Antonio double sets up win
Saints 3, Carlisle 2
Southampton’s publicity machine still had tickets to sell so nobody in charge admitted that play-off dreams had evaporated with the disappointment of a midweek goal-less draw.
One game too late, Saints coped with the loss of Schneiderlin with a starting XI against Carlisle that should have been on the pitch for at least part of the game with Oldham. It included all of Lambert, Puncheon, Antonio and N’Diaye, but they still found it difficult to create openings.
At last a goal arrived, after over two hours of unproductive effort at St. Mary’s, and it was right at the end of the opening half: Antonio lashed home a volley after the ball fell nicely for him. Saints were unable to enjoy their break as when the ball was immediately moved to the other end, Seaborne was penalised and free-kick specialist Harte scored with impressive ease.
A total of three goals in just about as many playing minutes was completed when Antonio gave Lambert enough space to beat Collins for pace with his shot just after the restart. Soon afterwards Antonio exposed the keeper’s reactions with another well struck shot, this time after good work by Lambert.
The potential for a hat trick against rather ordinary opponents was certainly there, but not after the winger was withdrawn in favour of McNish.
Other forwards, who included Barnard and Connolly, fared less well with several opportunities while comical defending at the other end kept the visitors interested. First Fonte made a complete mess of a 30 yard backpass that would have found the top corner had Davis not handled it (and then received a booking for denying Carlisle a quick free kick). When it was eventually taken, the resulting attempt on goal from point blank range was blocked, but then Davis did Seaborne no favours with his hesitancy as the centre back attempted a headed backpass. This time Madine nipped into to shoot from a difficult angle, and the Saints web site is one of those that credits him with the goal. He didn’t score it though, as the ball bounced off the post and into the net via covering defender Fonte. Happily it was the last meaningful touch of the match.
LSSC Man of the Match: Michail Antonio, who didn’t look too pleased at being taken off. Who can blame him?
04 Puncheon (Connolly 80)
37 Antonio (McNish 66)
07 Lambert (Barnard 80)
09 Papa Waigo