Saints up to second
Leyton Orient 0, Saints 2
Leyton Orient are currently miffed at the prospect of a big name club turning up on their own patch -at the Olympic Stadium, one stop up the line. If I were a resident of Stratford, I’d still favour the Os, especially with their hospitable social club, efficient volunteer staff and (certainly not least) a well-stocked bar.
They still have to be beaten, though, and Saints took a big step towards that when Dickson, operating in midfield, challenged hard down the left and got in a cross that a defender misjudged, allowing Lambert a free header which he truly buried. This came after the home side had an early strike ruled out for offside, but with the opening goal behind them, Saints looked comfortable despite the bumpy pitch until Leyton had the ball in the net again, after a penalty area scramble – it looked that by making a final touch, Smith may have invalidated a good goal, but those fans closer to the action thought Barrett’s shot was going wide anyway.
After the break Orient must have done something to stop our wide players having so much influence, or maybe we elected to defend a bit deeper, which is a frequent failing. Either way, the O’s enjoyed most of the second half possession but found Jaidi and Fonte in particularly good form. They had plenty to do, and the introduction of Gobern for Guly seemed to be a change for change’s sake rather than a fresh approach.
Southampton’s other substitutions were defensive, as Butterfield and Harding had injuries to protect. It left us with four centre backs, but one, Fonte, turned provider by releasing Lambert for a low first-time cross that found Barnard unmarked and able to finish easily. That meant a less nervous ending than might have been expected, and it could still have been awkward had Dawson’s shot against the post not rebounded conveniently into the arms of Davis.
Orient boss Russell Slade said “that was the most one-sided 2-0 defeat I’ve ever been involved in,” which probably doesn’t read quite as he intended it. But the stats show them with zero (non-offside) shots on target, and that was the difference.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jose Fonte, who even managed an assist to add to his defensive performance.
03 Harding (Seaborne 73)
12 Butterfield (Martin 80)
11 Guly (Gobern 65)