Lallana brace gives Saints the points
Saints, Leyton Orient 1
Kevin Nugent may have had a bare total of 48 hours as Leyton Orient’s caretaker boss, but his team responded with the usual ‘new manager bounce.’ At least that’s the charitable explanation of a close run game at St. Mary’s: an inexplicable sub standard display from Southampton is the alternative, and I’m afraid it’s just as credible.
The home defence looked all at sea in the first minute when the ball didn’t quite fall for the visitors, but then they were sloppy again just 60 seconds later and Spicer couldn’t believe his luck as he scored the simplest of goals. That was just about it from the O’s as an attacking force in the first half, but they did produce a disciplined defensive performance that made Saints look very ordinary.
Barnard had the best chance when he headed wide after being set up by Lambert but Lallana made amends with a superb solo goal on 40 minutes. Expected substitutions were put on hold as a result of the goal and an earlier enforced replacement of Jaidi, and soon after the restart Lallana did much better than Barnard with a header, again from Lambert’s knock down, to put Saints ahead.
Surely this was the signal for the team to go on to a comfortable victory? It was anything but easy, though, as normally reliable players showed an alarming lack of control while Schneiderlin’s return was marked by a whole series of misplaced passes. In fact Davis was called upon to make some smart saves to preserve the three points, but in the end that last play-off place had crept just a little closer.
LSSC Man of the Match: Adam Lallana, and yes, that’s mainly for the goals.
06 Jaidi (Seaborne 5)
19 Schneiderlin (Wotton 74)
17 Barnard (Antonio 68)