Saints bow out at Palace
Palace 2, Saints 0
There’s a glut of autumnal midweek games, but they include the Carling Cup, so that’s a chance for members of the starting XI to put their feet up!
For the trip to Crystal Palace, only Cork retained his place, and he had to move to centre back to do that. At least the policy gives ‘yoof’ a chance, and Reeves retained his cup match place, being joined by debutant Ward-Prowse. They didn’t have an easy time as a Saints attack led by Forte found the going hard after a bright opening where Cork saw a header cleared off the line.
Judging by the game, Palace must have made a number of changes too as they were probably second best in the first half and were allowed very little of the ball for much of the second period – the admittedly unreliable stats show Saints with 54% overall possession. There were signs, though, that the team might be running out of steam as Palace went close a couple of times before a crossfield pass that should have been cut out found its way to someone called Jonathan Williams. The winger’s cross was turned in by Ambrose for the opening goal, and he had a huge part in the second goal that killed off Saints – a penalty from Easter after a foul on Williams by Harding.
Southampton had introduced Barnard for Forte with the scores level, and they brought on more big guns in Lambert and Do Prado at 0-1, leaving youngsters Moore, Dovey (goalkeeper) and Dean unused.
A couple of dangerous free kicks saved by Price from Lambert and Do Prado was the best the strengthened team could do. Had we been mid-table, this could be looked at as a wasted opportunity, but the team selection shows priorities lie elsewhere.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jack Cork, the genuine first-teamer.