines.
We were level on 32 minutes and again it was Daly on the right linking up well with Georgiou on the opposite flank. Daly, making his first start for the Under-18s, found Georgiou on the left-hand corner of the 18-yard box with a fine ball over from the right, with Georgiou picking his spot and drilling low across goalkeeper Harry Isted into the bottom corner of the net with his left foot.
Harrison flashed a low ball across the goalmouth three minutes later, but somehow neither Loft not Daly could make contact as they arrived at the back post.
The second half yielded fewer chances, but both sides will feel they could have taken the lead.
Daly broke away centrally and fed Georgiou in behind the full-back shortly after the hour mark, with his subsequent shot deflecting off Osborn – who had taken over between the sticks for the Saints at half-time – and onto the post. Loft kept the attack alive and fed Harrison on the edge of the box, but his effort flew over the bar.
Daly himself went close when he drove low across the box and wide of the far post, while a rising shot from Southampton’s Willard was well caught by Glover.
Maghoma instinctively stuck out a foot to block a low drive from Chris Regis that might have caused Glover problems had it got through, while Walker-Peters drifted a right-footed shot wide of the post as we sought a winning goal.
Georgiou then found Charlie Hayford in a great position eight yards out, but the substitute couldn’t get a clean connection on the ball and the chance went begging.
The closing moments remained one-way traffic, with Hayford floating in a fine cross for Loft. However, after controlling well, the striker skewed his shot into the ground and it went behind off a defender.
Our final chance arrived three minutes into stoppage time when substitute Chris Paul was fouled just outside the box, with Harrison’s well-struck free-kick taking a touch off the wall on its way towards the top corner. Osborn, though, was equal to it and the points were shared.
Spurs: Glover, Ross (Muscatt 73), Walker-Peters, Amos, Maghoma, Stylianides, Daly (Paul 82), Pritchard (Hayford 84), Loft, Harrison, Georgiou. Substitutes (not used): Owens, Voss (GK).