Saints run United close
Saints 1, Man United 2
Having seen off Blackpool’s second string in round 3, Saints were set a similar task when taking on Manchester United in F. A. Cup (4). Similar, yet quite different: most of United’s reserves still seemed to be internationals. Southampton weren’t at full strength, but other than Bialkowski for Davis, Mr. Adkins’ changes made absolute sense; we were never going to risk the injured Hammond, there’s always a doubt about Richardson’s fitness and pitting Jaidi against Hernandez could have been a comic moment just waiting to happen.
At least Radhi could have reminisced about old times with Owen, whose only first half contribution after the handshake ritual was a cross that ended up striking the post.
It was Saints who got the ball in the net first, with Harding the finisher, but denied by an offside flag. Certainly Barnard was wandering around in an illegal position, but the decision against Harding by a World Cup final assistant was marginal: typical male official (scared of Fergie).
Just before the break, Do Prado headed a great chance over the bar, but moments later Chaplow gave the home side a deserved lead with an emphatic shot. “Who the **** are Man. United” was in the sweet perfume of the halftime air, and Saints continued on top after the break.
Then with around 30 minutes left, United made a tactical move to save the game, bringing on Nani and Giggs to liven up their left flank. Ironically it was a right wing cross that saw the breakthrough, with a deflection off Seaborne falling for Owen to take part for the second and final time in the game.
Southampton didn’t have the strength in depth available off the bench to Sir Alex and unfortunately our sub, Dickson, gave the ball away in his own half. Normally he’d get away with it, but Giggs threaded the ball to Hernandez and Bialkowski’s slight touch wasn’t quite enough.
Hernandez had started the proceedings with an on-the-knees prayer. This sort of thing means nothing to me, but it does seem a strange sort of deity who would intercede in a football match based on the piety of the participants whilst turning an apparent blind eye to pestilence, war, famine and death. Maybe Chicharito is on the right lines, though, as United closed out the game comfortably… but just how interested were Saints in forcing a replay amongst a fixture pile-up?
LSSC Man of the Match: Morgan Schneiderlin, but Butterfield and Chaplow also caught the eye.
11 Guly (N’Guessan 79)
30 Chaplow (Gobern 84)
09 Barnard (Dickson 73)