Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Saints
At last, the chance for a positive report from a Premier League game! Unchanged Saints made a bright start to the match at QPR, but we have seen this before, and there were no goals from the opening exchanges.
For the first, we had to wait until midway through the half when some mis-hit shots saw the ball bouncing around the danger area before Lambert appeared at the far post to head a close range goal: TV seems to show Lambert apparently uninterested in the proceedings until the ball came his way – clearly untrue, but it did look odd.
Saints were enjoying plenty of possession but there is a new phenomenon that Steven Hawking may care to investigate – how time runs so slowly when Saints have a Premier League lead. After what seemed an age, but actually in first half added time, the lead was doubled when the industrious Puncheon took over from Clyne and hammered a shot beyond Cesar’s dive.
In terms of playing time, the two goal advantage did not last long, as slip-shod marking allowed Hoilett a free header within minutes of the restart. The task suddenly seemed tough, but the truth was that the home side were awful with Saints remaining in charge, and for once an intervention by Nigel in a winning situation could be said to have had a positive effect – Davis on for Ramirez to shore up an already dominant midfield.
A third goal was still needed, but Cesar’s save from Yoshida delayed it until the 83rd minute, when Rangers managed to put Schneiderlin’s low cross through their own goal: apparently by Julio Cesar at the time, but actually adjudged to be courtesy of Ferdinand.
Thus three welcome points were duly achieved with surprising ease, and it was Mark Hughes who had to face the inevitable ‘how long?’ questions after this crunch game.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jason Puncheon, with enough endorsements to make consultation with a panel of experts back in the pub unnecessary – just as well after a decision to sample the (admittedly excellent) 10.2% ale on offer.