EFL Cup Fulham Away Won 0 – 1
You never know what to expect in the League Cup and the game at Fulham was Ralph’s debut in this competition, so who would he select? Quite a strong team as it turned out, given that Bertrand and Valery are carrying injuries and you feel that Vestergaard doesn’t really fancy two games in a week, but it was a surprise to see Højbjerg drafted into service at left back. Up front we had Redmond, Djenepo, Boufal and Obefemi, so plenty of guys to have a run at a Championship defence, but it was the pace of Kamara who caused an early problem, forcing Danso into a cautionable offence, and then Decordova-Reid beat McCarthy as the resulting free kick hit the bar, while Christie forced the keeper into a save as the move continued. That happened to be the best we saw from much-changed Cottagers but at the interval the game was showing every indication of being decided by spot kicks as Saints never quite got it right in attack. Maybe there were some tactical tweaks, or perhaps strong words in the dressing room, but things were much better in the second half. Romeu had a great chance to break the deadlock after Saints forced a rash defensive play,only to shoot too close to Rodák, but what turned out to be the decisive goal wasn’t far away and it came from a close range finish by Obefemi from Redmond’s cross. That shouldn’t have been the end of the scoring as Southampton continued to press, while McCarthy had a quiet time. Ralph went for experience off the bench with Yoshida, Long and Ings all introduced, the latter guilty of two poor attempts to finish, abetted by Long’s follow up on one occasion;ultimately, though, the manager would have regretted his selection strategy as Redmond went off with what looked a bad injury. Still, we’re through – let’s hope for a nice visit to a League One club in the next round, eh?
LSSC Man of the Match: Kevin Danso in his preferred position of centre back. That 7th minute booking at least showed his commitment.