Southampton’s Under-23 side came out on top in a seven-goal thriller with a 4-3 win over their counterparts from AFC Bournemouth at Staplewood Campus on Thursday night.
Following on from their narrow 1-0 win over Fulham last Saturday, Saints took an early lead in this game with a strike from Sam Gallagher who was leading the line for the evening.
A flux of goals straight after the restart eventually put the home side in control, with the Cherries’ quickfire equaliser long forgotten by the time Marcus Barnes and Olufela Olomola each contributed goals inside the opening ten minutes of the second half.
But, late strikes from Surridge, who added to his tally for the night with a penalty, and a thumping free-kick from Ben Whitfield made it a nervous end to the match for the hosts.
Martin Hunter made seven changes to the starting eleven from the Fulham victory with Harry Lewis, Jack Stephens and Sam Gallagher among those returning to the squad after being away with the first team during the early weeks of pre-season.
They took the lead as early as the fifth minute with Olomola’s running creating the opportunity down the right, and Gallagher was on hand to sweep home as Barnes also tried to make sure on the goal line for the opening goal of the game.
Saints pushed for a second with Barnes twice going close, as first, he saw a cross from Yan Valery saved, before the striker then took matters into his own hands when he seized a on a loose pass from the visitors to curl a strike wide.
On 37 minutes Gallagher perhaps ought to have scored again when Olomola’s pressure won the ball just inside the area, but the first goalscorer saw his shot one-on-one saved by the Bournemouth ‘keeper.
Barnes was also denied by Stanton in the Cherries goal, while in the closing stages of the half, to leave Saints with a 1-0 lead at the break.
The second 45 began with goals galore as four strikes were scored inside the opening ten minutes of the half. This included the Cherries finding a quick leveller through striker Sam Surridge, who kept his composure to beat Harry Lewis from a one-on-one position.
Saints hit back however, with three goals in quick succession. They regained their lead less than a minute after the equaliser when Marcus Barnes collected the ball and drove into the area on the right side, where he smashed the ball home inside the near post.
Barnes turned provider with a low cross for Olomola to fire in at the far post on 51 minutes, and, soon after, the fourth Saints goal arrived when Olomola’s low cross was cleared only as far as Barnes, who arrowed in the rebound from inside the area for 4-1.
The scoring wasn’t done there though, with the Cherries pulling another one back inside the final quarter of an hour from the penalty spot, after Yan Valery tripped O’Connell inside the area.
Surridge stepped up to send Lewis the wrong way for 4-2 to set up a tense ending to the game.
And, it became a grandstand finish when the Cherries found another with seven minutes remaining when Whitfield hammered in a free-kick from the edge of the area to reduce the deficit in the closing stages.
But, Saints held firm to take the win at the end of an entertaining six-goal half of football.
Southampton U23s: Harry Lewis; Yan Valery (Richard Bakary 80), Jack Stephens, Alfie Jones. Jordan Turnbull; Dominic Gape, Jake Hesketh; Olufela Olomola (Thomas O’Connor 66), Lloyd Isgrove (Josh Sims 66), Marcus Barnes (Harley Willard 80); Sam Gallagher
Unused substitutes: Neal Osborn (GK), Ollie Cook, Ben Rowthorn, Will Wood
Goals: Gallagher (5), Barnes (48) & (54), Olomola (51)
AFC Bournemouth U23s: C. Stanton, J. Lee, O. Harfield, J. McCarthy, S. Hobson, C. Buckley, S. Matthews (M. Ndjoli 61), M. Worthington, S. Surridge, B. Whitfield, K. O’Connell
Unused substitutes: M. Travers, R. Glover, S. Sherring, T. Cordner, A. Diaz, N. Omofor
Goals: Surridge (47) & pen (76), Whitfield (83)
Referee: Adrian Quelch