Bournemouth Home Drew 0 – 0
A 5:30 kick off for the Bournemouth return, which at least gave fans more time to remember their way to St. Mary’s for the first home game in eight weeks. It began as a quite open affair and maybe Tadić should have at least got a shooting opportunity on target. But Saints were without Gabbiadini and soon reverted to pre-Manolo type: a dozen or so passes, and we usually seem to have gone twenty yards backwards. After Rodriguez had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside, the visitors came closest to a first half breakthrough after a corner, but Davis booted the ball off the line, and then a home flourish before the break saw Tadić graze the post while Rodriguez had a powerful shot saved by Boruc. I didn’t think much of the first half performance, although a peer group of fans were more positive; the second period, though, was very worrying. Southampton’s problems began on the hour when King got away from Yoshida and set up Afobe for an easy chance that he wasted with a slightly heavy touch followed by a panicky toe-poke as Forster advanced. At the other end Ward-Prowse missed a good, but not as simple, opportunity after Boruc parried Redmond’s shot, but that was his last touch as Saints made an ill-advised pair of substitutions: Rodriguez had a frustrated and frustrating evening, but at least he was always involved, while Ward-Prowse’s importance only became apparent when he left the pitch and Saints completely fell apart in midfield and at the back. An almighty scramble in the box nearly ended in disaster anyway as the loose ball came out to Smith who fired against the post, but a bigger escape came when referee Moss awarded the Cherries the softest of soft penalties. Imagine being a Bournemouth fan in row Z behind the goal; you expected Arter to smash the spot kick into the net, but suddenly you find the ball coming straight at your face after it sailed high over the bar. There were still possibilities at the home end, but Long failed to find the target from the best of them, and preserving the point was the main concern, with McQueen introduced to try to shore up a side who had forgotten how to tackle. Romeu is exempt from such criticisms but deep into added time he was forced into something less legal and conceded a free kick on the edge of the box; happily Bournemouth’s shooting from set pieces was more RFC than AFC and again the ball flew high over the goal to leave the scores level.
LSSC Man of the Match: Oriol Romeu, with even Davis joining the malfunctioning midfielders by the end.
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