Saints 4-0 Derby
You wait three months for a Saturday afternoon home game, and then the next one arrives just seven days later. There had been an intervening away midweek fixture, and unlike that game at West Ham, this time there’s a couple of team changes to report: Guly out, and replaced by Chaplow rather than Puncheon… possibly to protect Harding pressed into service at right back in Richardson’s absence.
Our opponents, Derby, looked to have had problems of their own at the back, at least judging by the way they let a 15th minute corner fall at the feet of Hooiveld in the 6 yard box to allow Saints to get in front. It was more than enough to take us through to the break, when it seems that Hooiveld undertook a second fitness test. The Dutchman was replaced by Martin for the second half, supposedly as ‘a precaution,’ while Sharp (who looks short of fitness himself) made way for Lee.
Martin thus became the second centre back to benefit from the visitors’ dodgy defending at corners when he was allowed to chest the ball down before firing a close range shot into the top of the net. 2-0 was always going to be a winning margin against a poorDerby team, but Saints added to the extent of the victory with two fine goals from open play. To start with, we had a first time finish by Lallana from Fox’s pass, which meant that the full back had produced the crosses for all the goals to date.
However, he wasn’t involved when Lee finally showed why he is an international footballer with a finish from an unlikely position on the sideways edge of the box that flew into the same spot as Lallana’s effort. (Our manager has started referring to the scorer as ‘Chung,’ based on his Korean name of Lee Sung Chung – so now you know.) As West Ham were without a game, Saints took over top spot again, the only blemish being Harding’s caution for an ugly and unnecessary challenge.
LSSC Man of the Match: Adam Lallana, who was making things happen on a day when they mostly worked.