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Orient

Saturday, 21st August 2010
Ref: Phil Gibbs
Att: 21,468

Southampton

01 Davis
03 Harding - yellow card
06 Fonte
12 Butterfield
15 Jaidi - yellow card
04 Schneiderlin
10 Puncheon
14 Hammond (Oxlade-Chamberlain 81)
20 Lallana
07 Lambert
09 Barnard (Connolly 80)

Substitutes
24 Bialkowski
05 Dickson
18 Mills
19 Seaborne
16 Wotton
26 Oxlade-Chamberlain
22 Connolly

Orient

01 Jones
02 Omozusi
04 Chorley
06 Forbes
19 Mike - yellow card
07 Cox - yellow card (Tehoue 86)
08 Dawson
10 Chambers - yellow card
13 Daniels (Jarvis 68)
16 Spring
11 Revell

Substitutes
12 Butcher
05 Brown
15 Porter
20 Smith
09 McGleish
14 Jarvis
18 Tehoue

Southampton 1

• Lambert 12

Leyton Orient 1

• Forbes 15

One word sums up this display by saints; frustrating. I was joined just before the kick off by Listee Ian Cummings, the third member of this esteemed saintslist that I had met for the first time in the last ten days. Always good to put a face to a name. Ian had driven up from his holiday in Devon to be at the game. Nightmare journey by the sound of it.

The atmosphere at the start of the game was good, although the crowd was well short of what I expected, not helped by the fact that the visitors, although based just up the road in London, did not bring many fans with them and there didn't look to be many people sampling Corporate Hospitality, hence I was unemployed! Both team captains emerged from the tunnel carrying a wreath which were both duly laid on the centre circle. There was then the pre announced minutes applause in honour of the deceased Markus Liebherr. I noticed both teams, both sets of fans and the ref and his two assistants all joined in the applause.

Once the game kicked off it was all saints. We took the game to Orient and should have scored almost from the kick off when Rickie Lambert was put through in the right hand channel but unusually for the big man he delayed getting his shot away and the ball was diverted for a corner. Lee Barnard was here there and everywhere and was so unlucky not to score with a cracking effort that hit the far post with he 'keeper motionless. On around ten minutes or so our pressure paid off when a free kick was awarded to saints after an attack had been foiled by a foul tackle. It was well within the Lambert's range and up he stepped to blast ball goalwards, it took a wicked deflection on its way into goal. But it was nothing more than what we deserved. I am sure I was not alone in thinking at that point, 'how many will we score today?'

It wasn't to be, within five minutes a harmless looking corner, won from one of the rare visiting raids by the visitors, was headed firmly past a stranded Kelvin Davies by an unmarked Orient player. 1-1. Just a set back surely! But no it changed the game, saints never really recovered their flair of that first ten minutes, although pushing forward we seemed to lack the killer pass or the killer strike on goal. True the visiting keeper seemed to be in top form, but not to many clear cut chances were carved out. Individually we weren't playing too bad, but the final pass or the final shot was off target. Half time came with the crowd getting a bit restless.

No changes at half time and to be truthful not much change in saints approach, we were to predictable, our approach play was laboured and lacking in inspiration.
Passes started to go astray, we attacked in a measured slow way which gave the visitors time to group behind the ball and again their 'keeper looked in inspired form. Leyton O were breaking out of defence at times with a much faster tempo than saints and Jaidi in particular looked a bit uncertain as players ran at him, although I still fully expected saints to get the winner, we had the quality players, but those quality players lacked a bit of fight today.

With 10 minutes to go AP at last looked to change things by taking off the hard working and skillful Lee Barnard, replacing him with David Connolly - like for like in my book. At the same time Dean Hammond who had an undistinguished game was replaced by young Chamberlain. The youngster went wide right and Puncheon, who I thought was lucky not to subbed, moved into central midfield. Chamberlain added pace to our attack and Connolly is a class player but it did not alter the game much. In the end it was stalemate.

Overall the saints were the better team and but for some superb goal keeping might have won easily. But something was missing today. Lambert started well but faded, he does look to have put on some extra pounds, Lalanna was not at his best, Puncheon seems to have lost his way so far this season, Hammond was not in the game much, and Jaidi looked well off the pace at the back. Lee Barnard was our best player and man most likely to score, so why take him off?

Too many passes were over hit and there was no drive from midfield. Fonte was his usual solid self but he was guilty of over hitting passes up to the front men, Harding had a feisty game and as usual was passionate about his game. Butterfield looks a very good acquisition at right back, Schneiderlin was tidy as ever but not does not support the attack as much as I would like to see. So a bitty performance in my view all round. We have the players to turn things around after this poor start to the season and at times luck was against us, but the players will have to up their game if we are not going to have egg on our faces after being installed as favourites to win this league.

Not sure what happens next, this was AP's best starting eleven I suspect, and it was not clever enough to win against an ordinary looking Orient team. Again in my view, when Plan A failed there was not a Plan B. I leave it o others to disagree. So come on lets hear your views.

Herbie (it is early days yet)