Stacks Image p984607_n984467

Southampton 4

• Barnard 28
• Fonte 46
• Chaplow 50
• Guly 80

Peterborough 1

• Mclean 76

It does not get much better than this. it was a dull day weather wise, a bit chilly but the crowds were thronging to the game from quite early on. Hospitality was doing a roaring trade and several of the Boxes had been hired for the game as well as the usual seasonal Box Holders. Great atmosphere in and around the ground and I had a super tour party, a lovely family from Cambridgeshire and 10 saints fans taking a box for the day to celebrate a birthday. I enjoyed the tour and the buzz of being involved.

At kick off the mood was good and saints kicked off towards the Northam end and it all one way traffic, as I suspected Chaplow and Hammond were paired in midfield, with Schneiderlin dropping to the bench, Dickson came in at left back to replace Harding who dropped out of the squad all together.

Otherwise an unchanged side with Jaidi keeping his place alongside Fonte at the heart of our defence. Chamberlain who had played 45 minutes for England's Under 18s in midweek kept his place on on the right. I was pleased to see Lee Holmes on the bench and to see the return of Aaron Martin among the subs, it was a strong bench with Connolly, Gully, Butterfield, and Bialowski also among them.

How saints did not score in the first 15 minutes is beyond reason. Some great passing and movement saw several chances carved out with Lallana having a blistering first time volley from a pin point Chamberlain cross brilliantly saved by the visiting 'keeper. As chance after chance went begging I wondered if we might regret not scoring as occasionally the Posh looked dangerous on the break especially the pacy Mackail - Smith. It was not woeful shooting but a combination of good defending and a bit of bad luck. But on around the 20 minute mark saints got the goal their attacking flair deserved. It was a neat lay off from Lambert and a fiercely hit shot from Barnard that nearly broke the net.

This was the score at half time although there was much to applaud in the saints play with the wingers swopping over for brief spells to unsettle an already bemused Posh defence. One superb free kick routine had almost brought a goal - Lambert stepped up to take a free kick, everyone expected his usual pile driver on goal but instead he played a crisp low pass to Hammond in the the heart of their defence that was touched on to Barnard but was somehow cleared. He also hit a pile driver that skimmed the side netting. Barnard also had an attempt cleared off the line. It was great to watch and credit to Peterborough they played an open attacking game and at times it was end to end but our defence looked solid. So Half time 1-0 to saints.

Everyone around me were happy with our display but a little nervous that we were only one goal up. Within a minute of the kick off we were 2-0 up as Fonte headed in a well worked free kick put over by Dickson. That looked better on the scoreboard a fairer reflection of the play. More was to come as a minute or two later Chaplow burst through from midfield to pounce on a pin point pass from Hammond to score a beautifully crafted goal.

This was the signal for NA to make his first change, it was a bit of a surprise bringing off Barnard, who as usual had worked his socks of and scored a great goal, replacing him with Gully. I learned afterwards that Barnard had a niggly injury so it made sense to bring him off with Tuesdays game against Brighton in mind. We do have a strong squad, so why not make use of them. In fact the next change saw Lee Holmes replace Chamberlain who had looked dangerous without reaching the height of his last home game.

The game was all over bar the shouting at 3-0 but the Posh had looked dangerous at times and they got a goal back with a Mclean getting in behind Jaidi, beating him for pace and with no covering defender he went on to score.
Gully was frustrating and brilliant in equal measure and it was he who headed home with a deft flick from a pin point free kick floated in by Holmes. It could have been more as the impressive Holmes began to assert himself and show us what we are missing by him being injured so much, he burst through the middle and laid the perfect pass into the run of the fleet of foot Gully who had only to put the ball either side of the 'keeper to score but dragged his shot inches wide of the post.

Guly does get in to some dangerous positions and is useful both on the ground and in the air, a good player with good skills always likely to the unexpected, he is quick too. Holmes too is quick and strong on the ball with a good football brain, two footed as well and a good dead ball kicker. He puts the ball over with pace and swerve. I hope he stays fit, he could be a big asset come the heavy grounds and suspensions.

The game ended with saints still on the front foot looking very strong. A standing ovation from all around the ground. This is a fit team as well and a hard working side.

Every player played his part and the subs coming on did not weaken the side. It was a pleasure to watch this game and I came away very happy. We have a very good team in the making with talent all over the pitch. Goals from everywhere as well, one goal from a striker, one from a sub, and one each from a midfielder and a defender. No player had a poor game in my view with Lallana, Chaplow and Hammond being the pick. Lallana is mesmerising on the ball at times and he gets back to help out as well. Great young player, worth the admission money just to watch him in action.

Every saints fan surely enjoyed this game, even the Ref was good, he tried to play advantage, explained his decisions to the players, kept up with the game and got most things right. Well done Mr Sarjantson.

Get your ticket for Tuesday, it should be another cracker.


Followed up the next day with :

Not many views of the Peterborough game on here so i guess everyone was happy with our performance. One of the features of Saturdays game was the work rate of saints, particularly in midfield where both Hammond and Chaplow were closing down any attempt by the visitors to get control of the ball, Chamberlain and Lallana were also tracking back and making life difficult for any Posh player to dwell on the ball. This lifted the crowd who urged saints on as they fought to earn the right to play their passing game. Skill without effort in this league will get us nowhere. We just need to get Rickie Lambert firing on all cylinders again and I can see us keeping up the pressure on those above us. I believe he will come good again soon.

I thought Dickson too had a great engine on Saturday, he was getting up in support of the attack and back again when needed in defence. In effect the saints defended as a team. This was necessary as Peterborough are a high scoring side with 33 goals scored in the league so far. This is only bettered by Bournemouth who have 34. Saints are relatively a low scoring team so far with only 26 goals in the league. Defensively it is not surprising that Peterborough have let in 37 goals.

Brighton will be a much harder task on Tuesday having only let in 13 goals up to now. Saints have conceded 16 goals. Score draw then? I hope saints fans get behind the team, as Brighton are bringing their full quota of fans, they will be noisy. A cracking atmosphere is on the cards. let's hope we get a good referee.



Saturday, 20 November 2010
Ref: Sarginson

01 Davis
02 Richardson
05 Dickson
06 Fonte
15 Jaidi
14 Hammond
20 Lallana
26 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Holmes 70)
30 Chaplow - yellow card
07 Lambert (Connolly 82)
09 Barnard (Guly 51)

24 Bialkowski
12 Butterfield
17 Martin
04 Schneiderlin
11 Guly
21 Holmes
22 Connolly

01 Lewis
02 Little
03 Nyatanga
04 Langmead
25 Williams
11 McCann (Mendez-Laing 75)
21 Davies
09 Mclean
10 Boyd (Wesolowski 54)
12 Mackail-Smith - yellow card
24 Tomlin (Clayton 54)

23 Collis
05 Zakuani
16 Bennett
07 Wesolowski
19 Mendez-Laing
26 Clayton
31 Davies