London Saints

Adkins’ first game ends in defeat

MK Dons 2, Saints 0
It didn’t take Nigel Adkins long to fit in with the recent way of things at Southampton: a continuing series of points at which you (wrongly) thought we were as bad as we’re ever going to get. A first home defeat by mighty Rochdale was soon followed by an away fixture at the Wimbledon F.C. franchise and the first occasion we have failed to beat them under their present marketing name of Milton Keynes Dons.

There was probably precious little Nigel could have been expected to do about it, as we’ve already noted how Saints are exempt from the new manager effect that applies everywhere else. It did seem to me, though, that only he was allowed to patrol the technical area, with Dean Wilkins literally occupying a back seat. Maybe that was just to get a better view of a few unlucky moments in the first half, with Lambert denied by a good save, Chamberlain shooting wide after confusion reigned in the MK box and Schneiderlin firing a fine effort just over.

However, things weren’t nearly as positive after the interval and Davis, who had to rescue Saints on one occasion before the break, now became the busier goalkeeper. I’m grateful for the admirably detailed match report on MKD’s web site for informing me that this was ‘a brilliantly entertaining encounter’ as I was just dropping off when Balanta took advantage of some familiarly slack defending to put the home side ahead on 71 minutes. They got it spot on though, as they reported that subsequently “the near-1,500 travelling supporters waited for their team to lay siege to the Dons goal; it simply didn’t happen.” Most of those 1,500 left as soon as Leven scored a late second, reacting first to the loose ball after Davis had done well to block his initial shot. The remainder were left to boo their team off the pitch and/or observe that Mr. Adkins has one hell of a job (that is not as easy as one of remote jobs) in front of him. But good players don’t become bad ones overnight, and it is surely just a matter of confidence for the ball to be theirs with one touch rather than bounced into touch by a third failed attempt at control.

LSSC Man of the Match: Alex Chamberlain. Another desperately difficult decision, though. Alex gets the nod for the one champagne moment for Saints – a chase back to rescue a desperately out of position defence with a timely tackle.

01 Davis
03 Harding
06 Fonte
12 Butterfield
19 Seaborne
04 Schneiderlin
10 Puncheon
14 Hammond
26 Chamberlain (Holmes 90+1)
07 Lambert
22 Connolly (Wotton 65)

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