Saints 2-3 Aston Villa
Boruc and Schneiderlin face spells out of the side after injuries picked up at Chelsea, so it was a surprise to then find Fonte omitted from the starting line-up at home to Aston Villa.. although less of one for Osvaldo to be keeping him company on the bench.
As might have been expected, Saints began in the ascendancy and in fact hit the bar early on, but they were rocked back after a quarter of an hour when Yoshida found a new type of error that we hadn’t seen from him before – making no effort to stop a through ball that set Agbonlahor free.
The damage had really been done before the sometime England player made short work of Lovren’s desperate challenge and any barrier posed by the startled Gazzaniga. A header from Rodriguez was Saints’ best response before the break, but the manager was clearly in tinkering mode as he introduced Osvaldo for Ward-Prowse with just 38 minutes gone.
Cork also appeared after the break, with Wanyama the latest injury, but for all the team’s midfield endeavours it was a very basic goal that levelled the scores – Rodriguez with another fine but this time decisive header. Cork had been looking good, but he was caught when trying to resolve a mistake by Shaw and Kozak evaded both centre backs to head in El Ahmadi’s cross from close range.
By now Clyne had added to the injury woes, but Fonte produced a very good cross from an unaccustomed full back position and Osvaldo scored a rare goal once Lambert had headed the ball back.
There had always seemed to be a chance of a Saints goal, so you would have expected them to be the team to go on and win, but for a third time they were caught by a sucker punch. This time it was Delph who delivered with a fine shot after there was no Schneiderlin or Wanyama to track his break, and Yoshida chose to stand off.
That must have been three shots and three goals for the visitors as no-one could recall Gazzaniga making a successful save, but TV replays show that all the criticism at the time was probably premature. Other players are not so blame-free.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jay Rodriguez. Not an easy choice, but it wasn’t as if Saints played badly as a team.