Smallbone and Vokins score as Saints march on

By SFC Media time Sat 04 Jan Saints v Huddersfield
Photo by Matt Watson | Jake Vokins celebrates
Sat 04 Jan 3.01PM
English FA Cup
Huddersfield Town
Smallbone [47'] Vokins [87']
Long (42')
yellow card
Referee: Tim Robinson | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 20,091

Southampton booked their place in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup, as teenagers Will Smallbone and Jake Vokins each scored on their full debuts to earn them a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town, at St Mary’s.

Smallbone struck early in the second half, sending a crisp, left-footed strike into the bottom corner from 12 yards, before fellow 19-year-old Vokins netted a stunning late goal to get Saints’ campaign in the competition off to an ideal start.

As well as booking a place in the last 32, the result also capped an incredible festive run for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men, extending the team’s unbeaten run to five matches across all competitions, with four of those games resulting in victory.

Hasenhüttl made ten changes from the side that beat Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s Day for this game, with James Ward-Prowse, who captained the team, the sole survivor.

Angus Gunn replaced Alex McCarthy in goal, with a back four of Kevin Danso, Jannik Vestergaard, Maya Yoshida and Vokins, who was making his first start for the club.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Kevin Danso of Southampton during the FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton FC and Huddersfield Town at St. Mary's Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Getty Images)
Kevin Danso back in action for Southampton (Photo: Matt Watson)

Fellow 19-year-old Smallbone was also handed his debut in midfield, where Oriol Romeu returned, with Sofiane Boufal, Shane Long and Ché Adams ahead of them.

Hasenhüttl kept a strong bench in reserve, which included top scorer Danny Ings, while young keeper Harry Lewis and midfielder Callum Slattery also joined the substitutes.

Unsurprisingly, it was Saints who were in command of the ball in the early stages against their Championship opponents, who themselves made four changes to the team that had lost 5-2 at home to Stoke last time out.

Still, opportunities were hard to come by, although the hosts did have a good shout for a penalty waved away in the 15th minute, as Vestergaard went down in the area after Christopher Schindler tugged his shirt back as he looked to attack an in-swinging Ward-Prowse free-kick, but referee Tim Robinson waved his appeal away.

Outside of that, though, there was little incident to speak of, and it took until the 27th minute before the first shot of the afternoon arrived, as Ward-Prowse produced a brilliant burst down the left and slid a ball inside the corner of the area for Adams, who hit a low, left-footed shot under pressure that was held by Huddersfield keeper Joel Coleman.

Shortly after, the visitors also mustered their opening effort of the game, as Fraizer Campbell found space 18 yards out, only to slice a shot that flew just high and wide.

By now, there were at least signs of things opening up, and Saints worked another decent opportunity on 33 minutes. It came from Long pressuring Coleman into a poor clearance, which he fired straight at Ward-Prowse. The Saints captain hit a first-time pass to Adams, who flicked the ball towards the area, into the path of Smallbone. His clever feet opened up space 18 yards out, but he got his left-footed shot wrong and hit it well off target.

Danso then had a good chance to break the deadlock six minutes from half-time, as he stormed in to meet Ward-Prowse’s out-swinging corner, but his thumping header rose a few yards over.

20200104 Southampton v Huddersfield Town FA Cup
Shane Long converts, only to have the goal denied after a VAR review (Photo: Matt Watson)

Nonetheless, there were signs of encouragement for Saints as half-time approached, and, indeed, in the 45th minute it looked as though they had finally taken the lead.

Vestergaard’s smart through-pass from defence found Smallbone 25 yards out, and he played a first-time flick that put Long through on goal, with the forward finishing coolly past Coleman. However, a VAR review then determined that Long’s right foot was ever so slightly offside.

There was still then time for Boufal to have a penalty appeal turned down after going to ground under a Jonathan Hogg challenge, and Huddersfield also had a glorious chance to open the scoring moments before the interval, as a low ball across the area somehow went through a crowd of players and found Juninho Bacuna all alone just inside the box, but his low shot was too close to Gunn, who saved.

20200104 Southampton v Huddersfield Town FA Cup
Will Smallbone celebrates firing Saints ahead (Photo: Chris Moorhouse)

There was not long to wait after half-time, though, for the opener, as Smallbone capped a dream debut.

Danso beat Bacuna down the right and delivered a high cross to the back post, where Long nodded it back into space, and, as the ball bounced to him 12 yards out, Smallbone unleashed a peach of a left-footed shot that flew into the bottom corner to put Saints 1-0 up.

The breakthrough certainly did not mean the tie was over, though, and the visitors probably should have equalised on 56 minutes, as Bacuna’s free-kick was met only a few yards out by Schindler’s out-stretched right leg, only for the Terriers captain to divert the ball wide of the post.

Saints’ first change came with 20 minutes left on the clock, with Smallbone receiving a standing ovation from the crowd as he was replaced by Stuart Armstrong, and a second followed soon after as Cédric was sent on in place of Danso.

The final substitution then came on 78 minutes, with Michael Obafemi replacing Boufal.

The afternoon was then capped off in fine style when, on 87 minutes, the ball was worked to Vokins, who drove forward towards the edge of the area and hit a wonderful strike towards the far top corner, with the ball beating Coleman and flying in off the underside of the bar, as Saints marched into Monday night's fourth-round draw.


Head to Head Stats

Huddersfield Town
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Angus Gunn (GK)
Kevin Danso
replace Cédric Soares (75′)
Jake Vokins goal
Jannik Vestergaard
Maya Yoshida
James Ward-Prowse (C)
Sofiane Boufal
replace Michael Obafemi (78′)
William Smallbone goal
replace Stuart Armstrong (71′)
Oriol Romeu
Shane Long yellow card
Che Adams
Callum Slattery
Jack Stephens
Danny Ings
Michael Obafemi
Stuart Armstrong
Harry Lewis
Cédric Soares

Huddersfield Town

Joel Coleman (GK)
Christopher Schindler (C)
Jon Gorenc Stankovic
Danny Simpson
Jaden Brown
Juninho Bacuna
replace Karlan Grant (66′)
Trevoh Chalobah
Jonathan Hogg
Lewis O'Brien
replace Josh Koroma (83′)
Florent Hadergjonaj
Fraizer Campbell
replace Steve Mounie (61′)
Kian Harratt
Ryan Schofield
Matty Daly
Steve Mounie
Karlan Grant
Josh Koroma
Scott High
Smallbone thankful for opportunity
Saints v Huddersfield

Smallbone thankful for opportunity

Youngster delighted to have made his Saints debut.

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