London Saints

Norwich Away

Saints travelled to Norwich without the suspended Romeu, quite a feat by him in view of the limited pitch time he has enjoyed this season. They also omitted Mané from the starting line up, with the player punished for missing a team meeting. In view of the extra effort travelling fans had to make during railway engineering works, Mané’s actions were not readily forgiven, but with Pellè and Rodriguez injured, exposing the squad’s limited resources punished everyone really. Long was the only experienced striker left and although he did well to win an early header in the six yard box, you did wonder if more support could have created a better opportunity. He also missed the side’s best chance of the match when sent clear by Martina only for Rudd to make a save, so we were a bit disappointed not to have been ahead at the interval. The hosts can probably claim to have had similar chances, and when Mané still failed to make an appearance in the second half, the game was looking to remain goal-less or to be settled by a single example of brilliance or idiocy. To a great extent it was the latter, a moment of recklessness by Wanyama who launched into an unnecessary challenge on Odjidja near the half way line to receive his second yellow card. It took just three minutes for Norwich to take advantage of the extra man: Saints had defenders to cover most options when Tettey moved into the penalty area but no-one left over to block a shot which flew into the top corner. Time for the coach to review his principled stance over Mané with a swift pair of substitutions, which also gave Reed what many feel to be a long overdue return to the squad, never mind the XI on the pitch. It was all too late, of course, and the repercussions of Mr. Koeman’s angry outburst at the commitment of his already unsettled players, Mané and Wanyama, have still to be felt, no matter how justified they were at the time.

LSSC Man of the Match: James Ward-Prowse, although substituted just before the end – of course he had to do Wanyama’s job as well during the last quarter.

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