Coventry City Away Drew 1 – 1
Downes was still unavailable for the visit to Coventry but there was an unenforced change as Smallbone came in for Alcaraz. Otherwise it was same old, same old: pass, pass, pass, with the only save either goalkeeper made in the opening period coming from Bazunu in the closing stages, and this despite Southampton having over 70% possession stats. The team did force a number of corners (nine across the whole game) but the preferred option seemed to be to take them short and begin the whole labourious process over again; true, neither Bednarek nor Harwood-Bellis are prolific scorers, but surely we might have tried giving the Sky Blues something different to think about? We had better players than them in every position, so it’s so frustrating not to be able to turn that advantage into scoring chances. Cov would have been happy enough with playing second fiddle in the first half and then they came at Saints as play resumed with O’Hare clipping the crossbar with a shot. It was a warning not heeded as an intricate move out of defence ended with Manning caught in possession and the ball found its way to Wright who beat Harwood-Bellis far too easily before firing past Bazunu. One thing that could be gleaned from ITV’s half-arsed EFL highlights coverage is that Coventry almost never concede at home so this was a serious problem. The holding midfielder, Charles, was sacrificed as wingers Fraser and Edozie were introduced, also allowing Aribo to move into a more comfortable central role, and on 67 minutes the wide men brought the equaliser with Adam Armstrong heading on Fraser’s cross for Edozie to finish at the far post. For a while it looked as though Southampton were capable of going on to win the game but by the end many supporters were grateful for the final whistle, if only out of relief for not having to endure anymore of our increasingly audacious attempts to play out of defence. Not a great advertisement for the Championship in general and Russball in particular.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
2. Kyle Walker-Peters. Although it’s not his prime role, he often seems the most likely player to trouble opposition defences.
16. Will Smallbone. On his day, he can look the part in the Championship, and this was one of his good days.
35. Jan Bednarek. Like KW-P, he should be head and shoulders ahead of anyone else in his position in this league, and today he showed it again.