Southampton Under-18s started their Barclays Under-18 Premier League play-off campaign with a 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
Dan N’Lundulu’s first goal of the campaign gave Craig Fleming’s side an early lead, but an own-goal from Ollie Gardner and Liam Edwards’ composed strike put the Swans ahead.
Saints responded after the break and equalised through Connor Langan, as the left-back’s looping cross dipped inside the far corner to earn a point for the hosts.
Fleming named two Under-16s in his starting line-up as Harry Hamblin and Gardner both started, while Ben Rowthorn captained the side in the absence of Olufela Olomola.
Fleming’s youngsters made the perfect start to proceedings as they took the lead with just four minutes on the clock. A cross from Tyreke Johnson found Carel Kayembe and after he had hit the post, N’Lundulu was on hand to tap home.
But the visitors responded instantly as a cross from Keiran Evans was inadvertently turned into his own net by young defender Gardner.
N’Lundulu, making just his eighth appearance of the campaign following a long spell out through injury, almost grabbed his second of the afternoon soon after, but his curling effort drifted just wide of the far post.
A young Saints side was finding it difficult to quell the Swansea attack and just before the half-way point of the opening 45 minutes, the visitors took the lead.
A low cross into the box was only cleared as far as Edwards, who showed composure in the penalty area to pass the ball into the far corner of the net.
The visitors almost added a third just before half time, but Lewis was out quickly to deny Garrick after he had dispossessed Ben Cull.
Saints looked for a response at the start of the second half, but it was Swansea who almost grabbed the fourth goal of the game. A corner from the left came all the way through to defender Dan Jefferies, but his shot cannoned back off the crossbar.
A corner at the other end then caused problems soon after, as Gardner, N’Lundulu and then Hamblin were all denied by Swansea goalkeeper Lewis Thomas.
Going so close to an equaliser seemed to lift Saints and moments later Fleming’s side were level. Langan’s cross from the left looped over Thomas and into the far corner of the net for his second of the season.
N’Lundulu was making his presence felt in the lead striking role and he almost put Saints ahead again with just under 15 minutes left. The striker collected Yan Valery’s pass and turned neatly in the area, but his curling effort went just wide of the far post.
And Saints almost won it late on, as Rowthorn was found unmarked at the back post but couldn’t find the net as the game finished all-square.
Southampton Under-18s: Harry Lewis, Yan Valery, Ollie Gardner, Ben Cull, Connor Langan, Ben Rowthorn (c), Harry Hamblin, Carel Kayembe (Javen Siu 88), Siph Mdlalose, Tyreke Johnson (Harlem Hale 48), Dan N’Lundulu.
Unused substitutes: Neal Osborn (GK), Will Smallbone, Dan Bartlett.
Goals: N’Lundulu (4), Langan (68)
Swansea City Under-18s: Lewis Thomas (c), Mael Davies, Ben Cabango, Dan Jefferies, Aaron Lewis, Jack Evans, Jack Watts, Kieran Evans (Brandon Griffiths 75), Liam Cullen, Liam Edwards (Marco Dulca 55), Jordan Garrick.
Unused substitutes: Alex Lang (GK), Sean Hanbury
Goals: Gardner OG (12), Edwards (23)