West Ham Home Lost 1 – 2
The only casualty of the trip to Huddersfield was Højbjerg who was suspended after another caution – a fate that had earlier befallen his replacement against West Ham, Lemina. We’ve learned to scan the bench for the latest teenage hopeful but although Ramsey was there again, we saw forgotten men Elyounoussi and Ward-Prowse returning to the squad. Not surprisingly the visitors proved to be made of sterner stuff than our last opponents, and Arsenal as well, come to that, and of course Ralph’s style of play no longer comes as a surprise – the best chance of the opening period fell to West Ham’s Pérez after Valery and Bednarek were unable to stop Cresswell getting in a dangerous low cross. Under the new regime, though, there’s always a chance that Saints can fashion something, somehow and soon after the break they took the lead with the scrappiest of goals: Armstrong’s blocked shot fell to Redmond who looked, but wasn’t, offside and although Fabianski saved and also kept out Romeu’s follow-up, Redmond was back to his feet to bundle the ball over the line. In retrospect that wasn’t the best thing that could have happened as within ten minutes the lead had turned into a deficit. First some sloppy defending on the right flank gave Gomes (who trades under his forenames of Felipe Anderson) an opportunity to shoot, which he did inside McCarthy’s poorly guarded near post. It was naïve play after a restart, but things got even worse from a Southampton corner when Armstrong attempted a shot with all his defenders caught upfield; after a block, five Hammers broke against three and with Targett having taken a right wing corner, no-one covering the space Felipe Anderson Pereira Gomes (choose whatever name you want) used to fire home with some venom. Substitutions changed both teams’ formations, notably with Carroll on for West Ham and Saints moving to a back four to accommodate Austin, but the only clear chance fell to Lemina who was denied by Fabianski to save the blushes of the assistant who didn’t spot an actual offside against Redmond. So the opportunity to double the season’s points total in three games went begging, and suddenly a difficult run of fixtures have us wondering where the next one will come from.
LSSC Man of the Match: Oriol Romeu (whose real surname is Vidal) – captain for the night, but we did miss Højbjerg.