23/02/2015: Saints U21s 0-0 Tottenham U21s
Saints U21s were held to a 0-0 draw by Tottenham in an evenly matched contest at St Mary's. The two sides cancelled each other out in the first half. Spurs got a grip of the ball in the second half, but Saints defended well and occasionally looked threatening on the break.
Martin Hunter included Ryan Bertrand in the starting line-up. The full-back was given 45 minutes to re-establish his match fitness, having not played since picking up a red card at the start of the month. Lloyd Isgrove also made a return from injury. He also played just the first-half.
Ryan Seager had Saints' first major chance, following a quick move which started at the other end of the pitch. Seager was played in one-on-one by Sam Gallagher before testing the keeper. Saints then caused Spurs a few problems in the air at set pieces. Tottenham saw a fair amount of the ball in midfield, but the delivery was poor.
Saints often made use of the long ball early on, to little success. During the latter part of the first half Martin Hunter's side adopted a more patient approach, but still struggled to break through. Saints did produce a couple of pieces of real quality, though. On 35 Bertrand played a brilliant ball to the back post, only to see Jake Sinclair scuff his effort. Harrison Reed then shot straight at Luke McGee. Tottenham finished the half strongly. Their best chance came from Shaquile Coulthirst, who shot straight at Paulo Gazzaniga from a ball over the top.
Bevis Mugabi and Josh Sims replaced Bertrand and Isgrove at half-time in a pre-planned change. The second half started at a higher pace. Tottenham dominated possession but struggled to break down a well organised Southampton defence. Saints defended well individually and a collective unit. Joshua Onomah shot over from distance for the visitors. Coulthirst caused havoc in the area before having his shot blocked. Gazzaniga made a very good save from Connor Ogilvie on 65 as Spurs turned up the heat. Saints tightened up in midfield during the last 20 minutes and created a few chances on the break. The best fell to Sinclair, who fired over following an incisive break on 76. Dom Gape shot straight at the keeper from a free-kick. Both teams looked slightly tentative going forward at times. In the end a draw was probably a fair result.
Gazzaniga: Kicking a bit weak early on, but usually well positioned and a couple of decent saves
Mason: Better than his last outing. Steady defensive display
McCarthy: Fairly strong showing. A few good slide tackles
Wood: Played at centre-back in the first-half, before moving to left-back following Mugabi's introduction. Solid in both positions
Bertrand: Seniority shone through. Contributed well at both ends of the pitch.
Reed: Probably Saints' most impressive player, particularly in the first half. Some good claiming in midfield and a nice range of passing
Gape: Set piece delivery very good
Isgrove: Understandably a bit rusty. Great first touch, but didn't really trouble Tottenham's defence
Sinclair: A few clever moments, but frustrating on other occasions
Seager: Not quite as explosive as in previous matches, but did pick out a few good runs into the box still
Gallagher: Sharp in the first half, but not involved too much in the 2nd half with Spurs in the ascendancy. Best performance since his comeback from injury
Mugabi: Stood firm at the back. Made a number of good clearances
Sims: Briefly injected some pace into proceedings. Involved in a few good attacking moves
Hesketh: The usual clever footwork was on show
Saints: Gazzaniga, Mason, McCarthy, Wood, Bertrand (Mugabi 46), Reed, Gape, Isgrove (Sims 46), Sinclair, Seager, Gallagher (Hesketh 73)
Subs not used: Britt, Olomola
Tottenham: McGee, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie (McQueen 76), Ward, Khumalo, Carter-Vickers, Lameiras, Winks, Coulthirst (Akindayini 64), Onomah, Miller (McEneff 83)
Subs not used: Miles, Lesniak