Saints demolish Leeds
Saints 3, Leeds 1
Footie’s back! And earlier than ever (or so it seems), sandwiched between Carberry and McKenzie batting Hampshire into the upper reaches of cricket’s all-time records on Friday and the county securing a place in Finals Day of the 20 over format on Sunday.
Saints had other things on their minds, of course, and approached the opening fixture with Leeds in a very business-like manner. The first 10 minutes of this early evening kick-off were littered with some heavy tackles from the visitors, so Hammond would have been surprised at the lack of a challenge as he strode forward and fired a fine shot past Lonergan.
The Leeds defence was soon found wanting again when Lallana appeared on the right, and once he cut back against a naïve defender his left foot finish was almost a formality.
The same player might have made it three soon after, after good work from Guly and a sublime first touch himself, but Lonergan made the block. Leeds adopted a more positive approach in the second period in an attempt to put pressure on Martin, but it was Saints who went further ahead with a nice strike from Connolly, having been set-up by Lallana.
United finally caused serious problems when substitute Paynter went clear but Davis saved well, and then Gradel threw a tantrum after what looked to be a blatant penalty dive went both unrewarded and unpunished.
One of our own subs, Chaplow, nearly wound up proceedings in style but Lonergan’s finger tips pushed his shot onto the post.
In the very last seconds a rare encouraging start to a campaign was slightly spoiled when Martin raised his arm to a cross and Gradel finally got, and took, his chance from the spot.
LSSC Man of the Match: Dean Hammond – his goal in particular edged out Cork. Our acquisition of Jack Cork is the envy of many of the club’s peers, and a good start to his partnership with Hammond bodes well.
10 Guly (Chaplow 63)
14 Hammond (Schneiderlin 75)
22 Connolly (De Ridder 62)