The Saints are going up!
Plymouth 1, Saints 3
Saints set about their task at Plymouth Argyle very positively and proceeded to dominate much of the game. Turning possession into goals isn’t always easy, and no real threat ensued at either end despite a number of free kicks and corners won by the visitors. The strong wind may have been having some effect here, but with half time approaching, the ball came out to Butterfield, our most reliable crosser, and Lambert‘s looping header found its way into the corner of the goal.
With Plymouth having shown little sign of being able to do enough to pull back one goal let alone secure the win they needed for survival, only one end of the ground was optimistic at the break.
Peter Reid sent his charges out early, but Saints kept them waiting and the second period got under way at 10 past 4. Before quarter past, we were two up as Jaidi headed against the bar, Connolly wasn’t panicked into a shot from the rebound and Argyle could only clear as far as Dickson who scored off the post.
Chaplow was the first half-fit player to be excused further duties, but with the game just an hour old, Saints got their third – from the spot after Lambert picked himself up following Nelson’s trip. With such a healthy goal difference, everyone was of the opinion that the win would be sufficient to secure promotion, and it seemed safe enough for Jaidi and Lallana to sit out the final stages as Schneiderlin made a welcome return.
The goal difference was dented slightly in added time when Plymouth’s outstanding player, Bolasie, scored, and then the home side caused a few nervous laughs amongst our prematurely delirious fans by knocking at the door again – but at 5 p.m. the referee halted proceedings. Thanks to the hungry looking police dogs of the Devon & Cornwall constabulary, no-one ran on the pitch, but few doubted that it was all over – surely including those up in Huddersfield who had caused celebrations to be postponed for 48 hours?
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert who has 21 goals (so far!) despite misfiring with most of those spectacular free kicks we remember from last year.
15 Jaidi (Martin 65)
20 Lallana (Schneiderlin 82)
30 Chaplow (Seaborne 50)