Play-offs looking a tall order
Exeter 1, Saints 1
Barnard’s run as a first team starter came to an end at Exeter, with N’Diaye rewarded for what might well have been a match winning performance last time out.
Other players who made the team included the latest new signing Jason Puncheon, and Joseph Mills who continues to keep Harding out of the side. That’s presumably because we still lack someone who can be relied upon to deliver decent crosses, and they remained in short supply in an untidy game. It was the sort of clash on a difficult surface that was likely to be won by a single goal, so hopes were high when Lallana did well to manufacture and convert a shooting opportunity from a far from promising position.
Just as at Brentford, Saints turned round a goal ahead and looking comfortable, but they were given a far from easy ride after Taylor proved bigger and stronger than Saints’ defenders as he went up to head home a corner soon after the break.
Mr. Pardew rang the changes from the bench, with Ostemobor enjoying a few minutes in midfield before he too was forced to make way. None of this seemed to have much effect and it was easy to see how Leeds had succumbed to a spirited Exeter team. Saints might also have become victims when Cozic shot against the post in an eventful period of added time that could also have resulted in a Southampton penalty after a home defender produced a basketball-style dribble in his own area.
So a big week for Saints started badly, as many fans began to write off play-off hopes – we may not have deserved to win any of the last three away league games, but maximum points have been there for the taking on each occasion.
LSSC Man of the Match: Dan Seaborne, who must have gone through four shirt changes after suffering an early blood-bin injury. Apologies to the Chippenham Saints fans on the train back who voted for Fonte, but having seen the replays, I think he could have done more to stop the equaliser. As seasoned LSSC travellers know, this is only a democracy when you all agree with me.
Alan Pardew: “The pitch and conditions were really tough. You’d like to think we could have shown a bit more quality on it but I couldn’t fault the players’ endeavour and commitment.
“We’ve got good players here and I expected a little bit better than I got in terms of quality.”
23 James (Thomas 80)
40 Otsemobor (Barnard 88)
09 Papa Waigo (Antonio 63)