Saints 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday
Nigel Adkins had played the role of elite club manager by making the full set of 11 changes for this season’s opening Capital One Cup encounter, but for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday, Gazzaniga, Richardson and Yoshida (plus Ward-Prowse who had only made the last few minutes) were all retained from the team that finished the last league game – so no place for Mayuka, although he presumably would have played but for a knock. No place for Fox, or for Artur Boruc either – but more of him later no doubt.
Of those who came in, Rodriguez looked the liveliest in an entertaining first half that ended with Bywater by far the busier goalkeeper, and making notable saves from Rodriguez and Do Prado. Guly really should have scored but Jay-Rod’s effort was largely his own making, so he is partly excused, and he did also find the net after a superb turn left Championship defenders dead. Saints found it hard to build on their lead after the break, when Wednesday were less easy to penetrate through the middle.
Flank play seemed to offer the most promise, and a determined run by DeRidder ended with him just about stumbling into the area before going down under Mattock’s challenge. Saints had missed their last non-Lambert penalty, courtesy of Sharp, and it was a close call this time as well, with Rodriguez’s shot struggling to make it over the line as it squirmed away from Bywater. At least we now had some breathing space as Gazzaniga gave mixed performance at the other end, and we know that Michail Antonio always poses a threat. The game ended with a worry as Cork limped off in some pain after apparently twisting a knee.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jay Rodrguez for a particularly good first half.