Cardiff Away Lost 1 – 0
As Kelvin Davis moves on after the briefest of tenures, it’s a warm welcome for Herr Hasenhűttl – we’re gonna to have to call him Ralph, aren’t we? No less a source than the Southampton FC web site quotes the new manager as wanting to “capture the ball, switch and quickly advance in no more than ten seconds.” Ten seconds! We haven’t had that kind of Va Va Voom in the team since Sadio Mané was a lad. Ralph also wants “lots of early and intense pressing” whereas he’s inherited a midfield whose best qualities lie in keeping their shape whilst the opposition has the ball, rather hassling to get it back: interesting times ahead. AtCardiff, Lemina was available again and there were recalls for Romeu and Austin, but selection was adversely affected by injuries to both first choice full backs so we had a flakey looking defence including Valery, who had to be hauled off at the break, Target, whose distribution was poor throughout and Bednarek, who made errors forcing McCarthy into first half saves; the fourth man was Vestergaard who was saving up his own special contribution for late in the game. At the other end it was a familiar tale of plenty of the ball but very little threat and for all their lack of possession, it was always the home team who looked the more dangerous. From the visitors’ section it looked as though Armstrong was wrongly denied a penalty for trip on the hour although replays cast some doubt and show an even more credible claim by Redmond as time began to run out. By then we were behind thanks to Armstrong losing possession and then Vestergaard falling over himself when attempting a regulation clearance, letting Paterson run through to score. Gabbiadini immediately replaced Austin but, the penalty shout apart, the nearest Saints came to rescuing a point was an unlikely own goal by Etheridge. Now only goal difference separates Saints from bottom place, whichis what you’d expect with only 16 shopping days till Xmas and just one win to show for the team’s efforts so far. And we know what usually happens to those who are bottom at Christmas, don’t we?*
LSSC Man of the Match:Alex McCarthy. It was that sort of game.
*OK, West Bromwich survived in 2004/05, but guess who went down instead!Sunderland and Leicester also achieved the feat… and we know what Leicester went on to do.