London Saints

Newcastle Away Carabao Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg Lost 2 – 1

The Premier League always shows due deference to really big money, so Newcastle are still allowed to stick visiting fans in the seats no-one wants. Other clubs can’t get away with this, but nevertheless there was a decent turnout for the worst view in the League in a match where we were one down before a ball had been kicked. Maybe many were there to see James Bree’s debut while Mr. Jones had (for him) a new face at centre back, so in came Bednarek to start. So much for detailed planning: within five minutes, we were a goal down on the night as well, the sort good defences don’t concede, but it’s hard to point the finger at a single individual as Trippier freed Longstaff for a shot that some goalkeepers may have saved, but rarely Bazunu. With wingbacks Bree and Walker-Peters (on the left) being badly exposed, the Mags soon struck again, this time down our right and again finished by Longstaff – frankly, though, a good goal, and that has to be respected. It looked like being a hard night, but astonishingly Saints hit back with a very good goal of their own – an individual effort by Adams who shot home from 20 yards, the first goal conceded by Pope since (get this!) Perraud scored for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton. Saints lost Walker-Peters through injury before the break, and they re-organised again at half time, bringing on Perraud for Lyanco (having moved to a back four, with Edozie on for Walker-Peters) and Lavia for Alcarez. It could, and probably should, have had an almost immediate effect when Lavia freed Adam Armstrong who was denied by Pope; Armstrong did little wrong, but at the top level, an extra touch cost him – that’s why we’ve panic bought in the January window. It was a huge moment as the tie would have been wide open with a 3-2 aggregate and the chasing team in the ascendency, but despite a much improved performance for the second 45 minutes, and a series of further substitutions, Saints couldn’t produce another ‘expected goal’ opportunity. With ten or so minutes remaining, Guimarães attempted a tackle on Edozie that looked innocuous from our position in the heavens, but on TV looked horrendous, as seen by referee Tierney after a VAR intervention, and the Brazilian was rightly sent off. Had Ward-Prowse produced one of his better free kicks, we may still have had a big finish, but it was not to be. 

Man of the match:

10. Ché Adams. Yes, for the goal. 

35. Jan Bednarek. May be scraping the barrel somewhat here. 

45. Roméo Lavia, for making a difference for 45 minutes. 

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