Manchester United Home Drew 1 – 1
Ralph named an unchanged starting line-up to face Manchester United – a surprise as it had been a somewhat controversial selection a week before and it didn’t seem very effective in the opening minutes now when Maguire bounced a header onto the bar and Salisu was forced into a desperate clearance. It’s only thanks to TV coverage that I can comment on this incident, being amongst the thousands still queuing outside the ground – this being my second queue of the day at St. Mary’s, after being amongst an even larger group of disenfranchised season ticket holders whose flimsy bit of plastic for 2021/22 hadn’t arrived in time; difficult times on and off the pitch, it seems. In the game itself, Southampton were certainly second best, but not as obviously so as you might have thought against a side who had hit five last time out. Then on thirty minutes we went ahead with a shot by Adams finding the corner, thanks to a reflection off de Paula Santos who seems to have been credited with an own goal under his nom de guerre of Fred. Of course Saints had taken a lead into half time at Everton, only to concede early in the second period, and that might be why a tactical change was made at the break, replacing Walcott with Bernarek as Stephens moved across to full back while Livramento was employed further forward. It didn’t stop United drawing level within ten minutes when Greenwood slotted a loose ball home, TV replays showing that a perceived deflection didn’t actually occur, and McCarthy had somehow just got himself into a bad position. Here we seemed to be going again, another winning position about to be turned into a losing one… only Southampton displayed unexpected resolution and in the 70th to 80th minute period, they suddenly appeared the team more likely to go ahead. Adam Armstrong had the golden opportunity to break the deadlock, but a commendably early shot gave de Gea the chance to save, a Ward-Prowse free kick was saved and a corner also caused panic in the United defence but Armstrong again couldn’t convert. In the end, though, our team and fans seemed to be the ones happier with the eventual draw.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jack Stephens, not least because he was the player most prepared to stop Fernandes taking over as referee.