Braces from Jay Stansfield and Michael Olakigbe helped Fulham’s under 18s hit Southampton for six at the LSE this morning.
The Whites were in command from the outset, with Stansfield at the heart of most of their threatening moves, and strikes from skipper Idris Odutayo and Scottish forward Kieron Bowie as well as the ex-Exeter teenager gave the hosts a commanding 3-0 lead by half-time.
Odutayo almost headed Fulham in front inside the first minute but the defender’s effort was scrambled off the Southampton goalline. Steve Wigley’s side went ahead with their very next attack when Luke Harris rattled the crossbar from an Olakigbe corner and the left back supplied a simple finish from the rebound.
Fulham could quickly have extended their lead with Oliver Wright blocking a Harris shot after he had linked up well with Bowie and the lively Olakigbe flashed a drive wide shortly afterwards. Stansfield’s first sight of goal saw a speculative shot bravely blocked by Will Tanner but you felt it was a matter of time before the young Whites doubled their advantage.
Stansfield was the architect with a glorious cross that Bowie gleefully converted from six yards out. The England youth international then seized on a dreadful mistake from Wright to roll home a straightforward finish and Fulham could conceivably have gone in at half-time further in front had Imani Lanquedoc kept his strike on target from the edge of the box and when Harris stabbed wide at the back post.
Stansfield, whose comeback from ankle surgery is progressing impressively, laid on the fourth goal with another sumptuous delivery that Olakigbe lashed home gloriously on the volley. Barely a minute later, Stansfield added a fifth with an ice-cool right-footed finish before substitute Jaylan Wildbore spurned a couple of good openings within moments of coming on. Olakigbe completed the rout with a clinical finish with eight minutes remaining – making the most of a kind deflection to round off an excellent individual display.
FULHAM UNDER 18s: Borto; D’Auria-Henry (Tanton 68), Parkes, Williams, Odutayo; Caton (Okkas 62), Lanquedoc, Harris; Bowie, Olakigbe, Stansfield (Wildbore 68). Subs (not used): Araujo, Sanderson.
GOALS: Odutayo (2), Bowie (16), Stansfield (27, 62), Olakigbe (61, 82).
SOUTHAMPTON UNDER 18s: Wright; Tizzard, Payne, Davis, Carson; Wright, Edwards (Attridge 79), Finnigan (Ballard 71), Ross-Lang, Squires; Pearce (Dibling 63). Subs (not used): Reach, Hewlett.
REFEREE: Stuart Kyle.