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#U23 #PL2 #MatchReport #Southampton

Under-23s fight back to draw with Saints

Southampton 1-1 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Sun 07 February 2021, 17:01|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-23s benefitted from a Will Ferry own goal nine minutes from time as we came back from behind to draw 1-1 at Southampton in the Premier League 2 on Sunday afternoon.

Trailing to Sam Bellis’ effort shortly after the interval, we pressed hard for a leveller and after Saints goalkeeper Jack Bycroft impressively denied both Kion Etete and Alfie Devine, we finally found a breakthrough as Ferry inadvertently headed Tobi Omole’s searching ball beyond Bycroft and into his own net.

The result at Snows Stadium in Totton marked our second consecutive 1-1 draw and fifth game unbeaten, putting us back level at the top of the table with both Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers on 25 points. City are in pole position on goal difference and have played two matches fewer, while third-placed Rovers have one game in hand.

Both teams gave match minutes to some Under-18s players while there was one change to our starting side from last week’s north London derby, central midfielder Jamie Bowden coming in for striker Dane Scarlett, who made his Premier League debut against West Brom at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium earlier in the afternoon.

The hosts started brightly and Josh Oluwayemi had to be alert to deal with Bellis’ angled drive on eight minutes, Ethan Burnett subsequently firing over the bar. Bowden pounced on a mistake at the back but dragged his shot wide mid-way through the first period in our first real chance, while striker Etete was off-target moments later as we set about trying to get a foothold in the game in difficult playing conditions.

We came out strongly for the second half and pressed Southampton back with J’Neil Bennett a lively influence on the right wing, but it was the hosts who forged ahead on 52 minutes, Ferry setting up Bellis to fire in on the half-volley.

We wouldn’t be denied, though, and feverishly hunted a leveller, Etete being denied one-on-one by keeper Bycroft, who also saved Devine’s volley from a corner on his line in two good chances for us. However, in the 81st minute, we did manage to equalise – Omole played a long ball into the box looking for Devine but Ferry got his bearings wrong and his header sailed over Bycroft to gift us a goal. Both sides probed for a winner, but the spoils were ultimately shared on a bitterly cold afternoon in Hampshire.

‘It was pleasing how well we adapted’

“It was a really difficult game in difficult conditions, a game that didn’t necessarily lend itself to how we want to play at times, but the pleasing thing was how well we adapted in the second half to those conditions,” said Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett.

“We didn’t feel that we played very well in the first half but in the second half, with chances and penalty box entries, we dominated the game and thoroughly deserved at least a point. Overall they probably shaded it in the first half but we were much better in the second half.

“Sometimes the game doesn’t necessarily feel like you want it to all the time, but that’s not a bad thing because sometimes the players need to be exposed to different types of games and we got that today. The pleasing thing was how well we adapted to the conditions and the way the game was being played.”

Southampton 1-1 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Southampton: Bycroft, Otseh-Taiwo (Kpohomouh 71), Ferry (c), Tchaptchet, Agbontohma, Burnett, Bellis (Smales-Braithwaite 83), Morris, Smith, Defise, Olaigbe. Substitutes (not used): Latham, Tizzard, Keogh.

Spurs: Oluwayemi, Lavinier, Markanday (Mukendi 80), Marsh, Lyons-Foster (c), Omole, John, Bowden (Robson 69), Etete, Devine, Bennett (Muir 75). Substitute (not used): Kurylowicz.

Match data

Goals: Southampton – Bellis 52; Spurs – Ferry (OG) 81.

Yellow cards: Southampton – Ferry 41, Tchaptchet 90+2; Spurs – Devine 55.

Referee: Matthew Russell.

Venue: Snows Stadium, Totton.

Weather: Light cloud, moderate breeze, one degree.