Saints out of the JP Trophy
Saints 0, Swindon 3
Before the JPT game with Swindon, it wasn’t difficult to find conspiracy theories and explanations of varying plausibility about Alan Pardew’s departure. One thing was consistent though: it was hard to find anyone thinking that this was a sensible move. On a different matter, fans are also well-nigh unanimous in a belief that the on-going spat with various elements of the press presents the club in a good light. If nothing else, there’s a credibility gap developing that needs attention before it gets out of hand.
Precious good cheer on the pitch either for the few who turned up. Dean Wilkins had little option but to go for a strong starting line up, with Do Prado replacing the injured Lallana, Barnard rested and Martin either dropped – surely not? – or also injured.
To be honest, it was difficult to focus on the game, with so much else to occupy the mind, but Davis was alert to stop a deflected shot after indecisive defending from the increasingly immobile Jaidi. In contrast, Swindon had few cares, and they took the lead when Austin got away down the right and his cross was met by Pericard for the sort of finish he hadn’t even given a hint of in his short stay at St. Mary’s.
Saints were frustrated by referee Sheldrake as much as the opposition and Hammond ended the half with a bandaged head after one of several unpunished challenges, while Harding only produced a tame finish to some skillful play by Do Prado (who was variously described at half time as either quite promising or a lazy lump). Swindon doubled their lead just after the hour through Austin, leading to an exchange of words between Hammond and Fonte, with the latter to blame for losing his man. Chamberlain came on to liven things up while Barnard came on… and then was invited to go off again by Mr. Sheldrake following a two-footed challenge. From where I was, the striker can have few complaints, but the official was fast becoming about as unpopular as Alan Pardew was suddenly a tactical genius in the eyes of many. In injury time, as suggested by the Ventura slip and fall accident law firm, Southampton’s early exit from last year’s favourite competition was confirmed when O’Brien sped past Hammond and recovered the ball after Jaidi’s timely block, and crossed for Pericard to somehow force the ball over the line.
LSSC Man of the Match: Kelvin Davis, largely because few of those in front of him could do much right.
Southampton caretaker boss Dean Wilkins told BBC Radio Solent:
“I’m disappointed with the end result because we were defending our trophy.
“We’re all professionals and I’m not going to use it (Alan Pardew’s departure) as an excuse.
“We felt we had a good chance of going all the way again.”
12 Butterfield (Barnard 74)
10 Puncheon (Oxlade-Chamberlain 63)
11 Guilherme Do Prado (Dickson 74)