Saints 2-0 Burnley
Saints met Burnley in the first Saturday 3 p.m. kick off at home since November 19th – a gap of nearly three months. That’s about as long as the summer break, but it was good to be back in the old routine.
Mr. Adkins professed himself just as glad to have an almost full squad to pick from, with the decision to partner Lambert with Sharp probably falling into the category of ‘no-brainer.’ The return of Hooiveld was every bit as significant, but most debate concerned a midfield of Do Prado, Schneiderlin, Cork and Lallana. Maybe it was only for a home game, but a bit of a surprise for some to see Guly there, with no place for a goalkeeper on a talented bench. It worked out alright after Do Prado freed Richardson for a cross met by a glancing and looping header over Grant by Lallana – an early breakthrough that set Burnley back while Saints began to dominate.
A second goal turned that advantage into something more tangible, and it may or may not have come from Sharp. Certainly the forward tried to get on the end of Lambert’s low cross, but scoring with a first-time touch may not have been his intention, and even the Saints web site is more than just toying with the possibility that it may have been an own goal by Mee. We’ll stick with Sharp until proved otherwise.
The visitors made two changes at the break and for the first time they began to ask questions of the Saints back line. This period of discomfort had passed by the time Connolly came on for Sharp, and ironically the sort of chances the new signing had been expected to thrive on began to appear. Connolly did get the ball in the net after Grant had parried Lambert’s shot, but he was offside and the Clarets’ defence just about held firm under what was fairly consistent pressure at the end.
A welcome home win, the first in 2012 and almost the first since we last had a proper start time at St. Mary’s.
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert, although Lallana’s goal made him a strong candidate too.
10 Guly (Hammond – 78′ )
07 Lambert (Lee – 90′ )
11 Sharp (Connolly – 64′ )