Norwich City 1-0 Saints
Clyne’s exertions against Barnsley and for 45 minutes against Sunderland were not enough to leave him fit enough to come off the Premier League bench at Norwich, and the absence of Shaw left us with Chambers and Fox at full back. Neither let us down, but both Clyne and Shaw give better options going forward, and it showed.
Saints struggled to put pressure on the home defence throughout, but through Lallana they managed both the closest and most controversial threats of the first half. The first was a shot blocked at point blank range by Johnson, but with his hands, which were raised in what is normally considered to be an ‘unnatural’ position. It was only TV that made this clear to all and sundry, but Howard Webb should have been well placed to award a penalty… and for some reason he didn’t.
Then nearer the end of the half, Lallana volleyed against the upright, with Ruddy well beaten. And despite Ruddy having to save just after the break from Osvaldo, who started in place of Rodriguez, we didn’t come as close again – but admittedly there would have been a fuss had Ruddy been beaten by Lambert’s shot as an offside decision against the striker was clearly wrong.
Norwich were not that good a side either, but they were definitely the more incisive and did manage the game’s only goal – a 69th minute strike from Redmond which Boruc might have done better with.
It was particularly disappointing that Saints could not up their game to at least threaten to level the score, and probably came closer to falling further behind instead.
LSSC Man of the Match: Dejan Lovren, but I suspect mainly because of the lack of a credible alternative.