Manchester United Away Drew 2 – 2
Yet another first for the visit to Manchester United: watching Saints ‘live’ in the pub. No crowd noises, but no commentary either – not necessarily a bad thing, although it did appear Mattie had been wheeled out for what I’m sure was totally unbiased expert analysis. United’s attacking players have been brushing aside all before them – not surprisingly given not only Greenwood, Fernandes and Rashford in the line-up, but also space for Martial in front of them, according to Sky’s graphics anyway. It was Martial who had the game’s first opportunity after a mistake by Ward-Prowse but somehow he never really looked set and thanks to McCarthy standing big, we survived – indeed within a couple of minutes we were ahead with a goal of commendable simplicity, starting with Ings winning the ball, Redmond crossing it and Armstrong finishing with ease. When Rashford found the net only to find Sian Massey-Ellis’ ever accurate flag raised, you wondered if things were going to go very right for us, but that all changed just before the drinks break, with Martial setting up Rashford and then Martial doing it all on his own to turn the scoreline right round. It led the Man. U ‘fan’ perched on a bar stool (every pub has one!) to predict a ‘cricket score’ – as if… but we did have our fears, didn’t we? No further problems before the break, and indeed after it, despite Martial failing to capitalise on a twin mistake by Stephens and Bednarek, then Ralph made his usual tweak to the attack, bringing on Long for Adams, who had seemed to be enjoying himself in the largest empty stadium in the land. Neither that move, nor Smallbone for Armstrong, seemed to be the one to turn the tide but slowly but surely there was a sense of the visitors getting on top, and OGS’s substitutions of Greenwood and Fernandes reflected it. Ralph responded with Obafemi for Romeu, which risked conceding possession too easily but the team kept going, even if DeGea’s finger tip save from Redmond suggested the late pressure would be in vain. Five minutes added time were signalled before a clash of heads between Walker-Peters and Williams caused a lengthy delay and United having to resume with ten men. We were up to about 97 minutes when Ward-Prowse sent over one final corner, Bednarek got a head to it and Obafemi forced home the equaliser – not the first last-gasp strike for us at not-the-Stretford-End, giving an excellent result that felt like a win. The stats make interesting reading: we had more possession, more shots, including on target, more corners. And we ‘won’ on fouls and cautions too.
LSSC Man of the Match: Oriel Romeu. It seems unlikely that he will ever wear the silly new kit either, so we must conclude that he is keeping out the disgraced Højbjerg on form. The man who replaced him off the bench ended up the hero, though.