London Saints

Newcastle Home Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg Lost 0 – 1

One of my earliest real disappointments in football, not just a defeat but a crushing disappointment, came in a two-legged Inter Cities Fairs Cup tie against Newcastle – we lost thanks to a late away goal counting double after dominating at The Dell. There was a chance for revenge over two legs that wasn’t taken in something called the Texaco Cup, so here we go again in the Carabao Cup. Both transfer window signings, Alcarez and Oršić, were included in a line-up that excluded Lavia, Adams and Adam Armstrong and, rather as expected, Southampton were content to concede possession to the visitors and at times be grateful for some wayward shooting from decent opportunities – plus a disallowed ‘goal’ at the end of a scramble from which the Mags should really have scored legitimately. That doesn’t mean Saints didn’t pose a threat of their own and a chilly night got a bit warmer when Pope had to rush from his goal to head clear from Djenepo, but there were suspicions that he could have avoided the sort of collision that forced our forward from the pitch with apparent concussion. In fact things had heated up already when Ćaleta-Car took out Amirón with a tackle that certainly warranted parental guidance if not an X certificate. Newcastle began to put pressure on Salisu on Southampton’s left flank in the second half and Joelinton on particular was guilty of a bad close range miss, but he was to score what proved to be the game’s only goal from a similar position and with the end of leg one in sight. It seemed to be against the run of play at the time, but it didn’t stop Saints going down the other end and getting the ball past Pope via an ugly finish from Adam Armstrong at the end of a messy play. Surely there’s no VAR in the League Cup, is there? it seems that there is at this stage and after a lengthy delay, the ball was deemed to have touched Armstrong’s arm, and that’s enough under the current rules – to be fair I never actually saw the referee award the goal, suggesting that he may have decided against Saints even without the review. Tempers were becoming frayed, particularly after a bad challenge by Lyanco and then a second bookable offence by Ćaleta-Car that meant a very late surge would not have been sensible by the ten men – try again with eleven up north, and hope for overdue better luck at the business end. 

Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:   

9. Adam Armstrong. He came on for Djenepo and seemed to add a bit of impetus to the team. 

26. Carlos Alcarez. Plenty of nice touches along with a bit of Argentinian steel in his full debut. 

27. Ibrahima Diallo. He’s improved so much over the last few games and is possibly the first name on the manager’s team sheet at present. 

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