London Saints

Derby FA Cup 3rd round Replay Home 2 – 2 after extra time. Lost 3 – 5 on penalties

Saints were without three suspended players for the Cup replay with Derby – even the ‘ale house’ teams struggled to match that. It left us with three potential weak points in the line-up (Ramsey, Johnson and Elyounoussi) and with our best player, Redmond, benched and their best player, Wilson, back from injury, the visitors should have been favourites. It took them a while to realise that, but the Rams began to look the better side and on 39 minutes they made the most of a poor Southampton clearance and pretty well passed the ball into the net via Bryson. The teams were ready to kick off, but after a lengthy delay, play was brought back for a tight offside call revealed by VAR, provoking more debate about its use. Of our dodgy players, Ramsey was found to be sound, Elyounoussi just about OK but Johnson more of a problem. He had produced a couple of inviting crosses, one of which should have been converted, first by Long who shot at the keeper and then by Armstrong who shanked the rebound. Ultimately, though, it was Johnson’s caution that caused a replacement at half time, and as that was Redmond, the game’s dynamic changed. Saints took the lead when Elyounoussi got away on the right and again Long and Armstrong had chances: this time with headers, Long’s effort cleared off the line and Armstrong’s follow up going in. It was soon 2-0 when Stephens sent Redmond clear to finish in some style and with just 20 minutes remaining, thoughts obviously turned towards how to make it to Accrington for a 12:30 kick off. But of course Redmond had made it 2-0 at Derby and when Soares needlessly pulled down Bogle, free kick expert Wilson duly obliged his side – the ball going straight in, so VAR was not used to penalise Derby’s offside forwards and spare Gunn’s blushes. A different game now, and the inevitable equaliser from Waghorn’s free header asked questions of the otherwise impressive Stephens and Ramsey. The game was now wide open and both teams had chances in added time before we headed into an extra period that neither manager would have wanted. And the final 30 minutes went the same way, Lawrence heading over for the Rams, Redmond in turn foiled by Roos’s save. Neither goalkeeper laid glove on any of the penalties, but Redmond, who had given so much in this tie, put Southampton’s second high and wide and Accrington Stanley will just have to wait for an opportunity to host the Saints.
LSSC Man of the Match: James Ward-Prowse, entrusted with the first penalty as well.

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