Saints 4-1 Aston Villa
Something had to change after shipping 14 goals in four Premier League matches, and the major casualty was Kelvin Davis, stepping down in favour of Gazzaniga. Also out was Hooiveld, and who’s to say that it wasn’t just his injury that meant a full debut for Yoshida, while Clyne, Fonte and Fox could all have sensed the axe poised as well.
Elsewhere, Ward-Prowse had to celebrate last week’s LSSC Man of the Match award from the bench as he was the one chosen to make way for record signing Ramirez. The Uruguayan gave frequent glimpses of his class in the opening period against Aston Villa, but the half time spotlight was again on that defence, although maybe a bit unkindly. Yoshida’s aggressive approach to anything in the air seemed to help Fonte, but it was a poor headed clearance by Jose that allowed Ireland a shot and his miscued effort turned into the perfect pass for Bent to nip in and score.
It was all a bit unfortunate, but maybe Fox got the blame in the dressing room: anyway, he didn’t appear for the second half, with the right-footed Clyne having to move to left back. A second Villa goal would have left Mr. Adkins under extreme pressure, and it could have arrived, but Gazza saved from Bent after a superb pass from Benteke and then the visitors went close from a couple of corners.
All that was forgotten during a dynamic last half hour or so, starting with a fine strike from Lambert that any Premier League player would have been proud of. A couple of minutes later, Ramirez’s skill allowed Clyne the chance to score with a deft touch and put Saints on the road to a victory confirmed when Puncheon’s shot was helped in by Clark. The only thing that could stop us was Nigel’s needless substitutions, which duly took place. Unlike the last home outing, though, they could be said to have had some success as Lambert sent Mayuka clear in added time, and when the Zambian was floored by goalkeeper Guzan, Lambert made sure from the spot.
LSSC Man of the Match: Gastón Ramirez. That’s despite Lambert playing a considerable part in all four goals, and Ramirez looking scared to death every time he was asked to defend. The fellow can clearly play a bit, though.