Crystal Palace Away Lost 3 – 0
It was all going so well: a strong starting XI at Crystal Palace with only Davis rested out of those you’d like to see playing, and the team were duly passing their way around Selhurst Park – no-one was too surprised that they didn’t much look like scoring as that might have been asking too much. Then calamity! After half an hour Fonte passed across his goal to Forster, which in retrospect sounds a risky manoeuvre but it’s something they do all the time – although on this occasion at a lot closer to the goal line than usual. Not a great moment, then, for Forster to hit an air shot with his left foot, leaving Benteke with the simplest of simple goals. Within minutes it got worse as the sort of set piece defending hitherto associated with Palace this season gave Tomkins the opportunity to double the lead with another close range goal. Saints regrouped to continue to pass the pants off their opponents but that never looked like being enough, and they did seem more direct after what may have been an interesting half time get together – heck, we even managed a shot at goal early in the second period. Sims came on for Hojbjerg which meant he was thought more likely to provide a way into the game than Long – an odd choice which rather limited options when Long’s time eventually came: we took off Austin and Boufal for Long and McQueen, normally a full back but this time asked to gallop down the wing and see what might happen. Of course it was a bit more subtle than that, with Van Dijk given a more forward, if not quite ‘up front,’ role from which he managed a set piece header onto the bar. Fonte had an opportunity from the resulting scramble for a ‘remember me’ moment, but he shot wide. A goal then may have made the closing stages very awkward for the division’s most out of form side but they still had a nice cushion and were even able to improve their position when Puncheon crossed to enable Benteke to score his second and in fact his team’s third from within six yards. This game will always be remembered for Forster’s You Tube moment and the comments from the row behind that it was an ‘accident’ that had looked likely all season may have been more accurate than we thought at the time… the overheard phone conversation at half time suggesting that the keeper should be dropped was just plain bonkers.
LSSC Man of the Match: Soufiane Boufal. Despite his early withdrawal, he had looked our most likely player to conjure up a goal, which made the substitution strategy even more baffling.