Manchester City Away Lost 2 – 1
The first objective in the Manchester City two-visits-in-a-week schedule was to escape without embarrassment and that was achieved comfortably enough in match one. It would be more difficult to avoid another what’s-the-time result (“nearly ten past Gunn”) in the second game as Sterling and DeBruyne returned for the hosts, even though Ralph added Redmond and Ings to our starting XI. The first 13 minutes of City onslaught were negotiated with only the occasional panic, but then Saints threw the formbook out of the window by taking the lead, thanks to Ederson spilling Armstrong’s shot and Ward-Prowse handling the loose ball with all the aplomb of a seasoned striker. Far too early to stand any chance of keeping an unlikely scoreline intact even until half time, or so we thought, but the deep lying defence made few mistakes and a great number of blocks, in which respect they were well aided by their colleagues from (occasionally) further up the pitch. Stone headed over from a short corner routine reminiscent of City’s Carabao Cup opener and a few loose balls rolled just about the right side of the woodwork, so against all odds half time came and still 0-1. Time seemed to go into reverse after the break as Saints gave up the idea of giving Ederson any more work to do but the discipline of the back line continued to prevail. That was until the clock slowly ticked its way round to 70 minutes when Stephens made half an error by giving away possession, and before the ball was fully cleared, Armstrong hesitated for a fraction of a second, allowing Walker to send in a low cross that Agūero hit first time through McCarthy’s legs from six yards – I always have my doubts about the accuracy of match stats, but they claim that this was the first shot our keeper actually had to deal with. McCarthy made things harder for himself and those around him by misguidedly picking a up a backpass but DeBruyne’s shot from the free kick came to nothing and the Saints stopper was again in action to save us with a remarkable tip over from Bernardo Silva. Eventually though, and pretty late in the game, he was caught out by a cross from Angeliño that he could only flap into the path of Walker who found the unguarded net. Djnepo had already made a welcome return off the bench and he created a late threat to City who nevertheless trooped off narrow and relieved winners despite their 75% possession and 562 completed passes – stats that this time were very believable.
LSSC Man of the Match: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, continuing out of position as a defensive full back and with the added pressure of an early booking.