Millwall 0-2 Saints
With just four changes from Saturday’s starting line-up, Ronnie at least treated the Capital One cup tie at Millwall with more respect that is normal amongst Premier League clubs… or Championship ones either, as the hosts made wholesale changes that included a recall for Richard Chaplow after injury but no place for Ricardo Fuller; Saints gave a competitive debut to Targett, while Gardos sat on the bench alongside the still-unused Taïdir.
It has to be said that not much changed from the tedious affair with West Brom, at least in the opening period. Southampton can give the impression that they are passing the ball around in deep positions for their own entertainment, rather than with any strategic outcome in mind, and they should have been made to pay for their unadventurous approach when Gueye (heaven knows how you pronounce that) ran on to his keeper’s long clearance right between our centre backs and through on goal, only to shoot wide. Tadić was introduced early on when Isgrove was injured, but it was the replacement of Wanyama with Cork at half time that proved significant.
Signs of improvement were already present before Millwall failed to mark Cork from Tadić’s corner and the second sub finally broke his Southampton goal drought. That give Saints much more confidence, and Forde was forced to tip a couple of shots over the bar as well as being relieved to see a header (from Pelle) clip the woodwork and others whistle past the post.
They included another, more untidy, effort from Pelle that could, and probably should, have brought him his first Saints goal. We had to wait a bit longer for that, until added time in fact. Before then, Millwall troubled Forster with a long-distance shot, but the changed Lions line-up threatened only infrequently and it was no real surprise that Saints added a second, although maybe a bit of one to see Pelle stick it in the net – let’s hope it’s the first of many (or, more realistically, several).
LSSC Man of the Match: Jack Cork, although he only played 45 minutes – but you could say that about a lot of his colleagues as well.