Burnley Home Won 3 – 1
The international break caused injury problems for M. Puel with Bertrand the worst casualty, apparently out for some time, while Long had limped out of his last match so saw out the Burnley game from the St. Mary’s bench… where he was joined by Højbjerg, replaced in the starting XI by Clasie who had been overlooked by Holland. Bertrand’s replacement, Targett, sent in an early cross that was met perfectly by Austin, only for Heaton to produce a world class save. Saints fell away after that bright start, not helped by Targett’s own withdrawal which gave a debut to McQueen who was understandably less adventurous down his wing. Burnley’s threats came seldom but they believe they should have had a spot kick for a clumsy challenge by Van Dijk after the Saints centre backs got in each other’s way. TV suggests we may have got away with one there, but the team finished the opening half on top and they certainly outplayed their opponents after the interval. The opening goal was crucial and it came on 52 minutes: Van Dijk won a decisive header from Tadić’s corner but the goal itself was not pretty, with Austin forcing the ball home at the second attempt, although his alertness in front of goal is where he earns his money. Another corner produced a second after an hour, when Redmond fired through the unsighted Heaton. An impressive move down the left allowed McQueen to burst into the box ahead of Gudmundsson whose positioning was never going to enable a fair tackle, even if McQueen’s spectacular tumble fooled no-one – Tadić has learned not to interfere with Austin‘s penalty kick aspirations, and he duly converted for his second and the side’s third. However Tadić was in action at the other end, although quite what he did to concede a penalty for the visitors remains unclear. Erstwhile Saints fan Vokes send a soft kick down the middle and it has to be said that had Forster simply decided to stay where he was for the four (yes, four!) spot kicks he’s faced this season, he’d probably have stopped at least two of them: he didn’t so Vokes scored and the team conceded their first goal in over five and a half games. A second for Burnley would have made for a worrying ending, but it was Saints who looked the more likely next scorers, and perhaps Clasie and substitutes Ward-Prowse and Rodriguez might have done better with the chances that came their way.
LSSC Man of the Match: Steven Davis, but there were plenty of credible candidates.
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