Jason Dodd’s side raced into a three goal half time lead, and went four up on their opponents before the visitors hit back three times in a fifteen minute spell which made for a nervier than anticipated ending for the league leaders.
The hosts got off to a perfect start, taking the lead with just three minutes on the watch when Jake Flannigan fed Omar ROWE into the final third and the winger cut in from the right to find the back of the net for an early breakthrough.
Rowe had another chance before Saints made it 2-0 on 27 minutes when the first goal scorer combined with and Dominic Gape from a set play to set up Ryan SEAGER for a tap in, although both he and Josh Sims were vying for the strike as they went for the ball.
The third Saints goal arrived five minutes before the break when Sims and Seager combined for HIGGINS to maintain his recent good form in front of goal with a finish into the bottom corner for a comfortable half time advantage.
For a successive game Rowe was Saints’ most impressive threat and he was rewarded with a second goal nine minutes into the new half as the hosts looked to be making light work of their opponents.
Uncharacteristically Dodd’s side let their standards drop, and between the 55th and 70th minute, they conceded three times which turned a cruising display into a rockier ending, which frustrated the 18s coach.
“The performance hasn’t matched the result I don’t think,” Dodd said in light of the second half display.
“It’s not always about the win at this level and we didn’t meet the standards that we set which left us hanging in there a bit towards the end.
“I was pleased with Omar Rowe who can be happy with his two goals and Charlie (Higgins) as well, as we’ve challenged the midfielders to add goals to their games.
“We’ve got the mentality of a top side that gets results even when they don’t perform well, but we needed to manage the game better today.”
Saints U18s: Britt, Flannigan (Colmer 30), McCarthy, Chambers, Nehemie (Hesketh 75), Gape, Sims (Ariyibi 60), Higgins, Reed, Rowe, Seager.