RALPH HASENHUTTL couldn’t hide his joy at seeing Saints academy youngster Dom Ballard score on his debut in Tuesday night’s 3-0 win at Cambridge United.

The Saints striker came off the bench with 15 minutes to go at Abbey Stadium and buried a rebound into the roof of the net after his initial effort was saved.

The 17-year-old has been in prolific form for the club’s under-18s and B team since signing his first professional deal in April.

That form was rewarded with a place on the bench in the EFL Cup second round at Cambridge and he did not disappoint - scoring his first senior goal 13 minutes after coming on. 

“Good goal, good celebration,” Hasenhuttl laughed.

“It’s always nice to see how much young lads enjoy playing for you and how much they enjoy scoring for you and how much it means to him. You could feel it immediately. 

“This is good because he wanted to score this goal. First, it wasn’t in and then the rebound was in the goal. It was good to see.”

Ballard replaced fellow academy graduate Lewis Payne in the second half with Saints 2-0 up, following Che Adams’ brace either side of half-time. 

The two goals made it four in Adams' last two matches after his match-winning double at Leicester City.

Saints are next in action on Saturday afternoon when they take on Manchester United in their fourth game of the Premier League season.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't take my word for it - subscribe here to see for yourself.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by joining our Facebook group - Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated Facebook group - Hampshire Court and Crime News