West Brom Away FA Cup 5th Round
BBC TV kindly informed us that the 5th round cup tie at West Brom was a repeat of the 1968 competition which WBA eventually won. Thank you for that, but for Southampton a more relevant incarnation of the same fixture came a mere 42 years ago, prior to our own final triumph. This time round, both clubs fielded strong line-ups despite their precarious league positions, although Saints had to do without Romeu, presumably as a protection against suspension. Neither side had looked comfortable against set pieces in the recent league clash and Albion contributed a lot towards their downfall when they managed to lose Hoedt completely from a corner and the centre back swept in his first Saints goal. Højbjerg also went close after another set piece in an opening half when the visitors were pretty much in control. Not for the first time, though, we had a game of two halves and the pattern of the second period was set by an early save by McCarthy, and he soon had to rescue Hoedt from another of his embarrassing mistakes by tipping a Rodriguez shot round the post and then needed to recover well to prevent Hoedt’s deflection on Krychowiak’s shot ending up in the net. West Brom aren’t good enough to attack without leaving themselves vulnerable, even against a team as one-paced as Saints, and Redmond and Carrillo broke well on the left to set up Tadić for a chance that he took rather well. Tadić has an immense belief in his own ability and when he was caught in possession a couple of minutes later, it produced a remarkable goal that opened up the game for the last half hour or so: a long ball forward fell over Rondón’s shoulder but it took a great technique to lash home a left foot volley from an angle. McCarthy’s next significant action was to claw away a close range effort, but he was beaten when Hegazi hooked a shot onto the post and Bertrand cleared the resultant scramble off the line – both incidents from corners, of course. A full set of substitutions saw a rare appearance from Sims whose added time run nearly produced a goal that would have given a flattering scoreline. The main thing was that we won; those earlier games, by the way, finished as draws, but with differing results at The Dell.
LSSC Man of the Match: Alex McCarthy, but he shouldn’t have had so much second half pressure.