Saints sunk by Terriers
Huddersfield 2, Saints 0
Southampton’s players must have known what to expect at Huddersfield: they only had to read the manager’s preview on the clubs website – an increasingly flaky site, it has to be admitted. Mr. Adkins wrote “It will be a competitive game. Lee Clarke’s teams are always competitive. Alan Lee gives them a dimension to the game that will give them an opportunity to try to score from set plays.”
And so it turned out. Pilkington gave Town the lead on just two minutes, but even that was after Davis had made a superb save from a free kick and Gudjonsson had shot against the woodwork after a corner. Admittedly the goal came from the rebound from the post, but Saints hadn’t had a kick from the start and they continued to struggle against Lee’s physical presence and the home team’s in-your-face approach that made some of our players look very uncomfortable.
There were chances at the other end, but Lambert was denied by a spectacular goal-line clearance and in all honesty it was no surprise when Southampton failed to clear a free kick away from danger and Gudjonsson buried the loose ball.
A goal back just after the break would have done our players a world of good, but the ball wouldn’t quite fall for Puncheon, and with Huddersfield now adopting a more conservative approach, further opportunities failed to materialise. Referee Webster managed to book four players from each side, but in truth the game was fading quietly away well before we were treated to 11 minutes of injury time, partly for a head injury to Lambert but mostly for a linesman replacement: aren’t fourth officials supposed to be ready to cope with such an eventuality?
So could Saints have been better prepared? I was a bit surprised that we kept the same starting line-up, with Guly keeping Schneiderlin out of the team, and maybe we have players better equipped than Fonte to deal with Alan Lee: but Nigel obviously felt he could keep faith in his players, and we can’t really fault him for that. So a wasted journey then? Of course not! Some of us went to a beer festival, others braved the hitherto unexplored mean streets of Wakefield for pre-match sustenance and entertainment, while the whole party was threatened with police action by a railway jobsworth after a mix-up over train times. What do ‘normal’ people do with their Saturdays?
LSSC Man of the Match: Richard Chaplow, as the only player to take on Huddersfield at their own game. Actually only he and Fonte got more than one vote, with opinion divided between “anyone but Fonte” and “anyone but Chaplow.”
10 Puncheon (Schneiderlin 77)
11 Guly (Barnard 67)
07 Lambert (Bignall 70)