Saints Under-18s were held to a 1-1 draw by Norwich City at Staplewood on Saturday morning.
George Mells brightened an uneventful encounter in composed fashion as he bypassed ‘keeper Ben Killip and slotted into an open net.
The lead lasted just 11 minutes after Canaries skipper Kevin Lokko rose to head in from a corner.
Southampton battled to re-establish their lead in vain with the better of the opportunities, goalscorer Mells and Chris Regis enjoying the best opportunities.
Norwich managed to hold on late into the match as a fine pair of stops from Killip thwarted Regis in his attempts to snatch victory in the 84th minute.
Amidst a beginning that was starved of action, Norwich’s Jake Simpson carved the first opportunity when he cut inside the box and rifled a shot that deflected into the side-netting.
MELLS was presented with a much more inviting opportunity in the 20th minute when league debutant Joe Lea split the defence for his fellow midfielder to charge through, round Killip and slot into an open net.
After failing to muster much of a threat in response, the visitors levelled through a corner shortly after the half-hour mark.
A corner was swung in and met by captain LOKKO, who rose high to nod past Chris Johns and into the far corner.
Chances were such a rarity throughout as Saints pushed to no avail and went into the break as arguably the better side narrowly.
HALF-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON U18s 1-1 NORWICH U18s
Six minutes after the restart, Lokko threatened to double his and Norwich’s tally with another header from a corner. On this occasion, despite being afforded ample space, the defender headed comfortably wide.
Lea looked to turn goalscorer after providing the opener when he raced into the box in an attempt to latch onto Regis’ through-ball. Killip beat the youngster to the ball and nudged it only as far as substitute Callum Slattery, whose swift follow-up was blocked well by the diving custodian near the edge of the box.
Several Norwich efforts ensued, Rhys Browne providing the first after outmuscling Josh Debayo in the right-hand side of the box to drill straight at Johns from an acute angle.
Harley Black drove a deflected shot from range into Johns’ grasp before Saints created more troubling pieces of play.
Mells charged into space as he looked for his second but his low attempt was tame and smothered before the goalscorer’s aiming was the issue a minute later as he met Regis’ cross with a volley that was side-footed wide.
In arguably Southampton’s finest chance of the half, Regis tried his own luck when running into the box before seeing two efforts prevented by a fine double save from Killip as the hosts had to settle for a solitary point.
FULL-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON U18s 1-1 NORWICH U18s
Southampton U18s: Chris Johns, Colm Deasy, Alfie Jones, Josh Debayo, Will Wood, Armani Little (Callum Slattery 51), Niall Mason (c), Joe Lea (Richard Bakary 59), Dan Demkiv (Stuart Wilkin 59), George Mells, Chris Regis. Unused substitutes: Neal Osborn, Charlie Gunson.
Norwich U18s: Ben Killip, Michee Efete, Christian Scales, Ben Burgess, Nathan Fox, Kevin Lokko (c), Jake Simpson (Harley Black 54), Henry Randall, Rhys Browne, Lewis Byrne-Hewitt (George Couzens 75), Olive Cole (Kofi Boateng 65). Unused substitutes: Aston Oxborough, George Couzens, Louis Ramsay.