QPR 0-1 Saints
What do Harry Redknapp’s gammy knee, Gordon Strachan’s wonky hip and Father Christmas have in common? Actually that’s a bit unfair as those middle age injuries are very likely genuine… but using them as a sole reason to quit a highly paid job where physical ability is not a prime requirement is pushing credulity. Nevertheless, beleaguered Harry left QPR just before Southampton’s visit, so no twitch to sing about.
We had Mané, Pellè and Elia all up front – at first sight an odd move on probably the league’s narrowest pitch, but Loftus Road is also home to some of its slowest defenders and Mané seemed to have licence to run at them whenever he could, no matter what direction. It might have paid dividends when Mané freed Elia but a long-distance lob over Green drifted wide.
However, any impetus was slowed by what might have been a serious injury to Targett – in for Bertrand – and the precautions taken after a blow to the head caused a 7 minute stoppage (and allowed the BBC to slot in some crowd shots of the LSSC contingent). Fonte beat the goalkeeper but not the crossbar from a corner but Mané always seemed the most likely to break the first half deadlock.
That pattern continued after the break, and the replacement of one returning player (Wanyama) by another (Schneiderlin) meant Saints kept the same shape. Rangers may be in the drop zone, but their home form accounts for 100% of their points, so they’re no pushovers in West London – Austin’s close range touch was only denied by similar reactions from Forster.
The home side also have a record of late winners/savers, but this time Saints snatched three welcome points in added time, thanks to a very good finish by Mané. They made hard work of holding onto it in the 60-odd seconds remaining, partly thanks to a nonsense foul by Ward-Prowse straight from the kick off, which meant the ball never left the Southampton half again. It even found its way into the net, despite a clear foul on Forster only being ‘punished’ by an alert assistant spotting Onuoha being goal-side of the keeper, and therefore offside.
LSSC Man of the Match: Sadio Mané, although his decisions often let him down.