Saints Under-18s suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Wolves on a tough Saturday afternoon.
After neither side being able to create opportunities for lengthy spells in the encounter at the winners’ training ground, Regan Carthy was handed the perfect chance in the 40th minute to open the scoring from inside the six-yard box after Southampton lost the ball deep in defence.
The forward doubled his and Wolves’ tally immediately after half-time when decent footwork brought him into space through the heart of Saints’ defence, allowing him to calmly roll the ball past ‘keeper Aleksander Gogic.
Saints pushed to close the deficit with plenty of adventuring forward but lacked a cutting edge to find the net when opportunities arose.
Amidst a highly uneventful opening half-hour, Marcus Barnes dragged yards wide in space before Chris Regis later stretched to meet a looping pass into the box with an effort sliced high and wide.
The former felt he should have been awarded a penalty when in an aerial battle with Ben O’Hanlon to meet a long ball.
Barnes leapt up to nod the ball down from just inside the box and saw his lower body crashed into by the defender but with no response from the referee.
Deasy marauded down the right wing throughout the half and his fizzing cross in the 31st minute was turned – fortunately for Wolves – straight at ‘keeper Harry Burgoyne by the sliding Ashley Carter.
In a half where Wolves barely had any joy in Saints’ final third, the hosts were gifted the lead with five minutes remaining.
Southampton carelessly surrendered possession in their own box, allowing Dan Murray to flash across the face of goal for CARTHY to tuck in into a gaping net from close-range.
The visitors responded as the break approached, Dan Demkiv charging forward and playing it up to Barnes who swiftly helped it towards Regis, allowing the lone frontman to elect to shoot and drag wide from 20 yards as opposed to laying the ball across to the well-positioned George Mells.
Demkiv came agonisingly close to punishing a short pass back to Burgoyne by racing the ‘keeper to the loose ball and seeing it blasted against him and ricocheting slowly towards goal before Wolves cleared.
HALF-TIME: WOLVES U18s 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON U18s
Saints began after the restart in the worst possible manner when they conceded inside the first minute after the whistle.
CARTHY came back to haunt them again when he latched onto a long ball to take it away from centre-back pairing Josh Debayo and Alfie Jones before bursting into the box and side-footing underneath Gogic and into the net.
Wolves continued to push forward in numbers; Ryan Rainey charged through the centre of midfield with options either side of him but chose to shoot, scooping the ball high over the bar as he crashed to the ground.
Southampton attempted to alter the complexion of the clash with a trio of substitutions as Charlie Higgins, Callum Slattery and Joe Lea raced on.
With just over ten minutes remaining, a Will Wood cross drew no contact from the onrushing Barnes as he swung to volley in at the near post but missed the ball completely.
Saints continued to press in the dying stages but with no chances or reward as Wolves held onto their two-nil lead.
FULL-TIME: WOLVES U18s 2-0 SOUTHAMPTON U18s
Wolves U18s: Harry Burgoyne, Ben Priest, Ben O’Hanlon, Declan Weeks (c), Aaron Hayden, Ashley Carter, Ryan Rainey, Dan Murray, Regan Upton (Bradley Lindsey 85), Regan Carthy, Tendai Matinyadze. Unused susbstitutes: Reece Bills, Niall Ennis, Ryan Heek, Joe Delecoe.
Southampton U18s: Aleksander Gogic, Colm Deasy, Alfie Jones, Josh Debayo, Will Wood, Niall Mason, Armani Little, Marcus Barnes, Dan Demkiv (Joe Lea 65), George Mells (Charlie Higgins 65), Chris Regis (Callum Slattery 65).