REPORT: Saints U21s 1-1 Norwich U21s

By SFC Media time Mon 24 Mar B Team

Saints’ Development Squad were held to a 1-1 draw by Norwich City at Staplewood on Monday afternoon.

Despite being the side who looked closer to snatching victory, Southampton initially fell behind, courtesy of a Josh Murphy free-kick from 30 yards.

The hosts responded well but were thwarted by a tight Canaries defence until Sam McQueen levelled the scoring with an unstoppable curler into the top corner in the 56th minute.

After Saints got themselves on equal standing with Norwich, they began pushing for the lead to no avail, McQueen rattling the post and Omar Rowe hitting the bar in the process.

The visitors’ early endeavour saw them expose Saints’ backline inside the first two minutes but waste a glorious opportunity.

Josh Murphy snuck in behind and flashed the ball across the face of goal to the onrushing Jacob Murphy who blazed over from close-range.

Canaries ‘keeper Remi Matthews had his opening test of the afternoon in the tenth minute when Sam Gallagher charged into the box and opened up for rifled effort straight at the custodian.

Unfortunately the opposite number-one, Cody Cropper’s first job was to retrieve the ball from inside his net after JOSH MURPHY swung in a 30-yard free-kick.

The palm of the American couldn’t keep Murphy’s set-piece at bay as it continued into the top corner of the net to send Norwich into a 17th-minute lead.

The goalscorer missed out on a swift brace two minutes later when he broke in behind Southampton’s rearguard again, only to see his side-footed effort turned away by Cropper.

Josh and Jacob Murphy combined again shortly before the half-hour mark when the former’s cross bounced just beyond the stretching Matt Young into his fellow winger’s path, only to see a resulting drive hit high and wide from the left-hand side of the box.

That prompted an immediate response from the hosts, who nearly forced an own goal when Gallagher’s low cross towards Jake Sinclair was scooped agonisingly over the bar by the retreating Ewan McNeil.

Ryan Seager tried his luck immediately after when a corner was cleared only as far as him, allowing a 25-yard follow-up that deflected narrowly wide.

The striker was even more unfortunate in his attempts to level the scoring with seven minutes remaining in the half as he controlled Sinclair’s nod, ghosted past a challenge into the box and blazed over.

Southampton were nearly made to rue not bringing themselves back on terms as half-time approached when Norwich broke with Josh Murphy searching for a brace. Fortunately, after bursting through the centre of midfield, the winger could only curl tamely straight at Cropper from distance.

HALF-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON U21s 0-1 NORWICH CITY U21s

An uneventful 11 minutes after the break was livened up in stunning fashion as MCQUEEN levelled matters with a fine strike.

The winger teed himself up in the box and swung a curling attempt beyond the outstretched arm of the helpless Matthews and into the top corner.

That proved to be the catalyst for a series of Saints efforts – one of which rattled the woodwork from a McQueen drive – as the match entered its final half an hour.

Seager was responsible for the first of three in quick succession as he raced forward and whipped an effort – destined for the far corner – that Matthews tipped around the post.

From the resulting corner, McQueen’s blast was diverted wide by the inside of the ‘keeper’s leg.

Matthews would have been powerless to prevent the forward three minutes later when McQueen received a pass 25 yards from goal, shifted the ball and slammed it against the outside of the far post.

Norwich were nearly victims of a Matthews error with just under quarter of an hour remaining when the number-one failed to smother an overhit pass, allowing Seager to pounce and side-foot a shot that ricocheted just past the post.

Saints came painfully close to enjoying a slice of fortune with six minutes left when substitute Rowe’s cross soared over Matthews and crashed off the top of the woodwork.

The Canaries were rapid in their response, Jacob Murphy drilling past Cropper but being prevented by a last-gasp clearance off the line by Matt Young as the score remained level until the end.

FULL-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON U21s 1-1 NORWICH CITY U21s

Southampton U21s: Cody Cropper (Chris Johns 92), Matt Young, Jason McCarthy, Jordan Turnbull (c), Matt Targett, Dominic Gape, Harrison Reed, Jake Sinclair (Omar Rowe 78), Sam McQueen, Ryan Seager, Sam Gallagher. Unused substitutes: Josh Debayo, Jake Flannigan, Jake Hesketh.

Norwich City U21s: Remi Matthews, Ewan McNeil (Rod Young 72), Harry Tofollo, Ray Grant, Kyle McFadden (c), Reiss Awuah, Jacob Murphy (Harvey Hodd 85), Cameron Norman, Carlton Morris, Reece Hall-Johnson, Josh Murphy. Unused substitutes: Ben Killip, Kevin Lokko.

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