Saints were missing a number of established first team players for today's Ted Bates Trophy match against Anderlecht.

Antti Niemi was the major absentee with personal reasons cited for the surprise omission. Paul Smith deputised. Dennis Wise has a tight hamstring and was left out as a precaution.

Nigel Quashie was still sidelined by the thigh strain he picked up at Eastleigh. He is now back running but not yet in full training.

Marian Pahars was ruled out by a bruised heel picked up at Yeovil in midweek. A scan has shown no major damage however.

Yoann Folly has a painful left hip following the game at Yeovil. A scan has shown no major problems but he is uncomfortable running.

New signing Tomasz Hajto made his first appearance at the Friends Provident St Mary's Stadium but Ricardo Fuller was not eligible because he does not yet have a work permit.

Kenwyne Jones partnered Brett Ormerod in attack while Chris Baird and Darren Kenton made rare starts. Promising youngsters Theo Walcott, Andrew Surman, Kyle Critchell and Nathan Dyer were all on the bench.

Saints: Smith, Baird (Walcott 45), Lundekvam, Hajto, Higginbotham, Kenton (Powell 25), Prutton, Oakley (c), Delap (Surman 85), Jones, Ormerod (Dyer 85). Subs: Blayney, Critchell.
Anderlecht: Proto, Zewlakow (Zane 66), Lovre (Gerk 66), Hasi, Gregoire (Mitu 73), Delorge, Ehret, Deman, Traore, Legear (Siani 80), Dabizas (Tiote 66). Subs: Peersman.

Saints lined up with three at the back again. Lundekvam was sweeper between Hajto and Kenton with Baird and Higginbotham as wing-backs.

And Saints almost took the lead on two minutes when Higginbotham swung over a terrific cross and Jones flashed a flying header just over.

Saints went behind on five minutes when Delap kicked Legear's legs from under him as he prepared to shoot in the box. Referee Barry Knight pointed instantly to the spot and ZEWLAKOW tucked a powerful shot into the bottom right corner. Smith dived to his left and got a strong hand to it but could not quite keep it out.

Saints had a good chance to level on 15 minutes when Kenton played in Delap in front of goal but goalkeeper Proto was off his line in a flash to block the shot at close range.

Oakley miscued a 20-yard shot then trialist Nikos Dabizas sent a diving header over from beyond the far post following a right-wing free-kick. The former Newcastle player is a free agent who has been with Anderlecht for a week and this is his final trial game.

Higginbotham unleashed a powerful 25-yard rising shot which flew over the bar on 21 minutes. The visitors were looking bright and lively and won a succession of corners to put Smith under pressure.

Saints were forced to make a switch on 25 minutes. Kenton had been clattered earlier and made way for Powell.

Saints levelled on 29 minutes as Kenwyne JONES got his first senior goal with a delicate flick over the keeper on the run following a good long ball by Higginbotham through the inside left channel. The Trinidad and Tobago star let it bounce but then lifted over debutant Proto from a narrow angle.

Hasi was booked for a foul on the edge of the area. Higginbotham smacked the free-kick low through the wall but Proto reacted well to save. The ball looped up and Delap charged in and barged into the keeper leading to a brief but tame flare-up in a crowded goalmouth.

Saints took the lead on 37 minutes when Dabizas tried to head back to his keeper from a Hajto long ball. It fell slightly short and the lively JONES was in like a flash and just got a touch to nick it away from Proto before running past him to slot into an empty net.

Saints were looking sharp in attack and Jones found Baird whose low cross was miscued by Ormerod on the run.

But the visitors levelled two minutes bfore the break when LOVRE let fly on the run 25 yards out and the drive took a wicked deflection off Lundekvam to leave Smith wrongfooted.

Half-time: Saints 2 Anderlecht 2

Saints made a switch at the start of the second half with Baird being replaced by 16-year-old Walcott whose first senior home start was greeted by a huge cheer.

And the fans were soon chanting his name as he made a driving run at pace from the halfway line to the edge of the area before being robbed.

Saints regained the lead on 50 minutes when Oakley played a superb diagonal ball over the top of the defence for Prutton darting round the back down the right flank. He raced in on goal but unselfishly cut back for JONES to complete his hat-trick, slotting home from 14 yards.

Anderlecht still threatened and Lovre put a header just over before Saints broke swiftly as the chaotically cleared a corner. Ormerod sprinted away from Legear and then slid a pass through for Walcott to his right but the young striker drilled low and wide from 20 yards.

The Belgian national keeper, bought last week for £600,000 from La Louviere, raced wildly out of the side of his area to meet Ormerod on a run clear down the right. The striker went down but nothing was given.

Delap was booked for a foul after 66 minutes as Anderlecht made a triple switch sending on Tiote, Gerk and Zane for Dabizas,Lovre and Zewlakow.

Mitu replaced Gregoire on 73 minutes and Traore headed over as the visitors pressed for an equaliser. Siani came on for  Legear with 10 minutes remaining.

Jones hammered high over on th volley from 20 yards before Dyer and Surman came on for Ormerod and Delap for the last five minutes.

Walcott sprinted at goal but was edged away from the ball by the wily Deman who managed to avoid conceding a free-kick to the fury of the youngster.

Walcott then bamboozled Tiote to cut along the goal-line but Proto dived at the feet of Surman as Saints finished strongly to retain the Ted Bates Trophy which was presented to Matthew Oakley by club president John Mortimore.

Full-time: Saints 3 Anderlecht 2