Wigan Athletic 2-2 Saints
Southampton’s first visit to Wigan (any competition, any ground) was long overdue and we had an impressive turnout behind the goal to celebrate the occasion. Still no Lallana starting, though, and we do miss him in this sort of game, especially when Ramirez has another of his disappearing days. The Uruguayan probably wished the ground would swallow him up anyway when he produced an almighty and over-ambitious air shot, having broken a tame offside trap by more distance than he realised.
Saints’ chances were few and far between before the break, with a charge-down by Schneiderlin that could have produced a bizarre goal being the only time Al-Habsi was tested. It was Boruc at the other end who was the first keeper forced into action with an impressive save, but he was unable to prevent Caldwell heading the Latics ahead after my old mate Yoshida had made a Horlicks of his marking.
Time for another half time withdrawal for Ramirez, but surprisingly we saw Steve Davis rather than Lallana. This turned out to be a fine move nevertheless as Davis was the outstanding player in a vastly improved second half. Rodriguez failed to capitalise on good play from Lambert before the roles were reversed and Lambert successfully headed a brave equaliser.
By now Lallana had appeared, and he soon hit the post following a corner, but a late Southampton second was well worth the waiting: Shaw and another substitute, Ward-Prowse, combined to set Rodriguez away down the left and his eventual cross was gleefully tapped home by Schneiderlin.
That should have been enough for a crucial win, but Saints failed to keep Wigan out until even the 90th minute, with more poor defending from a corner letting Scharner get in a header that fell for Maloney who was being played onside by Shaw. The new manager’s three games have produced three excellent 45 minute spells, but so far Saints have failed to put two together in one game to secure maximum points.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jay Rodriguez. In fact it was another tie (with Schneiderlin) but this time I’m going to allow the tie-breaking vote as it was from one of our guest travellers.