Leicester Home Won 1 – 0
Principal casualties of the Grimsby debacle were, not surprisingly, centre backs Lyanco and Ćaleta-Car, plus Perraud, although that may just have been matching horses for courses. Also absent from the line-up against Leicester was McCarthy, this time a case of maintaining faith in Premier League ever-present Bazunu rather than blame for failing to stop penalty kicks. Also back was fit again (allegedly) Adams, preferred to Onuachu, while Sulemana’s role was again difficult to define. Certainly Saints looked more menacing down his opposite flank and they should have scored when Maitland-Niles’ run created an overload, but Walcott’s shot was blocked. A Walcott break down the same wing won Saints a 32nd minute penalty when Castagne handled his cross, but Ward-Prowse’s direction seemed telegraphed and Ward saved at a convenient height. The disappointment didn’t last long as a nice touch from Adams sent Alcaraz clear and the resulting goal never looked in doubt… at least until a VAR review for offside against Adams, but for once a close call went in our favour. Alcaraz had already celebrated with a badly executed knee slide and injured himself in the process, being replaced five minutes after the restart: doh! No mention yet of Leicester, but they had the lion’s share of possession and Iheanacho ought to have scored with a first half header. He was guilty of a more glaring missed headed chance early in the second period and then fired onto the roof of the net after a difficult backpass had caused Bazunu to clear straight to the Leicester man. A second goal was what all a supportive home crowd (but nowhere near the recorded 30,000) were craving, but substitutes Elyounoussi, Mara and the two Armstrongs couldn’t create an opening, while Maddison was able to pull plenty of strings as well as trying to referee the game. He won a dangerous free kick well into added time and we were grateful that Bella-Kotchap headed in clear for the first of a succession of corners that saw Ward’s yellow shirt a permanent feature in the opposite box. A cross following the last of these saw centre back Soutar heading against the bar after Bazunu had ill-advisedly come for a cross: a first home clean sheet for the keeper, despite two bad errors – he has his blocking colleagues to thank for the shut-out as Leicester somehow failed to record a shot on target.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
3. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but it may have been his backpass that could have set up an equaliser.
8. James Ward-Prowse. The penalty miss blots his copybook, but happily it didn’t count for much.
35. Jan Bednarek. Our defenders’ inconsistencies are so frustrating, with Bednarek’s dismal efforts at Leeds forgotten here.