Leicester Home Drew 1 – 1
Still no Bertrand to face Leicester in the League, and according to my theory at least, that’s what leads to McCarthy continuing in goal. In front of him, Stephens took over as emergency left back while Diallo missed out, along with the injured Ings. That line-up made a bright opening with Walker-Peters finishing well, although not quite beating the offside trap, and then Tella scuffed a shot that should really have found the net. Through no fault of his own, that was his last contribution as the starting XI soon became X when a heavy touch by Vestergaard caused him to stretch out a long leg to guide the ball towards his keeper – at least that’s how it seemed to most, but referee Jones decided he’d also made sure he made contact with Vardy, and if so, the only outcome could be a red card. With commentary turned off, as usual, I waited to see a call for Jones to review the video monitor, but that didn’t happen, and off went the Great Dane… and so too did Tella, replaced by Salisu, once Maddison had shot the free kick wide. At least Vardy was badly injured, though? There’s little proof that he was, and circumstantial evidence that he’d been miking the situation for all it was worth; maybe I’m just displaying a personal prejudice – but anyway what kind of wuss wears gloves in a game played just hours before the beginning of May? The ten men protected McCarthy so well that over 30 minutes were played before he had a direct shot to deal with, and the first half was successfully negotiated. The same pattern continued after the break, and on the hour Armstrong ventured downfield and won a free kick near the corner. Without Vestergaard or Ings to aim for, JW-P duly found Armstrong for a shot that probably wouldn’t have caused much damage, but it was parried by the raised gloved hand of Iheanacho for a spot kick, converted by Ward-Prowse past Schmeichel’s right glove. At the other end, Leicester needed a cooler hand on the trigger, and after a couple of corners thanks to good saves, they found one in centre back Evans who found a gap between Bednarek and Stephens to head home. Still a long time to go, and didn’t it pass slowly? At Tottenham, it was the false hope that hurt most and history looked likely to repeat itself on 83 minutes when Vardy created a situation that he normally turns into a goal… this time, though, McCarthy’s left foot got in the way, and finally, finally, Saints got the point they’d worked so hard for. No doubt Sky TV continually reminded viewers that Saints also played nearly all of the two 0-9 disasters with ten men, so maybe we’ve been working on such an eventuality.
LSSC Man of the Match: Alex McCarthy. Fortunately his dropped cross in the 89th minute is no more than a mere footnote.