Barnard seals deserved win
Sheff Wed. 0, Saints 1
Goal-shy Saints probably welcomed a trip away from the expectations at St. Mary’s, and in Sheffield Wednesday they found ideal out-of-sorts opponents.
The usual classy opening failed to break September’s goal drought but at least it wasn’t followed by the sort of deterioration in play that had characterised performances under Dean Wilkins. Barnard ought to have done better after springing the offside trap and he also just failed to connect with Lambert’s pull back.
Luck was also deserting the strikeforce when Purse’s defensive diving header was enough to divert Puncheon’s goal bound shot to safety. Still no goals until the 60th minute… Schneiderlin in space and threatening… a neat pass to Barnard… a little chip over the advancing keeper. Two defenders chased back, but too late! For the first time since August 28th, Saints had found the net!!
Lallana made an unexpected but effective early return and he should have been able to seal the game but put a header wide.
At the other end, Wednesday’s attacking became more basic, which rather played into the hands of Jaidi (in for injured Fonte) and Seaborne. Poor marking by the centre backs’ colleagues allowed Tudgay a free header but Harding scrambled the ball off the line: otherwise, Saints were looking good until a surprising 4 minutes of added time were announced. Seaborne was penalised to allow Jones a chance with a free kick – a clear moment of danger as he had come close in the first half. Closer still in the second, as it turned out, but Davis was across for a fine save and congratulations from team-mates who believed he had won the game. Not yet – he still had another flying save to make in added time of added time. Saints were good value for the 3 points, but those who left via the back of the main stand could hear familiar cries of ‘sack the board.’ Troubled times at Hillsborough.
LSSC Man of the Match: Kelvin Davis. After several weeks without any outstanding performances, we were rather spoiled for choice. A shame to resort to the goalkeeper, but without those late saves we wouldn’t have won.
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins told BBC Radio Solent:
“We’re very pleased, very proud, lots of smiles all round.
“We’ve created some very good opportunities.
“The big thing for me is that the players have played for the team”
10 Puncheon (Holmes 90+5)
26 Chamberlain (Dickson 84)
09 Barnard (Lallana 72)