Saints 4-2 Norwich City
Injuries left Saints without both Cork and Wanyama to face Norwich, but Ward-Prowse was available to fill their role. A different matter was the decision to include Ramirez, with Lambert the player to make way.
Saints often look rather predictable when they pass the ball all over the place while waiting for a moment of magic from Lallana, so you can see the attraction in Ramirez, and indeed he provided the through ball for Schneiderlin to beat the offside trap and score the opener on five minutes.
However, there’s always a price to pay for omitting Lambert, and the lack of a proper target man produced a disjointed attacking performance whilst the defence got themselves into a mess several times as they struggled to find an opening upfield.
Manager Pochettino got fed up with all this and introduced Lambert after 55 minutes, and almost immediately it was 2-0 as Rickie took advantage of a defensive mistake by comfortably rounding Yobo and then beating Ruddy.
Lambert was also involved in the move that created a chance for another substitute, Do Prado, and when Ruddy made the block, he was alert enough to pass to Rodriguez for another close range goal.
The game would have been well and truly over had Lambert buried another opportunity or had Rodriguez’s speculative shot from distance done better than hit the frame.
Still, you can relax when three up with five minutes to play against less than mediocre opposition… and Fonte did just that, only for his back pass to go straight to Elmander for 3-1.
Then, almost from the kick off, Norwich scored again when Snodgrass shot home after Boruc had saved from Elmander.
Beats me why they do it, but Saints used up their final substitution as things got desperate, only to have Lovren limp out of the action and leave Lambert having to fill in at the back during the last frantic minutes.
There was certainly time for another goal, but Saints scored it, with Davis scampering clear after Olsson fell, and Gallagher eventually forced the ball past Ruddy and just about over the line.
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert for an influential 35 minutes’ work.
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