London Saints

Ipswich Away Lost 3 – 2

When the holiday schedule involved three games in four days, it was a truism that the Easter period was decisive at both ends of the table. Those days are gone, but Bank Holiday Monday always looked as if it would be key for the Championship’s top four. For some reason Walker-Peters was dropped at Ipswich leaving Bree at right back and Stephens on the left. Bree gave Davis too much room when he picked up a crossfield pass but the fault for the home side’s opener mostly lies with Bazunu who let a powerful shot go through him at the near post. There was no time for blame to be appropriated as Saints went upfield and, thanks to Adam Armstrong and Aribo, Adams equalised from close range within a minute. To complete an eventful ten minutes, the visitors took the lead following an incisive break and superb pass from Stuart Armstrong to Adam Armstrong who finished with a first time shot. Southampton were in front and now on top and it was a minor disappointment that we weren’t further ahead at the break. The good form continued into the second half and it looked as though the margin was about to be doubled when Bednarek headed a free kick goalwards, only for Hladk√Ĺ to produce a brilliant save. The game maybe changed when Bednarek went down with a back injury and looked unlikely to be able to continue; the defender tried to ‘run it off’ but the problem was he couldn’t run. The Pole was still trying to recover when Ipswich struck the post through Al-Hamady. That gave the Tractor Boys renewed belief and they soon equalised through substitute Broadhead‘s low shot. Saints tried Brooks and Edozie in a bid to restore a lead that they had deserved but the latter kept stumbling when well-placed, although somehow he still looked the most likely hero as Aribo and Stuart Armstrong visibly tired. Instead we were to find a villain when Bree was dismissed for pulling back Davis who raced clear, although Harwood-Bellis had looked as though he might have got across to cover. We didn’t bring on Walker-Peters or Manning to try to sit back on the draw as we might have, but an extended period of added time was seconds away from being over when the defence finally cracked: Downes was filling in at right back but didn’t have a defender’s instincts and a moment of indecision let Davis cross; it might have been cleared but Sarmiento stumbled when trying to control the ball and somehow that put off our blockers so Sarmiento could get up and steer the latest of shots just inside the post. Hard done by? You bet!

Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:

5. Jack Stephens who always does his best, even when out of position.

7. Joe Aribo, a welcome return that for so long looked like being profitable.

17. Stuart Armstrong. Would have been in the frame anyway for a sublime assist leading to the second goal, but he looked good for nearly all of his 82 minutes on the pitch.

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