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Southampton 3

• Lallana 8
• Guly 50
• Gobern 87

Cheltenham 0

I have just thawed out! It was a freezing day but wrapped up warm the Taylor clan braved the elements and we enjoyed our family outing. The wife brought along a flask of tea and a mountain of food, which the grandchildren soon devoured and we won. That is success in my book whoever the opposition, too many times have I seen saints struggle against so called inferior teams.

NA put out a side designed to rest some senior players and give others a chance. Bialowski got a well deserved start in goal,the back four of Richardson, Jaidi, Fonte and Dickson were first choice defenders, in front of them Lee Holmes started (giving young Chamberlain a break) Oscar Gobern came in for his first game for a longtime after a long term injury to partner Hammond in the centre of midfield with Lallana on the left. Up front Lambert saw off the challenge of Ryan Doble to keep his place up front alongside Guly Do Prado.

Kelvin Davis was on the impact bench (how can a goalie be an impact player?) along with Martin, Harding, Butterfield Chamberlain, Doble and youngster Ben Reeves. Schneiderlin was suspended for this game, Lee Barnard was resting his groin and Chaplow was given more time to recover from his injury. So an intriguing line up, I guess if things went well Doble would get a run out in place of Lambert and maybe Martin would get some game time at the back. It didn't quite go to plan!

The whole of the Kingsland Stand was empty, (apart from the wheel chair users bay) and half of the Northam and less than half of the Chapel was closed off. To their credit, Cheltenham brought a fair few fans and they occupied the Itchen/Northam corner. So a weird atmosphere.

Saints attacked the Northam End and got off to a bit of a flyer as we looked for an early goal. Adam Lallana as usual was in the the thick of things and Dickson was looking to get forward, sure enough those two were involved with the first goal. Dickson who has pace, intercepted a poor pass and raced down the left wing before sliding a good ball in tho the feet of Lallana who cooly took aim and almost passed the ball in to far corner. We had got our early breakthrough, it warmed us up a bit and i expected us to pile on the pressure, which in truth we did although with out getting that second goal. Lee Holmes looked lively and I should think relishing a rare start in team.

Then disaster, Holmes was caught on the ankle with a very hard tackle and down he went, it was not given as a foul and he tried to get up, but was forced to hobble off for treatment. He came back on with his ankle strapped but soon went down and was subbed, his replacement was Alex Chamberlain, so his rest lasted just 25 minutes. We were sat right behind the dug out and I can tell you Holmes was near to tears as he hobbled up the tunnel, it was good to see Dean Wilkins lean over and have a sympathetic word as the lad trudged off. I felt gutted for Lee, he was just showing us what he could do when injury strikes again. I think this may well be a new injury as he took the full force of a heavy tackle, I think had it been on any other player he too might have been forced off so lets not say he is injury prone because of this one. I may be wrong and it might be a reoccurrence of an old injury -we will have to wait and see.

Of course this substitution did not weaken the side but it was not in NA's pre much plan I am sure. There was more concern when Bialowski was on the end of a heavy challenge when he came out to gather a through ball, Fonte was very annoyed that the Cheltenham player went through with challenge and 'had words' but the ref was on the scene quickly to calm things down. The keeper had lengthy treatment and Kelvin Davis was told to prepare and he stripped off and donned the gloves down in front of us but Bart stayed on.
The visitors came in to the game for a while but never really stretched our defence. Bialowski still looked uncomfortable and again Kelvin Davis went through the routine of stripping off his layers of cold weather protection only to be told after a few minutes to put it back on again. It is interesting sitting behind the dug out and I soon spotted Butterfield being told to warm up and he quickly came back to prepare to come on. It was Richardson who came off so a like for like change but obviously because of injury. Again not a change that was in NA's original game plan I wouldn't think. So 5 minutes to half time and only one substitution left and the 'keeper uncomfortable and still only a goal to the good.

The half time whistle blew and most fans headed for the warmth of the concourses. I headed for the toilet - what a queue -it took ages to get into the toilet as the concourse was full of refugees from the cold watching the half time scores on the big screen they now have down there. Then once in the toilet it too ages to get back out again so most of the food in our picnic bag had gone by the time I got back to my seat and it was kick off time again. I must try to get another invite to the Boardroom, no queue there. To be honest saints had not played well, passes going astray, and no cohesion, yet still done enough to have been a few more goals to the good with Guly and Lallana going close.

The first shock of the second half was to see Dan Harding coming on for Lambert who had stayed in the dressing room, presumably injured. So all three subs used with still the whole of the second half to come. Poor old Ryan Doble, Aaron Martin and Ben Reeves. They knew now they would not get a sniff of the action.

The team that started the second was; Bart, Butterfield, Fonte, Jaidi, and Harding at the back. Dickson left midfield. Gobern and Hammond centre midfield with Lallana on the right, and Chamberlain and Gully the two front men. It worked really well, Guly and Chamberlain were and handful for the visitors defence whilst Dickson was getting forward with ease and putting over some good crosses. Lallana was teasing and tantalising their defence over on the right and it was no surprise to see a Lallana cross headed home by Guly. This Brazilian does look a bit out of it at times but he is skillful and excellent in the air and this was a well directed powerful header.

I felt the game was won, my only fear was whether Bialowski was fully fit, who would go in goal and would we hang on with ten men? When he was again clattered by an onrushing forward and went down i really feared the worse, but he got up after treatment and seemed none the worse. Saints turned on the style a bit as the visitors tired and some passing and movement was good to watch and I thought young Gobern began to pick up the tempo after a long lay off, he looked very composed on the ball and got from box to box with a long easy on the eye stride. He got forward well to get in a good header which he planted in the net only to have it ruled out, I have no idea why. Not to be denied he got forward again with five minutes to go and rose high to meet a corner from Adam Lallana to get his first senior goal. Every player congratulated him. (a goal from a corner!)

We saw out the game without too much trouble. A comprehensive scoreline, job done. We are in the hat for the third round, but at what cost?

Keep an eye on Gobern, I feel he has the credentials to make a very good player, energy, quick feet, sees a pass quickly, and always seemed to have time, the mark of a good player. He started nervously but grew in to the game. I think he is yet another good player off the supply line.



Saturday, 27 November 2010
Ref: Attwell

24 Bialkowski
02 Richardson (Butterfield 42)
05 Dickson
06 Fonte - yellow card
15 Jaidi
11 Guly - yellow card
14 Hammond
20 Lallana
21 Holmes (Oxlade-Chamberlain 26)
27 Gobern
07 Lambert (Harding 46)

01 Davis
03 Harding
12 Butterfield
17 Martin
38 Reeves
26 Oxlade-Chamberlain
29 Doble

01 Brown
02 Lowe
03 Andrew
05 Gallinagh
06 Riley
04 Bird (Pook 79)
08 Low - yellow card
11 Smikle
23 Shroot (Thomas 46)
24 Pack
10 Goulding (Jeffers 82)

12 Lloyd-Weston
22 Elliott
07 Pook
14 Melligan
20 Artus
09 Thomas
21 Jeffers