Stacks Image p984552_n984467

Southampton 2

• Lambert (pen) 19, (pen) 55

Bournemouth 0

With Fonte and Lalanna back in the starting line up I suppose this could be regarded as our best eleven. The subs bench looked good as well, with Bart, Dickson, Guly, Jaidi, Holmes, Chamberlain and Chaplow. I would think all of them would walk in to most League One starting elevens. Only downside there were no out and out strikers on the bench

A good size crowd on a lovely autumnal day saw Bournemouth win the toss and they chose to kick towards the Northam End. Saints prefer to start towards that end, I guess they knew that and tried to unsettle us from the start. It nearly worked as the visitors could have scored in the first minute as a high ball down the middle got our defence in a tangle and they hit the post with KD well beaten and followed up with a shot across our goal that was not all that wide. Saints soon recovered and within a minute we too should have scored, their goal was under pressure with Lallana, Lambert and Hammond having decent chances. Bournemouth had certainly not come to defend and were soon making a game of it. But gradually saints got their passing game going and we did look easy on the eye. Although the first goal came as a result of a penalty, awarded on the say so on the assistant on the far side from where I was sat. (in the Itchen stand) it was not against the run of play and I think were were well worth a goal. Lambert had to wait whilst the ref calmed the visitors down, but he kept his nerve to hit the ball like a rocket in to the top of the net. It was noticeable that he ran out to where our subs were warming up and they all joined in the celebrations on the touchline.

The rest of the first half saw saints passing the ball around patiently, but they had to be wary of breakaways from Bournemouth. Everybody was working hard and closing down quickly and we got to half time a goal up and in my opinion in command. Lee Barnard was causing all sorts of trouble and at times was unplayable, all they could do was foul him. Lallana too was all over the place and the team looked so much better with those two getting back to fitness.

No changes for saints at half time. Bournemouth made a change and it was a defender who came on and I think his instructions must have been to get close to Barnard. It was not long before he was hauling him down. In fact the visitors were blatantly fouling any saints player who looked like breaking away. Saints began to dictate play and the clever passing was a joy to watch at times. After about a quarter of an hour saints were awarded another penalty, again after we had put a lot of pressure on our opponents. It was up the other end to where I was sitting but it looked like a bit of a lunge on whoever was in possession and the ref did not hesitate to point to the spot. Up stepped Rickie Lambert and although he is still lacking that touch in open play, he buried the spot kick to put what I thought was a correct scoreline considering our possession and attacking play. Both penalties were the result of pressure by saints and the visitors could not cope with the pressure without fouling.

It was then that the professionalism of the new era came to the fore. Adam Lallana was the first saints player to be taken off for a rest, he had earned it with his running and awareness. He had been given a lot of stick by the hordes of Bournemouth fans but was given a standing ovation from saints fans as he came off.
Nigel Adkins stood to join in the applause and pat him on the back. A job well done. Alex Chamberlain was his replacement. A couple of minutes later Barnard, who had worked his socks off and battled for everything covering a lot of ground, was also given a much needed rest, he too received a much deserved standing ovation with NA again going towards him applauding. Chaplow came on for him. It was nearly all saints by then and the visitors had all the fight knocked out of them when they had a defender sent off for a second yellow card.

Saints saw out the game passing the ball with ease and making the ten men chase shadows. In the final minutes Rickie Lambert was replaced by Gully, Rickie too received the standing ovation and managers hand shake. The final act of the game saw Gully through on goal and a third goal looked certain but he blasted the ball high and wide with Chamberlain waiting in the middle for what would have been a tap in. But 3-0 would have been unfair on Bournemouth. In fact they deserved a penalty late in the game when Fonte outrageiously got hold of Steve Fletcher and hauled him off the ball in the penalty Box and right in front of the lino who had flagged for our penalty in the first half. I thought the ref had a good view s well.

Overall I thought we were good value for our 2-0 win, the fact that both goals were penalties should not detract from our performance. I can't think of any saints player who had a poor game. KD did all that was asked of him and although he did not have to make a save, I do remember him coming off his line quickly in the first half to get to ball just ahead of an onrushing visiting player way outside his area. A goal saving clearance. The defence looked solid apart from Seaborne nearly being caught out in the first minute and Fonte's rugby hold on Fletcher. (Fonte is prone to climb all over whoever he is marking at times) I thought our midfield gave their best display of the season with Schneiderlin and Hammond showing much improved form. Puncheon worked hard to get the ball and even though not quite at his best he certainly worked for the team as did Lalanna. Adam adds that bit it of flair and movement that has been missing in his absence. Lambert is still struggling but he played a full part in the win and held his nerve from the spot. Finally Lee Barnard is showing just what we missed while he was suspended. Good ball control in tight areas, pace and purposeful running, energy to burn and courage. All that is missing at the moment is goals they will surely come.

I enjoyed the game, our defence is looking good and our passing game is good to watch and it is done with purpose. Nigel Adkins has already stamped his mark on our team. There is a good work ethic, players look fitter and are in the game for 90 minutes and the team spirit is showing. Chaplow was a good signing, just striker on loan now and I think we will be the team to watch

Have I got Minty's glasses on or did others see it like me?



Saturday, 2 October 2010
Ref: Wright

01 Davis
03 Harding
06 Fonte
12 Butterfield
19 Seaborne
04 Schneiderlin
10 Puncheon
14 Hammond
20 Lallana (Chamberlain 69)
07 Lambert (Guly 84)
09 Barnard (Chaplow 80 - yellow card)

24 Bialkowski
05 Dickson
15 Jaidi
11 Guly
21 Holmes
26 Chamberlain
30 Chaplow


01 Jalal - yellow card
03 Garry
05 Pearce - yellow card
06 Bartley - yellow card (Hollands 61)
15 Smith - two yellow cards, red card
16 Wiggins
07 Pugh
08 Robinson
11 Feeney (Cooper 46)
17 McQuoid
24 Symes (Fletcher 68)

31 Stewart
28 Cummings
04 Cooper
19 Hollands
14 Taylor
23 Bradbury
33 Fletcher