Leicester Away Won 1 – 2
Charlie Austin’s gesturing technique has brought him a two match ban (one game for each finger presumably) starting at Leicester, but Ralph had a surprise for us at the other end of the line-up with McCarthy replacing Gunn, while there was another unexplained absence from the squad for Lemina. Injuries, transfers and Austin’s suspension meant a start for Long and within the first ten minutes he was instrumental in earning a great opportunity to break a long-standing Southampton goal drought at the King Power Stadium: Long fell under a clumsy challenge by Mendy and Ward-Prowse opted for slapping the resulting penalty powerfully into the corner. Leicester weren’t posing too much of a threat but Valery managed to get into some sort of a spat with Chilwell and might have been a bit lucky to escape with just a caution for a rash challenge, just as Saints were fortunate to keep out the resulting free kick, thanks to Bednarek’s last ditch clearance. Valery then panicked when caught the wrong side of Albrighton and a push in the back brought a dreaded second yellow card. This was on the stroke of half time but nevertheless it was a happy visiting enclosure at the interval as Mendy was again faced with Long and this time barely managed a tackle at all as the Irishman went on to score, possibly thanks to a helping hand from Schmeichel to make sure the ball went in. Not that the choice was ever offered, but it’s an interesting call whether we were better off one up with 11 men or two up with 10! Claude Puel reacted to the situation with uncharacteristic boldness, making two attacking substitutions at the break, while Ralph waited another twelve minutes before replacing Armstrong with Soares: a sensible move (more sensible to have started with Cédric anyway?) but it left us short of attacking options and what followed was like The Alamo after Ndidi bundled the ball in to bring Leicester back into the game. However The Alamo didn’t end well for Davy Crockett and his pals whereas Saints held on for the three points thanks to Vestergaard having his best game in England. Schmeichel’s only action in the second half was to venture upfield for a late corner and his side’s overall 72% possession came after an even opening 45 minutes – but only the result matters, not the statistics.
LSSC Man of the Match: Shane Long. A goal and an assist trumps the sterling work done by his mates at the back.