Brighton Home Drew 2 – 2
With Long and Ings recovering from knocks, Saints were unchanged as they returned from the international break to face Brighton in TV’s Monday night game. I see nothing wrong in changing the line-up to face the league’s galacticos, but a settled side is best when the fixture list pits you against the sort of teams we’ve faced so far this campaign – previous (and prospective!) coaches please note. The game began with a bang, but that was provided by the pre-match pyrotechnics although Saints were nicely on top with Redmond in particular causing problems from open play. The something extra to open up a Premier League defence seemed most likely to come from a set piece, and you’d have got very long odds against the sort of goal that actually put the home side ahead: a brilliantly struck 30 yard shot by Højbjerg that flew low into the bottom corner. Albion had offered very little before the break but they were certainly well in the second half; just when we most needed it (66 minutes), an opportunity arrived to double the lead thanks to a foul on Ings who converted from the spot for his first home goal for us. Alack and alas, it was followed within two minutes by Brighton’s first away goal of the season with Vestergaard caught between the two centre backs and with no-one else in the vicinity as Duffy headed home Knockaert’s inviting free kick. That changed the complexion of the game and suddenly it was the visitors who had the initiative as their attacking substitutions were answered by the introductions of Ward-Prowse and Davis for Elyounoussi and Ings. Such a move was only sensible, but maybe the manager is now regretting not including Yoshida as a third centre back because an equaliser was looking most likely from the aerial route. It seemed to have arrived in the last minute of the 90 but McCarthy somehow managed to knock Locadia’s effort over the bar. That should have been the end of it, but the resulting corner looked all wrong with Ward-Prowse finding himself marking Duffy and the midfielder was adjudged to have pushed the centre back, giving Murray the opportunity to be a hero from the spot, which he duly took with a kick down the middle. Added time was fraught for both sides with Bertrand having a free kick saved to leave Saints again throwing away a winning position at St. Mary’s.
LSSC Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. Of course the goal (and what a goal!) helped, but he and Lemina rather bossed the Brighton midfield in the first half.