London Saints

Manchester United Away Lost 9 – 0

BT covered the return game with Manchester United, and the monthly subscription hasn’t run out – a piece of luck, eh? It was tempting to switch off anyway once Southampton announced a team now even more deprived of players through injuries sustained in the latest game, and also missing Valery and Vokins following deadline loan deals that led to a run out for Ramsey at full back, while there was a first start for Jankevitz. Not a touch, a touch of the ball at least, for the Swiss youngster who was rightly dismissed in the second minute for a bad foul on McTominay. Playing with ten, even for virtually all the game, shouldn’t be a total disaster, but, apart from two goalkeepers, most of the Southampton bench were barely out of home-schooling, while Redmond’s absence from the fray for 70 minutes suggests an injury that hasn’t gone away. Ralph could only rearrange what was already on the pitch, so Ings found himself on the left of midfield – not an ideal situation and on 17 minutes, Ings failed to pick up Wan-Bissaka who helped himself to the first of what turned out to be an avalanche. Rashford scored the second for a team who didn’t really need the assistance of a Bednarek o.g. for their third, and Cavani helped himself to make it 4-0 with half time still some distance away. The first half could have been even worse after referee Dean pointed to the spot for a foul on Cavani by Ramsey that was right on the line… or right just short of the line after a lengthy VAR check. Following the turnaround, Saints actually had the ball in the net through Adams but this time VAR went against us – heaven knows why, after the explanations about Ings’s sleeve at the end of the last game, but there you are. Bednarek hardly covered himself with glory when Martial made it 5-0, and no-one at all looked very good as McTominay scored a sixth just seconds later (or so it seemed). Adams wasted a chance to reduce the arrears before fate put an end to Bednarek’s awful night… only it wasn’t fate was it? It was Mike Dean, who probably polishes up his red card each time he referees Southampton, abetted by his VAR ally, Mr. Scott. The controversy came when Martial got clear in the area and fell under Bednarek’s challenge; it looked a marginal penalty decision, but then after long consideration in front of the screen, Dean decided to brandish ‘old red’ as well. Fernandes scored as Bednarek marched off, but at least time was now running out for the nine men. Time enough to concede another couple, though, as those left on the pitch threw in the towel: Martial, again, and James on 90+3 completed the scoring. The second red card has now been rescinded, which is hardly a vote of confidence in the competence of the officials, and at least we don’t lose yet another player as matches continue to come round all too quickly. 

LSSC Man of the Match: Yes, there was one, but it’s certainly not the coach who couldn’t produce a practical solution to a difficult situation… and who might have thought twice over the weekend about letting two fringe players go out. Stuart Armstrong did all he could in an unfamiliar central role. 

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