FA Cup 3rd round Huddersfield Home Won 2 – 0
It’s not always easy to sympathise with the professionals’ complaints about tiredness, but a fixture list that has provided four games in 15 days does seem excessive. Far better this year to have foregone the winter break and do without the Twixmas Saturday game instead, but that would have meant the PL having the cojones to argue with TV’s big bucks. The upshot of the footie fest was another blow for our beloved FA Cup with Ralph making ten changes (Ward-Prowse’s ever present record still intact) to his starting line-up to face Huddersfield, but he can’t really be blamed after that exhilarating win against Spurs. Sensible pricing attracted an attendance of over 20,000 which may have surprised those who closed the Chapel End. The visitors seemed to think they weren’t allowed to go near the empty seats, such was the extent of their attacking ambitions in the opening period, but that left pedestrian Saints up against the massed ranks of a team looking to recover from a five goal thrashing last time out. Their defence was eventually breached just before the interval with Long finding the net after an assist from Smallbone but despite the lack of a flag, VAR rightly ruled him offside. Then, with Saints appealing for a penalty at one end, Town suddenly sparked into life and Bacuna should have done better with their only serious attempt of the half. We didn’t have to wait long (in playing time) for a goal, though, when on 47 minutes Danso, playing at right back, found space on his wing and his overhit cross was kept in play by Long with a good header into the danger area where Smallbone volleyed home against a defence in some disarray – in truth most of the game rather passed the debutant by, but he’ll certainly remember that moment. Now faced with a deficit. the visitors made a couple of changes in a bid to get back on terms but their best hopes seemed to lie with one of Vestergaard’s mistakes, and they were extinguished on 87 mins when Adams freed left back Vokins who marked his first start with a spectacular finish off the bar, helped by a deflection off Simpson – Adams would have been hoping for similar fortune himself, but this assist and a saved first half effort were all he had to show for his endeavours.
LSSC Man of the Match: Maya Yoshida. Not his most difficult afternoon, but still scope to get things wrong – as demonstrated by Vestergaard.