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12/01/2015: Fulham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s

southampton fulham u21 bevis mugabi

Saints U21s moved to the top of the table with a 2-1 win over Fulham. Martin Hunter's side put on an attacking clinic in the first half, but were hanging on slightly by the end of the game.

The end result was soured somewhat by the early injury to Saints keeper Cody Cropper. The American collided with a Fulham attacker, and was down receiving treatment for nearly 10 minutes before being carried off wearing an oxygen mask. Fulham's Dean O'Halloran suffered a bad ankle injury later in the half.

Saints restarted the game in fast and furious fashion. The visitors played at an incredibly high tempo. Sam McQueen, Jake Hesketh and Josh Sims looked particularly dangerous in the final third. The first goal came from an unlikely source. Bevis Mugabi latched on to Jason McCarthy's knock down before firing low into the corner. McCarthy netted the 2nd a few minutes later, hooking the ball home for Gape's corner. Saints carved Fulham open on a number of occasions during the first half and could have been out of sight before the interval. McQueen had a decent effort blocked. Martin Hunter's men also came close from a couple of corners. Saints looked slightly suspect at the back throughout, however. Fulham more than played their part in what was an end-to-end first 45. Ange-Freddy Plumain got beyond Josh Debayo down the right flank before shooting across Will Britt for 1-2.

With a heavy first team program coming up Jack Cork was replaced by Harley Willard at the break. Willard lined up on the right, with McQueen occupying the space on the centre. Hesketh dropped deeper to fill the role vacated by Cork. Saints sat off Fulham during the 2nd half. The high tempo approach adopted by Hunter's side inevitably took its toll, with Saints tiring more and more as the game went on. Fortunately Fulham were wasteful in attack. Alexander Kacaniklic fired over inside the area and Plumain played a dangerous ball across goal. Saints occasionally threatened on the counter, with Seager and McQueen testing Marek Rodak. Defensively the visitors were fairly well set up and deservedly held on for the three points.

Many of the Saints players on show at Motspur Park have spent time training with the first team in recent months, and it showed in the way they played. Saints were devastating going forward in the first half. They had to dig deep in the second, but overall it was still a great performance. On the same evening Jack Stephens and Jordan Turnbull -- on loan at Swindon -- helped the Robins climb to the top of League One, with a comprehensive 3-0 win at Coventry.

Player Comments

Cropper: Off with a nasty injury in the opening minutes of the game

Flannigan: Provided a few good crosses. Stood strong at the back

Mugabi: Some intelligent defensive work to go with the goal

McCarthy: Some confident runs out from the back

Debayo: A few minor defensive errors. Improved 2nd half, making some good forward runs

Cork: A decent range of passing. Came off at half-time as planned

Gape: Started a number of counters, spreading the ball forward quickly. Set pieces excellent too

McQueen: Involved in quite a few goal-scoring opportunities, and some good link-up play

Hesketh: Looked very sharp, some great one touch play to go with the impressive tricks. Had to be strong in the tackle in the 2nd half with Fulham on the front-foot

Sims: Best performance at this level. Caused Fulham plenty of problems with his probing runs

Seager: Some good pressing

Substitutes

Britt: Poorly positioned for the first goal. Looked hesitant early on, but more assured later on, making some good claims

Willard: Some great skill down the right flank

Match Details

Fulham - Plumain (21)

Saints - Mugabi (12) McCarthy (15)

Attendance - 120

Referee: Mr. L Wood

Line-ups

Fulham: Rodak, Baba, Evans, Sambou, Buatu, Passley, Eisefeld, O'Halloran (Richards 40), Plumain, David, Kacaniklc (Tue Na Bangna 60)

Subs not used: Norman, Adeniran, Buffonge

Saints: Cropper (Britt 9), Flannigan, Mugabi, McCarthy, Debayo, Cork (Willard 46), Gape, McQueen, Hesketh, Sims, Seager

Subs not used: Mason, Little, Barnes

Previous Match Reports

11/01/2015: Man United 0-1 Saints
04/01/2015: Saints 1-1 Ipswich
01/01/2015: Saints 2-0 Arsenal
28/12/2014: Saints 1-1 Chelsea
26/12/2014: Crystal Palace 1-3 Saints
20/12/2014: Saints 3-0 Everton
16/12/2014: Sheffield United 1-0 Saints
13/12/2014: Burnley 1-0 Saints
09/12/2014: Saints U18s 2-1 West Ham
08/12/2014: Saints 1-2 Man United
03/12/2014: Arsenal 1-0 Saints
01/12/2014: Saints U21s 1-0 Man United U21s
30/11/2014: Saints 0-3 Man City
24/11/2014: Aston Villa 1-1 Saints
08/11/2014: Saints 2-0 Leicester
01/11/2014: Hull 0-1 Saints
29/10/2014: Stoke 2-3 Saints
25/10/2014: Saints 1-0 Stoke
18/10/2014: Saints 8-0 Sunderland
05/10/2014: Tottenham 1-0 Saints
29/09/2014: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
27/09/2014: Saints 2-1 QPR
23/09/2014: Arsenal 1-2 Saints
20/09/2014: Swansea 0-1 Saints
13/09/2014: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
12/09/2014: Tottenham U21s 3-2 Saints U21s
30/08/2014: West Ham 1-3 Saints
26/08/2014: Millwall 0-2 Saints
23/08/2014: Saints 0-0 West Brom
22/08/2014: West Ham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
17/08/2014: Liverpool 2-1 Saints
09/08/2014: Saints 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
31/07/2014: Brighton 1-3 Saints
25/07/2014: Bournemouth 0-1 Saints
21/07/2014: Swindon 0-1 Saints