Saints 2-0 Hull City
Forster’s misfortune has led to Kelvin Davis being Southampton’s first choice, but Hull’s decision to include Steve Harper in their goal was entirely their own, the veteran replacing McGregor. This meant a combined match goalkeeping age of 78, but potentially a bigger story was our own omission of Clyne – maybe he’s been spending just a bit too much time in the company of his England mates?
Saints seemed to play the first half with three at the back – Alderweireld, Fonte and Yoshida – but the opening minute chance for Long had more to do with a misplaced backpass by N’Doye than tactics. A dreadful first touch and a poor second meant a great opportunity was lost, which was a pity as Saints struggled to make much headway against a club facing a desperate end to the season.
Pellè was unfortunate to have a shot saved by Harper, but his way of playing doesn’t seem to suit referee Friend, and once more this official awarded a succession of free kicks against him. That wasn’t enough for visiting manager Bruce, and it must have been a tight decision for Mr. Friend to produce a card of just the yellow variety after a wayward arm caught the boss’s son in the face.
Wanyama suffered a similar fate, but in his case the punishment includes a two match ban as well as a half time substitution. Ward-Prowse came on in his place and Bertrand fell back into a more orthodox back line, but still with Alderweireld, our best centre back in years, stuck out on the right.
Hull could have made us pay dearly, but Davis produced a fine low save to deny Livermore, and then Long got away from Bruce down the other end and won a clear penalty for his success. With Tadić on the bench, Mané seemed set to take the kick, but was persuaded that any pre-match plans had to be updated now Ward-Prowse was available, and the far-from prolific midfielder struck just his second senior goal for Saints, but having netted recently for England U-21s.
Pellè, meanwhile, finds it easier to score against England than in England, but he ended an embarrassing goal drought thanks to assists from sub. Tadić and then Schneiderlin. Hull had been denied an equaliser by Bertrand’s goal-line clearance, but there was no coming back from two-adrift, and the scoreline could have been yet more comfortable had Steven Davis been more accurate with his left foot.
LSSC Man of the Match: Kelvin Davis, again. His save from Livermore was a turning point, while no outfielder had a game to be proud of – the lack of goals looks likely to remain a problem.