FRASER Forster returned to action yesterday to help the Saints U23’s beat Fulham 2-1.

The goalkeeper hasn’t been seen in the first team since he was dropped in December 2017 but featured last night, which was his first competitive match of the season.

U23’s boss Radhi Jaidi hailed his youngsters following the result that keeps them top of the Premier League 2 table.

Jaidi told the Southampton FC website: "The reaction has been positive.

"We've had a long chat about what went wrong against Newcastle last week. It was corrected tonight.

"We agreed that we had to bounce back. The preparation was very good, and to be honest we ran the show.

"We didn't let any of Fulham's threats hurt us. We controlled the game, and it isn't just the win, it was the performance that was most pleasing.

"We worked very hard throughout, just ask our midfielders. The commitment to keep a good run in the league going was excellent.”

Will Smallbone broke the deadlock for Saints in the 38th minute with a goal-of-the-season contender when he fired in from long range.

Jaidi’s side then doubled their lead in the second half through Jonathan Afolabi.

Afolabi was picked out in the box by Will Ferry before lifting the ball over the Fulham goalkeeper, who had left his line.

Following his first half strike, Jaidi hailed Smallbone for the impact he is having on games.

"Will [Smallbone] is leading by example, he has quality and a lot of potential. The next step for him is to be involved more in the attacking third and to be fair to him, he did that tonight,” Jaidi added.

"Credit to him and the work he's been doing - hopefully you'll see more of that."