Referee : Martin Atkinson
Attendance : 31,201
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Saints v Ipswich
FA Cup, Round 3
St. Mary’s, Sunday 4th January 2015
> Score draw means a replay on the 14th January
> Lloyd Isgrove makes an impressive 30 minute appearance
So, it was 1-1 and it turned out that this was only half-time.
After Saints conceded a goal to a well taken free kick and perfectly executed header, they had Ipswich under almost constant pressure. Although the returning Schneiderlin equalised within just over ten minutes, the Ipswich goalie was never put under real pressure.
The Tractor boys concentrated so much on defence that they didn't win a corner in the entire match and didn't create a single chance in the second half. In spite of all this and with 66% possession, Saints just could not find a breakthrough to win the match.
Ronald Koeman clearly decided that the FACup was worth the effort and put out pretty much the strongest team available to him, although he was forced into one change at right back, with Clyne still not quite ready to return. To add to his problems Alderweireld was nursing a slight thigh strain, although he was on the bench. So, James Ward-Prowse was drafted in as an emergency right back.
Mané should have been off to the Africa Cup of Nations, but it appears that after the Arsenal game, he now has an injury that will keep him out for about four to six weeks. In place of Mané, Koeman chose to play Shane Long.
The club had reduced the price of adult admission to £10 and as a result St.Mary's was sold out, with some 5,500 Ipswich fans in the Northam end. Food for thought.
After a tentative opening period, Ipswich took the lead on 19 minutes, when Mings crossed from the left and Ambrose headed in from about nine yards out.
This seemed to shake Saints into life and they began to control the game and create some good chances. When the equaliser came after half an hour, it was thanks to a mix up in the Ipswich defence and Schneiderlin was quick to take advantage.
From then on Saints dominated the game and that domination only increased after the break. Even then, it seemed that the ball would just not land kindly for Saints. Long had the ball in the net at one stage, but it was ruled out for a foul by Pellè in the build up.
Saints just did not seem to be truly asking questions of Gerken, the Ipswich keeper, until Koeman put young winger, Lloyd Isgrove on in place of Dušan Tadić. Straight away Isgrove seemed to have the beating of the Ipswich defence. So much so, that they kicked him several times, once in the head, which drew blood and required a head bandage that will only add to his mystique amongst Saints fans. Although, there was still time for him to miss a good chance right at the end of the game, when put through by Pellè, only for him to slip at the crucial moment. I suspect that we might well have another Academy success on our hands.
After the game, Koeman was angry with the referee for not awarding a penalty in the second half, when Mings fouled Long and only a free kick was given. 'I watched on the television afterwards, it's clear it's in the box. Maybe the referee can't see properly but the linesman has to see it.'
The draw means that Saints now have an interesting week coming up, with Manchester United away at 4pm on Sunday 11th, Ipswich away on Wednesday 14th and Newcastle away at 5.30pm on Saturday 17th. All good practice for European football.
We don't do easy.
4th January 2015
23 Forster, 16 Ward-Prowse, 06 Fonte, 05 Gardos, 21 Bertrand, 08 Davis, 04 Schneiderlin Booked, 12 Wanyama, 11 Tadic (Isgrove - 65’ ), 07 Long, 19 Pellè
01 Davis, 17 Alderweireld, 27 Isgrove, 28 Reed, 32 McCarthy, 33 Targett, 45 Seager
01 Gerken, 04 Chambers, 05 Smith, 06 Berra Booked, 03 Mings Booked, 19 Hyam, 17 Bru (Sammon - 86’ ), 29 Ambrose (Skuse - 69’ ), 12 Hunt (Stewart - 62’ ), 10 McGoldrick, 09 Murphy
02 Parr, 07 Stewart, 08 Skuse, 14 Bajner, 28 Clarke, 32 Sammon, 33 Bialkowski
Post match interview with Ronald Koeman
Morgan Schneiderlin on the 1-1 draw