London Saints

Plymouth Away Won 1 – 2

Smallbone was always going to miss out at Plymouth, but also losing Alcaraz through injury was an unexpected blow; in came Charles and Adam Armstrong dropped back to allow Adams to operate alone up front. League One Champions Argyle started brightly and continued to pose problems throughout, especially down the flanks, but Southampton’s familiar passing game soon imposed itself on this lunchtime encounter. Creating ‘expected goal’ opportunities was difficult and the best efforts of the first half were probably penalty appeals, the first, for a foul on Walker-Peters, appearing the more likely in live action but the second, for a hand in Edozie’s face, looked the better shout on TV. It’s been suggested that Saints tweaked their formation at the break, and we certainly began more positively and scored within five minutes: Tella fired into the top corner as he had a Sheffield, but this time there was no deflection to cause someone else to take the credit. At this point a smoke flare was let off from outside the London Saints contingent but somehow found its way into it, so attention was distracted as Plymouth replied almost immediately: a slip by Manning on halfway let Whittaker go clear and his low cross was well met by Hardie at the near post. Hardie thought he was going to contribute to the game again when he went down as Bazunu came out to save but referee David Webb (a good Saints name for those of a certain generation) gave a free kick and a caution for simulation. Amo-Ameyaw for Edozie indicated Southampton’s willingness to chase all three points while a series of home substitutions suggested that the hosts were the more content at 1-1. Adam Armstrong drew a fine save from Hazard at a free kick and Stuart Armstrong clipped the crossbar before making way for Aribo, but Whittaker was always getting the better of Manning and came close to what would probably have been a winner when he struck Bazunu’s near post. Nine minutes of added time, mostly for injuries to Tella, allowed Saints to press right until the end and half way through them they forced a corner: Stephens headed the ball on, Hazard saved from Adam Armstrong at close range but Adams was on hand to chest down the loose ball and score his third of the season. Because of goal celebrations, the game clock had clicked past the 100 minute mark before we could go home happy, with Hazard seemingly now encamped up front for a series of crosses that Bazunu bravely punched away.

Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from: 

5. Jack Stephens, who probably had more touches than anyone else, contributed well defensively and emerged with half an assist as well.
9. Adam Armstrong – a full assist for him, and close with post JW-P free kick duties.
24. Shea Charles – an excellent full debut in a critical role.

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