Too little, too late
Southampton’s first visit to the imaginatively named Cardiff City Stadium ended up with the same result as their last several trips to the Welsh capital, including the Cup Final – however the consensus was that this was a game that Saints contrived to lose rather than Cardiff winning it by their own efforts.
These days fans are left to draw their own conclusions about team selections lest we divulge any trade secrets about injuries, so it’s up to you to decide whether Hammond was dropped to the bench or whether the captain was carrying an injury.
Either way, we started with Schneiderlin in midfield, but the team failed to create much in a lack-lustre first half that included barely two worthwhile efforts on goal, one in added time. As in the previous game, proceedings only livened up when Southampton went behind early in the second period.
Saints were still appealing half-heartedly for a penalty at a corner when goalkeeper Marshall launched the ball forward, isolating Schneiderlin against Miller. In my view, both the player and Davis were slow to recognise the danger and when Davis eventually came off his line, Miller won a header to send the ball into the empty net.
An equaliser nearly came immediately as Schneiderlin was denied by Marshall as he ran on to De Ridder’s through ball, but then a misplaced pass by Hooiveld let in Miller again for Cardiff’s second. The considerable deficit should have been reduced when Saints outnumbered the Bluebirds in a break down the right, but Lambert’s header was off target.
This was the most disappointing finish in a number of near misses after De Ridder, on for the ineffective Connolly, and Chaplow, surprisingly on for Cork, played their part in a Southampton revival. It did produce a goal in stoppage time with De Ridder converting Lambert’s knock down, but this was in added time and just a bit too late to make a difference.
LSSC Man of the Match: Frazer Richardson, the democratic choice of our overnight contingent on the trip. There were 14 people to choose from: 11 starters, 2 subs and, er, Nigel Adkins. Nigel’s part in the night came with a neat stop on the edge of the technical area to enable a quick throw, but maybe he should have waited until the ball went out of play first? Result: drop ball on the half way line. Doh!