Rickie hat-trick keeps Saints second
Saints 3, Forest 2
Saints aren’t very forthcoming about first team injuries these days, but we all knew that Seaborne was unavailable for the visit of Nottingham Forest, the police having taken an interest in his state of health.
However, Saints were forced to take the field with a defensive formation of Cork, Fonte, Hooiveld and Fox – other than Fonte, they had a maximum 45 minutes experience in their respective positions for their current club. It was probably a contributory factor in the first goal, on 7 minutes, when Miller made good ground down the left before putting in a low cross converted by a curiously unmarked Derbyshire in the middle: no-one directly to blame, but all equally so in one way or another.
There was no time to ask questions why as Do Prado immediately put Connolly through for a strike on goal that was smothered by Camp, but the ball fell for Lambert to bundle it home.
Forest’s defence was in as much disarray as Southampton’s had appeared to be, and a second home goal was no surprise: it came before the half hour, with Do Prado and Connolly again involved, and again Lambert the scorer, heading home after Connolly’s cross had been touched on by Lallana.
An equaliser was unexpected, but it came via an exceptionally well worked move as Forest’s passing stretched Southampton’s cover before Derbyshire found space and crossed for Majewski to score.
The visitors then started the second half on the front foot, with Davis forced into an exceptional save to keep the scores level. The keeper was next involved in a critical incident, which may well have been an accident waiting to happen as Saints placed a lot of faith in the keeper’s control of back passes: a hard first touch let Derbyshire in, but the linesman was well placed to judge a dive by the forward as Davis tried to retrieve the situation. Had this been on the other side of the pitch, the referee may have seen it differently, and as it was, Derbyshire appeared incredulous. Maybe we deserved a touch of fortune after the shove on Lambert went unpunished at Leicester, and the main striker fully atoned for that own goal when he headed home Fox’s inviting free kick to complete a hat trick. This was a game in which both sides looked like scoring or conceding in successive moments, but even five minutes of added time did not deny Saints the win.
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert, for three good reasons.
10 Guly (Chaplow 68)
22 Connolly (De Ridder 80)
Att: 24, 784