Stacks Image p984662_n984467

Southampton 4

• Guly 19
• Guly 51
• Lallana 66
• Barnard 90+2

Exeter 0

What a great start to the New Year. I was pleased to add to my list of Listees I have met today, meeting Neil Langridge who had hotfooted down from Guilford to have the dubious pleasure of putting up with me sat beside him as he took advantage of my spare ticket. Saw Orkney saint Mike as well, he was sat a couple of rows in front of us, nice to read about him in the programme too. True saints fan.

Now to the game; It was a damp drizzly day, but the pitch looked quite good after being played on on Tuesday, so well done ground staff. There were a couple of surprises on the team sheet, no Hammond who i understand was unwell,he was replaced by Chaplow getting a start after his permanent signing, Jaidi was rested, so Seaborne came in to play against his old club and Richardson got the nod in place of Butterfield. The impact bench was; Bialowski, Butterfield, Dickson, Barnard, Jaidi, Connolly, and youngster Oscar Gobern. Davis was captain in place of Hammond.

Kelvin lost the toss and Exeter, who had a large posse of fans at the game, chose to kick toward the Chapel End in the first half. Not as big a crowd as I thought we would have for a New Years Day game, but surely more displays like todays will them pouring through the turnstiles. It was a cagey first 15 minutes when both teams might have scored, Jamie Cureton, who has long been a thorn in saints side, looked lively and I thought Fonte looked a bit uneasy against him at the start, mainly because he is so short and our big central defender seemed to lose him a few times. But it all started to come together for saints around the 20 minute mark when Guly who had looked to up for the game, put saints ahead with a smartly taken goal.

Exeter to their credit were not defensive in any way, they looked lively in attack and Davis had to be sharp to keep out a couple of efforts. A feature of this first half was the movement and deft touches from Guly who began to win the crowd over. Half time came with saints deserving of their one goal lead but i felt that one goal was never going to be enough, I remember saying to Neil sitting alongside me that the next goal would be important. If they scored it would make us edgy and give them a foothold, but if we got a second I felt we would go on to win well.

No changes at the start of the second half and saints looked to keep on the front foot and it was not long before Guly showed his class and confidence. It was a thrilling move from saints, Richardson, who had looked very sharp and attack minded in the first half took advantage of the multi ball system by taking a quick throw-in that saw Chamberlain turn on his turbo charge to go past his marker as if he was invisible, and as he raced clear Gully kept pace with him through the middle and the young winger picked him out with the perfect ball, leaving Guly with the task of hitting a controlled volley past a stranded 'keeper. Lovely flowing football and and it put us in charge of the game.

Exeter pushed forward in an attempt to to get a goal back and this left room for saints to use their superior class and passing skills and the game opened up. It was great to see saints turn the screw with some delightful football. Guly was looking every bit a Brazilian at times with his silky skills, Lallana might have come from the same continent such was the range of his skills, at times i thought he had the ball tied to his shoe laces.
Schneiderlin was revelling in his midfield role with Chaplow running off him and covering a lot of ground. It seemed to me that Lambert was dropping deeper to allow Gully some space to work in. It was all coming together and we always looked to add to the score. We did not shut up shop and Exeter did not give up so the game was very entertaining in this second half.

Gully was looking for his hat trick and deserved it when his close control and coolness saw him work an opening for himself, he looked to have timed his shot to perfection as he drew the keeper out towards him but his shot, though beating the keeper, was cleared almost off the line by a defender. The big Brazilian looked dejected but I noticed Rickie Lambert went over and put his arm around him to console him. It mattered not as within a minute Lallana did his usual trick of turning inside with the ball and curling a shot into the far side of goal. 3-0 game over. Nigel Adkins took the opportunity to protect Chamberlain by replacing him with the versatile Dickson, this still gave us an option going forward whilst adding a bit of defensive cover to shut the game out.

As it turned out we still bombed forward at every opportunity although it was by playing entertaining passing football not hoofing forward. (apart from Seaborne who does tend to make long clearances)

Gully was next to leave the scene, to a standing ovation from the crowd and I noticed a couple of our players applauding as well. Barnard was the player to come on. Still the football flowed and there were cries of 'olay' from a happy holiday crowd as we pinged the ball around. The final saints substitution was young Oscar Gobern who replaced Chaplow who in turn received a standing ovation from the saints fans. Barnard missed a couple of chances and looked a bit rusty having not played for a while and still recovering from his hernia operation, but he was not to be denied when in injury time he put the icing on the cake with a goal to make it a very satisfactory 4-0 for the second time in a few days.

Lots of candidates for man of the match, Gully, Lalanna, Schneiderlin, maybe Chaplow, who did the donkey work to allow others to play the football. I think as a team we all played a part in winning the game. It was good to see the smiling faces all around us at the end and I am so pleased to be a saints fan at the moment.

It was a comprehensive win, no bookings, no injuries, a clean sheet and a boost to our goal difference whilst playing some delightful football. I don't think the trainer came on from either team, there were no nasty fouls, the ref was a bit fussy at times and could have let play flow a bit more but he made no major errors in a game that must have been easy to referee. I enjoyed the game. This shows that Nigel Adkins means what he says when he keeps saying he wants saints to play attractive attacking football. I doubt if any saints fan went home moaning.

Anyone unhappy?



Saturday, 1 January 2011
Ref: Phillips

01 Davis
02 Richardson
03 Harding
06 Fonte
19 Seaborne
04 Schneiderlin
11 Guly (Barnard 69)
20 Lallana
26 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Dickson 67)
30 Chaplow (Gobern 83)
07 Lambert

24 Bialkowski
05 Dickson
12 Butterfield
15 Jaidi
27 Gobern
09 Barnard
22 Connolly

27 Jones
02 Tully (Thomson 69)
03 Duffy
06 Taylor
11 Golbourne
18 Jones (Nardiello 55)
07 Harley
08 Noble
22 Sercombe
12 Cureton (O'Flynn 70)
20 Logan

30 Krysiak
05 Archibald-Henville
04 Dunne
14 Cozic
21 Thomson
10 Nardiello
29 O'Flynn