Guly strike keeps Saints second
Saints 1, Bristol Rovers 0
The midweek reversal at Rochdale left Saints without Harding and Lallana, and with Jaidi carrying a knock that forced him out of the game against Bristol Rovers before half time. Southampton included Forte and Do Prado in a midfield four that was ambitious in nature – but you need to earn the dominance that enables such a formation to work, and Saints had to be thankful for a Davis save to prevent The Gas taking an early lead.
After that, Guly forced Logan to save with his legs and Forte’s downward header bounced up to hit the bar: had either gone in, the manager would have been judged a genius.
Rovers adopted a robust and frustrating approach in their own search for desperately needed points and although Saints dominated the second half, they were struggling to turn their superiority into goals.
Lambert might have been the one to be sacrificed to allow Connolly a run, but it was Barnard who went off – on a stretcher following a challenge from behind that might have had an element of ‘afters’ about it. Connolly did seem to make a difference but Lambert wasted a good headed opportunity from his cross, and then N’Guessan was tried instead of Forte, who we now read is yet another possible injury victim.
Saints did get their win, though, thanks to a spark of magic from Do Prado in the 83rd minute as the Brazilian tip-toed round a couple of penalty box challenges and slotted the ball home. The stats surprisingly show Saints with just 52% of the possession, although it felt like much more. They also picked up four of the seven yellow cards in an untidy game, but Guly’s goal feels priceless right now.
LSSC Man of the Match: Guly Do Prado, but I don’t know where I’d have gone had we finished goal-less.
15 Jaidi (Seaborne 33)
08 Forte (N’Guessan 72)
09 Barnard (Connolly 66)