Saints 1-0 Reading
Davis returned in goal to face Reading, replacing Gazzaniga whose accident prone season has continued with a training injury. Meanwhile Ramirez had gone back to Uruguay on bereavement leave, had flown in to be available, but then only made the bench. I’m not sure I follow the logic of expecting him suddenly to become fitter mentally, physically or jet-laggedly during the course of 90 minutes, and in fact he was on the pitch before half time, with Lallana going down with a knee injury.
The game was still goal-less, although Saints had the ball in the net from a Puncheon header. This was well after the whistle had blown, but finding a foul anywhere was difficult; never mind, Cork went unpunished at the other end for an injudicious challenge from behind in the danger area.
Saints were on top, but only just managed to hang on until the break as they were again caught out by a stoppage time short corner manoeuvre on their left side. Norwich had converted their opportunity in the last home game, and Reading came very close to landing a sucker blow as well, but Robson-Kanu’s header came back off the post.
We weren’t quite in ‘must win’ territory with this game, but three points were pretty vital, and they were secured by Puncheon’s 61st minute strike after a nice move down the right. The visitors replied with a clutch of substitutions to try to rescue a game in which they had threatened very little, but it was Do Prado off the bench and replacing the struggling Rodriguez who came closest to finding the net as Saints held out for an unspectacular but hugely important win.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jason Puncheon, and not just for the goal – when he’s on form, our right hand side can look quite classy.