Teenager Dominic Ballard earned the admiration of Southampton boss Ralph Hasenfutl after scoring in a 3-0 win over Cambridge in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Ballard (17) came on with 15 minutes remaining and made the most of the chance by scoring in the 88th minute.

Academy graduate Ballard saw his first attempt successfully saved by Will Mannion with his right foot, but in an impressive follow-up he shot a rifle into the roof of the net and filled the south stands at Abbey Stadium. It sparked a rousing celebration from 1,451 Saints supporters.

‘He’s one of us’ has already been balladed on the pitch, with his strikes including Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gareth Bale and current skipper James. Behind an illustrious list, he became just the fifth young goalscorer in the club’s history: Ward Prowse.

Hasenhuttl says:

“It’s always great to see how much the young players enjoy playing with you and scoring goals for you.

“I could immediately feel how much it meant to him and he wanted to score this goal, so this is good. So this is a good thing.

Saints manager Hasenfutl has generated a lot of buzz over the past 12 months and has appeared keen to ease hopes for the forward, who signed his first professional contract with a Premier League outfit in April.

Ballard wasn’t the only Southampton academy graduate to make his debut against Cambridge. Luis Payne made his first-team debut and was impressive at right-back as he assisted Che Adams’ opening goal.

“It was a good game for him,” Hasenfutl said of the 18-year-old.

“Finding the right player in the box was a great first assist and he had some good runs outside.

“What I really liked was that he put his head up to see what the right path was. But it’s always good to be out there and playing for young players for a long time, and that’s great.”

Hasenhuttl enjoyed not only the performance of the young Southampton duo, but also the cheese board prepared for him by Cambridge, which included Brie, Stilton and Cheddar.

United’s head coach Mark Bonner said:

“What he said is he loved the stadium, the atmosphere, the friendliness of the environment and he really enjoyed the game. It’s all good to say when you win, but he really meant it.” I think I did.”

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