Fulham U18s 5-1 Saints U18s
The youngsters were on the end of a heavy reverse on Saturday morning.
In recent seasons, Saints and Fulham have taken competitions at this level to the wire, with the Cottagers coming out on top, and they did so again at Motspur Park in the third game of the newly formed Elite group.
The visitors had themselves to blame for making the gap appear larger over the weekend, conceding three times in the second half, two of which came late on, to add to the disappointment.
After spurning two early chances with Gboly Ariyibi and Sam Gallagher failing to find the target, Saints conceded twice in quick succession past the half hour mark.
Jason Dodd’s side responded with a goal three minutes before the interval when Jason MCCARTHY headed home Tom Leggett’s cross to give Saints a platform to launch a comeback in the second period.
However, in the new half a catalogue of defensive errors cost the visitors despite having played the better football. They conceded a penalty in the 76th minute which Chris Johns could do nothing about, before the home side struck in the third and fifth minutes of stoppage time to rub salt into the wound.
The result leaves Saints without a win in their opening three matches of the Elite group, but Dodd isn’t writing his side’s chances off, having gone close with draws against both Chelsea and Reading in the opening fixtures.
“Today we were poor and didn’t show up, but it was never a 5-1 game,” Dodd said after the game.
“In the second half we had most of the play, but it wasn’t good enough. We conceded some shocking goals and we got nowhere near the standards that we have set this season.
“We’re good enough to compete, and it’s a shame because Chris Johns really didn’t have much to do despite having to pick the ball out of the net five times.
“Let’s not gloss over the fact that the scoreline is disappointing, but we found out a lot about the players today. When you’re winning games, it’s not as easy to tell, but when you’re scrapping, you learn about the character and resolve of the boys.”
Saints U18s: Johns, Leggett, Mugabi, McCarthy, Nehemie (Mason 67), Reed, Higgins (Debayo 67), Ariyibi, Flannigan, McQueen (Sims 80), Gallagher.