Bournemouth Away Won 3 – 1
The game at Bournemouth completed an intense run of fixtures, but with eleven days before the next match, surely Saints would field their strongest team for what one side at least regarded as a ‘South Coast Derby?’ If that was indeed the case, then overlooked senior players like Fonte and Davis may have used their time on the bench to query M. Puel about where he’s taking them. A midfield of Clasie, Reed and Højbjerg (Romeu suspended) just felt wrong and on just five minutes Højbjerg decided it was none of his business to be trying to stop Ake heading the Cherries into an early lead. Saints responded with their usual passing regime, but Clasie and Bertrand managed to conjure up something more incisive on the left, and the latter fired a shot across Boruc for the equaliser. Despite a chance missed (badly) by Redmond, it still wasn’t right and Van Dijk could be seen metaphorically pulling the hair out of his pony tail as mistakes by Højbjerg and Reed in front of him kept putting the defence under unnecessary pressure. At least manager Puel changed things round, and early too with the introduction of Davis for Reed at the break. It had an immediate effect as it was the turn of the Bournemouth defence to be put under pressure and and after 47 minutes Davis himself got to the by-line and pulled the ball back for a chance Rodriguez couldn’t miss, even in his present scoring form. Thanks to the energetic Davis, the mood of the game had changed, and while the home team’s response was to go more direct, Saints happily did not lapse back into their usual crab-like progressions. Bertrand might have gone clear had the through pass been played earlier and Redmond sent a dipping shot just over: a third goal would give a nice breathing space as the game moved on, and it came courtesy of Jay Rodriguez – what a difference confidence makes as surely the forward wouldn’t even have attempted his audacious turn and volley had he not had a goal under his belt, never mind made such a good connection as to send the ball flying past Boruc to seal the points.
LSSC Man of the Match: Ryan Bertrand thanks to the goal and a more aggressive approach when in possession.