Queens Park Rangers Home Won 2 -1
There were enforced changes to the attack that Manager Martin sent out to face QPR: Tella out of the country before a lucrative transfer and Adams with his head seemingly in another country as a result of speculation over something similar. That gave a first start for Awo-Ameyaw while Adam Armstrong was restored to his ‘up front’ role. An enforced new look to the defence as well after 25 minutes when Stephens limped off to be replaced not by Bella-Kotchap (although he was on the bench) but Downes for his debut as Charles moved to centre back. Soon afterwards Saints took the lead when Edozie‘s shot somehow went through Begović who for once didn’t respond positively to reminders about his dubious footballing past in Hampshire. We now know how vulnerable the Southampton defence is after their colleagues score a goal, but at least this time they held out for two somewhat desperate minutes before Colback found the target with a bobbling shot from outside the box that beat Bazunu’s latest impersonation of McCarthy. There was a third Armstrong on the pitch for this encounter – Sinclair of that ilk – who, after Stephens went off, decided he could do better than just be a nuisance, and indeed had the ball in the net, but from an offside position after Bazunu had done rather well to deny Chair after the Moroccan had strolled his way unchallenged through to a shooting position. For all the home side’s possession (74%), Rangers were looking dangerous every time they came forward and ended up outshooting their opponents (11 to 4, and 5 to 3 with on target efforts). Bazunu managed three pretty good saves and one of the off target strikes clipped the bar so the visitors will be disappointed with their return, but bad finishing was really to blame, especially from Kolli in added time. This was after Saints had taken the lead thanks to an excellent strike from Adam Armstrong, volleying home after an average first touch caused the ball to sit up nicely for him. By then Mara had come on for the disappointing Alcaraz and Awo-Ameyaw had made way for Fraser to make his debut – if there’s going to be an annoying little so-and-so on the pitch, better that he’s on your side than the other and, to be fair, he did rather well. And to be fair to Awo-Ameyaw, Edozie, who had a good first half, fared no better against the visitors’ left back when he switched flanks.
It wasn’t convincing, but a win is a win, and a home win at that!
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
4. Flynn Downes – a lot to be pleased about on debut.
9. Adam Armstrong whose general play looks more confident now he’s found his scoring level.
24. Shea Charles, in both midfield and defence.