MICHAEL Obafemi stepped up his return from injury with a 45-minute run-out for Saints B.

Obafemi had not played any football since December, having undergone surgery on a leg muscle injury at the start of 2021.

The striker had been expected to miss the remainder of the season, but he has battled back to fitness and has been training with the first team for the past two weeks.

And the Republic of Ireland international got 45 minutes under his belt for Dave Horseman's B team on Sunday, but could not prevent the hosts suffering a 5-0 thrashing by Everton at St Mary's.

Obafemi was part of a strong Saints line-up, with fellow first-teamers Nathan Tella and Dan N'Lundulu also starting, as did Harry Lewis, Alex Jankewitz and Will Ferry.

Saints fell behind in just the second minute, with Nathan Broadhead firing home.

David Unsworth's men doubled their tally as Charlie Whitaker broke beyond the defence and lifted a shot past Lewis.

Saints were dominating possession and went close to pulling a goal back through Obafemi and Jankewitz, before they were reduced to 10 men when Allan Tchaptchet was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Everton made it 3-0 before half-time through Stanley Mills.

And two more late goals followed, with both substitutes Sean McAllister and Thomas Cannon on target.

Saints B round off the season with a trip to Everton on Friday.

Saints: Lewis, Olufunwa, Ferry, Otseh-Taiwo, Tchaptchet, Jankewitz, Olaigbe (Mitchell, 75), Tella, Burnett, Obafemi (Morris, h-t), N'Lundulu.

Unused subs: Bellis, Smith, Bycroft (g/k).