Frustration for Saints
Walsall 1, Saints 0
The backlog of fixtures has to be caught up with sometime, and the pressure is now on both players and supporters this spring. Hot on the heels of the midweek visit to Hartlepool, it was a relatively short trip to Walsall, but eventually even more frustrating for all concerned.
Do Prado was the first to succumb to the schedule, not even making the squad because of injury, while Chamberlain spent most of the game on the bench. He may have enjoyed the experience had not home ‘keeper Walker been quick off his line to deny the returning Schneiderlin in the opening minutes. Apart from being the first of many missed chances, this was a serious blow because Morgan limped off soon afterwards, being replaced by N’Guessan rather than Chamberlain.
In fact it was the sort of game when we wanted an attacking player rather than Schneiderlin as Saints showed enough in the first period to be ahead on points, even if clear chances were relatively few.
The second half was better from that point of view, but the ball stubbornly refused to go past some desperate Walsall blocking, especially when Walker managed to kick away a point blank Fonte header.
A number of corners meant that Southampton’s central defenders were frequently commuting up and down the pitch, and Jaidi was caught out by a long ball that may or may not have found its way to Macken. Unfortunately Jaidi attempted to get in a defensive header that only sent Macken clear with plenty of time and space to beat Davis.
N’Guessan was promptly replaced by Chamberlain, whose fine cross was met by Barnard, but as so often happened, the Saddlers were able to keep the ball out. In fact there was a whole series of late attempts on goal, but always the ball whistled wide of the target or was blocked by a red shirt, as Saints drew another blank – this time against a defence that included Ollie Lancashire, for heaven’s sake.
It was a night when promotion rivals were grinding out 1-0 away wins, probably without playing well at all, but there is a lot in the saying that you make your own luck, and Saints weren’t quite good enough despite the run of play.
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert, whose presence caused problems throughout, despite the lack of goals.
04 Schneiderlin (N’Guessan 7) (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71)