Lincoln Home EFL Cup 4th Round Won 2 – 1
Did you enjoy your winter World Cup? Of course you did, mainly due to the quality of football, but the Germans going home early helped as well. Serves them right for having such a stupid kit… oh, hang on, though…
Back to reality and a home debut at last for our God-fearing new manager – Nathan Jones, you’ve been gone too long. Jones defied Carabao Cup tradition and went with possibly his strongest available team to face mighty Lincoln, although Lavia was an unexplained and unwelcome absence. It meant Bazunu rather than McCarthy in goal, and within two minutes he was picking the ball out of the net: the assistant’s flag looked as though it might save the keeper’s blushes, but there was no reason to disallow a perfectly good goal and worse was to come for Bazunu when he was ‘credited’ as the scorer. Blame has to be shared, though, as the goal came from a poorly defended corner, and this as Saints were lining up with three centre backs, but wing back Maitland-Niles deserves an especial mention for a bizarre assist. We waited for Premier League class to tell, but the only moment to recall in the first half came after 22 minutes when Elyounoussi sent oven an inviting cross which Adams buried with a nice header. Bella-Kotchap had required attention for a head injury and failed to appear for the second period – there was an improvement of sorts but the number of miscued passes and incidents of poor control was becoming embarrassing, at least before the usual 60th minute clutch of substitutions, including Walcott, the only player to look comfortable with the ball, and a move to an orthodox back four. On 76 minutes, Saints went ahead, a messy affair that started with a nice Walcott cross and ended with Adams forcing the ball home from close range; visiting goalkeeper Rushworth had no chance with Adams’ first goal but at least he was part of this scramble as hitherto his only contribution had been in running the clock down quite shamelessly. Walcott’s own brief contribution was now ended by injury before the game could restart and Edozie came on to make his mark, one that should have been capped by a first Saints goal, but he failed to find an open net after Elyounoussi had borne down on Rushworth in added time and with no defender in sight. Somehow this comic miss was to be matched even later into the addition when Adams tried to round off his evening with a hat trick but made a mess of beating Rushworth, despite plenty of available assistance and again no defender in sight.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
10. Che Adams, but he might have faced automatic exclusion from the short list had that late miss affected the result.
32. Theo Walcott, for barely 15 minutes work. No, I’m not being serious – please don’t vote for him.
8. James Ward-Prowse, only to complete short list really – please don’t vote for him either.