Stoke City 2-1 Saints
Wanyama could have picked a better game than the visit to Stoke to start his suspension, and manager Koeman decided to choose Alderweireld to take his place as midfield enforcer… or maybe protector, judging by the way The Potters had taken on Saints in the Capital One Cup.
That meant recalls for Clyne and Yoshida in an orthodox back four, making the right flank more incisive – and a move down that side nearly led to the opening goal, but Pellè’s first time volley hit the side rather than the back of the net. We did have an opening half goal to celebrate, though, thanks to Fonte’s header from a Davis corner that was converted by Schneiderlin, although the ball would probably have found its way in anyway.
A glaring miss by N’Zonzi right on half time didn’t seem to concern too many fans at the interval as an away success looked to be the most likely outcome to the afternoon. Unfortunately N’Zonzi’s next touch could well have been the one that turned the game after the break, but it wasn’t much better than his earlier effort: a mis-hit cross that drifted aimlessly towards Kelvin Davis.
However, we were all fearing a goalkeeping mishap before the season was out, and it came when Davis allowed the ball to hit the bar, and Diouf levelled the scores from the rebound. Mané looked to have provided Saints with a chance to regain the lead when he beat Begovic to a ball near the corner flag, and when he failed to find Pellè with the cross, Tadić was on hand to attempt a coup de grâce. Tadic’s first task was to get his shot on target, which he did, but something hit with a bit more venom was needed to prevent Whelan clearing off the line.
It was another crucial moment as Adam managed to get in a shot into the ground after Saints struggled to clear a corner, and the bounce took the ball past Davis for a late winner. Worse was to come in injury time as Alderweireld was stretchered off with what seemed a serious injury, but at least Crouch missed an even later gilt edged chance after a mistake by Yoshida.
LSSC Man of the Match: Morgan Schneiderlin in a close vote on the train home.