Brighton Away Drew 1 – 1
Saints took on Brighton in the first south coast derby of the season without Yoshida, a self inflicted change that may have been as much a subtle part of the latest complex plan to make the team more creative as defensive tinkering. They were also missing Lemina, and will be for some weeks, whilst accommodating Boufal from the start, in place of Long. The Boufal experiment lasted 72 minutes, but to be fair, he did have a part in creating a chance for Tadić and also in the goal that gave us a 8th minute lead: the Moroccan won the free kick that Ward-Prowse hit onto the bar for Davis to head home the rebound. Apart from a few moments just before the break, Southampton seemed in control of the opening period, and the pattern seemed to be continuing into the second half. Then, on 52 minutes, Murray managed to get himself in a position on the far post where his marker was the diminutive Soares, and somehow his looping header eluded Forster for 1-1. That wasn’t the keeper’s finest hour by any reckoning, and it changed the dynamic of the game for a period. By the end, though, Saints might have been the side more likely to score, but creating opportunities isn’t quite as easy as having possession in the last third of the pitch. The match stats show a fairly even match up, but I suspect most travelling fans would have been somewhat disappointed with the outcome, even if a point away is normally looked upon as a point gained. The manager claimed that the team are still searching for an identity, and he is probably right; what isn’t clear is whether he knows for certain what path they should be taking to achieve that aim.
LSSC Man of the Match: Oriel Romeu, with an important role to play in the absence of Lemina.