Saints 2-0 Barnsley
Early spring weather usually makes people feel good about the world in general, and over 24,000 punters left fortress St. Mary’s in a happy mood after a win against Barnsley and with news of a slip up by West Ham filtering through.
However, it wasn’t as straightforward as form and the result might suggest, with the visitors causing plenty of first half problems while Saints struggled to come to terms with a change to a formation that you would have thought to be tried and trusted.
Chaplow’s exertions a week previously seem to have ruled him out for two home games now, and Do Prado took his place, but lined up somewhere between the front two and Hammond, Schneiderlin and Lallana in midfield. I think Saints miss the option of a wide player on both flanks, and they didn’t produce anything very fluid until a somewhat unexpected breakthrough on 36 minutes – Lallana applied the coup de grace after Championship player of the year Lambert had headed the ball down into his path for a first time shot. That helped things along no end, and Saints eventually accumulated 57% of overall possession according to those often misleading stats.
A second goal really did make life more comfortable, as Barnsley seemed to conclude that a comeback was beyond them once Lee had got round the back and tee-ed up Lallana for his second. Mr. Adkins allowed himself the luxury of replacing Lambert, Lee and Lallana before the end, leaving us with Sharp and Connolly up front, but the Tykes very nearly caused the finger to reach for the panic button when Rose headed a free kick against the post.
Most of the action, though, was at the other end and Connolly might have profited from Steele’s parry of a thunderous shot from Hooiveld amongst several near things.
LSSC Man of the Match: Adam Lallana, with the goals now arriving after missed chances in the last game.
20 Lallana (Sharp – 80′)
07 Lambert (Cork – 61′ )
19 Lee (Connolly – 65′ )