Goals from Cole Palmer, James McAtee, Oscar Bobb and Samuel Edozie were enough to hand the young Blues the three points in the opening fixture of Group D in the Under-18 Premier League Cup.
Gareth Taylor’s youngsters started confidently at a rainy City Football Academy, knocking the ball around accurately on a slippy playing surface.
Skipper Palmer showed his attacking intent early on, attempting to lob Southampton goalkeeper Olly Wright from 30 yards out, but his ambitious effort sailed over.
Palmer was causing a nuisance to the Saints’ defence early on and he managed to open the scoring in the 14th minute, slotting the ball expertly beyond Wright after a defence-splitting through ball by McAtee.
The goal seemed to spark the visitors into life and wing-back Ryan Cluett came close to equalising in the 23rd minute, with his driven effort curling just wide of James Trafford’s post.
The young Blues continued to probe for a second and almost got it through the lively McAtee, who fired his effort just wide after great work between Edozie and Palmer.
The game was level just after the half hour mark, with Sam Bellis rounding Trafford and finishing off a swift counter attack led by Marco Rus.
The equaliser was totally against the run of play, but we continued to threaten and regained the lead in stoppage time of the first half through a sensational curling finish by McAtee.
It was the perfect way to end a dominant half and the young Blues emerged from the break with a spring in their step, looking to add to the lead. However, five minutes into the second half, Bellis almost netted his second for the visitors, but his effort looped just wide.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, we got the third goal in spectacular fashion. Winger Bobb picked the ball up on the right-flank and dribbled expertly past three Southampton defenders, before rounding goalkeeper Wright and tapping in from close range.
Edozie got in on the act with two minutes remaining, firing into the bottom right corner after a mazy run down the left wing. The goal capped off a fine display by Taylor’s youngsters.
What it means
We move to the top of Group D of the U18 Premier League Cup, with Liverpool level on points with us after defeating Swansea City.
How we lined up
James Trafford started in goal, with Sammy Robinson, Finley Burns, CJ Egan-Riley and Oscar Tarensi making up the back four. Lewis Fiorini, Kwaku Oduroh and James McAtee operated in midfield, whilst Oscar Bobb and Samuel Edozie provided the width for skipper Cole Palmer.
Our youngsters are back in U18 Premier League action against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday 5th October, with kick off scheduled for 12:00 BST at the City Football Academy.