London Saints

Middlesbrough Home Drew 1 – 1

Most may have had two weeks off but our international players only had a few days rest before the Good Friday fixture with Middlesbrough and those involved in the Wales play-off (Bednarek and Brooks) were excused starts – however both Scots Stuart Armstrong and Adams were included. Adam Armstrong isn’t going to be expecting a call from Gareth Southgate anytime soon but he does benefit from the extra time given by Championship defenders and he was able to give Saints an early lead when allowed to pick his spot following good work by Sulemana and a botched clearance by Howson. Unfortunately Adams was having one of his off days and being caught in possession inside his own half might have led to an equaliser but Aziz shot against the post with Bazunu probably beaten. That aside, Boro had promised in the first half through their pace down the flanks but created little of danger. After the break, though, Latte Lath got clear only to shoot tamely at Bazunu who promptly tried to set up the striker again with a fumble, but recovered in time. Jones, on the other flank, also got away and looked favourite to outpace Stephens until the captain made a fine covering tackle to preserve the lead. In between Southampton should have opened up a decent lead but the chances were falling to Adams and when he did get the ball in the net, he’d been caught offside. Then there were two glaring misses: the first came when Harwood-Bellis found him on-on-one with Dieng, but the shot gave the keeper the chance to save at his near post; the ball fell to Adams from broken play to give him his second opportunity, but this time the shot was off target from close in. Brooks and Fraser on for Adams and Sulemana raised hopes of that important second goal and although it didn’t come, the clock also seemed to be on our side (despite a near-howler by Bazunu along the way). That was until the last minute of the 90 when Gilbert crossed hopefully and Latte Lath found space to guide a header into the bottom corner. A glut of substitutions by both sides meant the fourth official had more to do than signal four remaining minutes and by the time that was all done, we needed to progress to 96 on the clock, but neither side could make them count. Can’t win them all, but we don’t seem to be in control of the winning habit at home.

Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:

5. Jack Stephens. SFC have also opened up their MotM award to a public vote, and Stephen’s vital tackle on Jones swayed it for him.

17. Stuart Armstrong. Behind a lot that was good about Southampton’s approach play, and they did execute that part of their game well.

21. Taylor Harwood-Bellis. Should have had an assist (pass to Adams) and a clean sheet to his name, but neither were to be.

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