Harding strike clinches it
Saints 1, Leeds 0
No panic changes after the poor showing at Tranmere, but there are signs that the chairman is getting restless as Saints have failed to gain much on the leading pack, despite January’s spending spree.
Well, you can’t win every game – as latest opponents Leeds United are finding out. The points they gained in the first half of the season may yet win them an automatic promotion place, but the manner of their defeat at St. Mary’s suggests that it won’t be the formality it seemed at Christmas.
Southampton were particularly good value in the first half, with Puncheon hitting the post before Lambert set up Harding for a simple tap in and the game’s deciding goal. Even Schneiderlin threatened to get on the scoreline, but somehow the ball eluded both him and Barnard after they had seemed to get it past goalkeeper Ankergren. We even had the ball in the net for a second time, but Jaidi’s effort was ruled out because of some pushing by Hammond elsewhere in the area.
The second half was less impressive from a home perspective, but for a team chasing both the game and promotion, the visitors were kept very quiet. I get the impression that no-one can have scored more late goals than Leeds this season, but there wasn’t the usual fear that something was bound to go wrong as the game entered six minutes of added time. That was because Saints had made important players like Snodgrass and Beckford seem very ordinary, while early substitute Thomas educated the ball boys in how the multi-ball system should be used when your team is ahead.
40 Otsemobor (Thomas 15)
17 Barnard (Papa Waigo 72)