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Lankshear at the double as Under-21s win again

Southampton 2-3 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Fri 12 January 2024, 21:40|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-21s continued where they left off in 2023 with a hard-earned victory at Southampton in our first Premier League 2 outing of 2024 on Friday night.

In a tricky test on a chilly night on the south coast, we were twice pegged back before Will Lankshear's fortuitous second goal of the game secured a deserved 3-2 victory with nine minutes remaining.

Alejandro Gomes Rodriguez had equalised for the Saints barely 60 seconds earlier, cancelling out a superb, composed finish from Lankshear shortly before the hour mark which had made it 2-1. A penalty just after half-time from home skipper Cameron Bragg had previously levelled things up after Max Robson's first-half opener for us.

It was a terrific effort from Wayne Burnett's squad, with a couple of regular starters not involved and others struggling with injuries - indeed, Rio Kyerematen worked hard to be fit for the game having hardly trained this week and played a part in the second half before being forced off again, with Tyrell Ashcroft also departing early and skipper Brooklyn Lyons-Foster doing a sterling job in covering for him in the latter stages, including a heroic late block to prevent substitute Luke Pearce from making it 3-3.

The Saints named our former Academy players Jayden Meghoma and Sam Amo-Ameyaw in their side, the latter causing problems on a couple of occasions down their right flank, but their best chance of the first half fell to Gomes Rodriguez, who swiped a shot high over the bar with the goal at his mercy after Jake Vokins picked him out in space down the middle of the pitch.

Jude Soonsup-Bell forced Adli Mohamed into a fine save but we weren't to be denied just afterwards as we cleverly picked our way into a crowded box with some precise play, Lyons-Foster ferrying the ball on for Robson to plough through the last line of defence and plant home in the 32nd minute.

Soonsup-Bell was denied at the back post by Mohamed and Robson headed wide from a corner, but our good work was momentarily undone on the resumption as Lyons-Foster was penalised for his challenge on Pearce - who had only been on the pitch for some 40 seconds - and Bragg sent Aaron Maguire the wrong way from the penalty spot.

We regained the lead on 57 minutes when Damola Ajayi found space and fed Lankshear, who crept in behind the defence and finished well from a tight angle in the box, but Southampton continued to battle and Maguire - on his first league start of the season - saved well from Bragg and Vokins midway through the second half.

We remained largely in control but 10 minutes from time were hit with a sucker punch as the unmarked Gomes Rodriguez latched onto a cross-field ball in space in our box and fired home on his right foot. But no sooner had the dust settled, we were in front again, an attempted clearance by Sonnie Davis from inside his own six-yard box ricocheting back into the net off Lankshear's head. Southampton pushed hard in the latter stages but our defence, marshalled by the excellent Alfie Dorrington, stood firm. Davis had a penalty shout waved away after appeals for handball against Jazhiah Linton, Jayden Moore's shot was blocked and Lyons-Foster produced a superb last-ditch sliding block to send Pearce's stoppage-time effort behind as we saw the game out.

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

'Some of our football in the first half was really good'

Under-21s Coach Wayne admitted that our winning goal had a slice of fortune about it, but felt we were deserved winners overall.

"I said to Will (Lankshear) after the game that his sheer work ethic has got him into those positions. We've been fortunate with the third goal but I think overall we probably deserved to win," he told SPURSPLAY. "I thought we played very well in the first half, not so well in the second but we're pleased to come away against a very good Southampton team and win.

"Our objective, as it always has been, is to try to push players close to our first team. We've got players that would usually play this evening that haven't played, so some players have been given an opportunity that don't normally get as many minutes and I'm pleased that they've stepped up, applied themselves and put some really good performances in. As I've said on numerous occasions, I think the game reveals the habits and it's done that again today - I felt we kept going right to the very end, we got a little bit nervy, I can understand that to a degree, but some of our football in the first half was really good and I'm really pleased about that. We slightly lost our way in the second half but overall to come away to Southampton and put in a performance like that with players who have played limited minutes, I'm really pleased."

Southampton 2-3 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Southampton: Mohamed, Abu (Davis 61), Armitage, Moore, Meghoma (Carson 61), Miles (Merry 80), Amo-Ameyaw (Pearce 46), Bragg (c), Gomes Rodriguez, Lett, Vokins. Substitute (not used): Awe.

Spurs: Maguire, Robson (McKnight 89), Linton, Ashcroft (Kyerematen 55 (Williams 82)), Dorrington, Lyons-Foster (c), Ajayi, Cassanova, Lankshear, John, Soonsup-Bell. Substitutes (not used): Warren, Andiyapan.

Match data

Goals: Southampton - Bragg 47 (pen), Gomes Rodriguez 80; Spurs - Robson 32, Lankshear 57, 81.

Yellow cards: Southampton - Lett 90+5; Spurs - Robson 42.

Referee: Stephen Parkinson.

Venue: Snows Stadium, Totton.

Weather: Cloudy, light winds, four degrees.

Attendance: 361.