Fulham Away Lost 2 – 1
Three centre backs to face Fulham, with Maitland-Niles and Walker-Peters seemingly operating as full backs; according my maths that adds up to five defenders, and according to my logic, the latest desperate reshuffle to find a winning formula. Who knows, it might have worked, and Adams went close early on, but it’s widely believed that the capricious football gods favour the in-form team – that hasn’t been the Saints for some time, while Fulham are over-achieving at the moment. On the half hour, Pereira’s shot from a corner was going wide (but deliberately into traffic, to be fair) until it hit Ward-Prowse and sailed into the top corner. Of course there are no football gods, instead you make your own luck, and Southampton’s defending from a clever set piece routine wasn’t great. It was, though, the last thing Jones’s charges needed and neither they, nor, almost as worryingly, the travelling fans, seemed to have a belief that they might turn things round. We’d all forgotten about Ward-Prowse, although he does need someone to fall over in a convenient place first, and that was Adams in the 56th minute; JW-P’s shot from going on 30 yards went over the wall but not the bar and Leno couldn’t get across. Wild celebrations might have been replicated a minute or so later but Leno saved at the feet of Edozie before Fulham turned to their bench to attempt to regain control. It was later, with time beginning to run out, that Southampton’s second substitution brought on Perraud for Edozie – understandable as the team need to take something from a PL game, but was it the right way to approach the closing stages? Maybe there are gods after all as the home team’s more positive approach was rewarded with the clock showing 88 minutes, and again it came from a corner routine – this time Palhinha headed home from close range after a flick on at the near post. Immediately on came the three remaining Southampton replacements but now players are allowed to kick off into their own half, it’s hard to remember whether the ball ever made it back into opposition territory. Instead, Lyanco made a complete hash of a high ball, leading to he and Bazunu between them taking out James and giving Mitrović the chance to add a third from the spot. At least Bazunu’s save may give him some much needed confidence.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
8. James Ward-Prowse. A goal at each end, but the good one was the Southampton highlight.
10. Ché Adams. A solid afternoon’s shift, but no reward.
37. Armel Bella-Kotchap. Good to see his interceptions and tackles again, but poor distribution let him down somewhat.