That's More Like It
• Lallana 8′ • Sharp 33′
Saturday, 11th February 2012
Match Report :
That was the Saints team of earlier in the season. No sign of the lethargy of the Cup game against Millwall in the week. One of the disturbing things of recent weeks was the sheer lack of chances that were being created. If you are in any doubt, just look back at the stats from the last few games on this site. Then compare with the stats for this game in the sidebar on the right. 13 corners, 13 shots and 7 on target. That's more like it.
From this point on I don't think that there was ever any doubt that Saints were going to win. Granted there was a short spell in the second half when Burnley put the Saints goal under siege, but Davis and his defence stood firm. Normal service was then resumed.
The second goal in the 33rd minute had an element of the Keystone Cops about it. Lambert and Sharp were clearly unsettling the Burnley defence (and I am willing to bet that there will be many more defences like that). Sharp latched onto a pass from Lambert but was semi-falling over at the time, colliding with Mee.
Although Sharp hit the ball (although I am not sure with which part of his anatomy), it also hit Mee's arm and gently, oh so slowly, rolled into the net. 2-0. Hilarious.
At this stage I guess all Saints fans were wondering how many more goals were going to be scored, but as things turned out, that was that and it wasn't even half time. Part of the credit for keeping the score down has to go to the Burnley goalie, Grant, who pulled off a couple of astounding saves.
Sharp went off, to be replaced by Connolly in the 64th minute. Hopefully this is to make sure that he is OK for the crucial match at West Ham on Tuesday. Anyway, Connolly had his moments.
Right from arriving At the stadium there was plenty to talk about. "No goalkeeper on the bench?", followed by "No goalkeeper on the bench!!". Indeed there wasn't. Instead Nigel Adkins set out his attacking intent by having one defender (Martin), one midfielder (Hammond) and three forwards (Puncheon, Lee and Connolly) on the bench.
After the dismal run of form it was important to get back on the winning trail and in Burnley we were coming up against a team in a rich run of form, with two strikers that Saints knew about. Jay Rodriguez, who Saints had made more than one attempt to sign and Charlie Austin, who seems to have a knack of scoring against Saints.
As for the Saints team, the only real surprise was to see Guly on the right wing, instead of Puncheon. As it turned out he went on to have one of his best games in a Saints shirt.
Saints lost the toss and Davis had to vacate the Chapel goal and run down to the Northam end in the bright Winter sunshine, pausing to join the huddle before the kick off. Right from the off Saints were clearly up for it and Sharp, making his home debut, already seemed to have struck up a partnership with Rickie Lambert.
We didn't have long to wait for the first goal, eight minutes to be precise. Guly was hugging the Kingsland touchline and played a short pass to Richardson. Just when you thought that he had pushed the ball too far, trying to outwit the close attentions of a Burnley player and it was going to go for a goal kick, there was his outstretched right foot hooking the ball back across the face of goal to meet the onrushing Lallana, who headed into the top corner. 1-0. Wonderful.
Including getting the ball in the net from a rebound off Grant, who had been unable to hold a shot from the peerless Lambert. Only to find it being ruled offside.
Talking of Rickie Lambert, he was astounding in this match. He was everywhere and as one of my friends observed, it seems that he has ball magnets in his boots, such is his ability to trap a ball and kill it without seemingly trying. I feel that the addition of Sharp up front is only going to help give him more room to astonish and delight us. I for one cannot wait to see him strut his stuff in the Premier League.
Guly went off from his very impressive performance in the 78th minute to be replaced by Hammond, whose job was clearly to close the game out.
The final change was probably the most uplifting. The exquisite Lambert went off in the 90th minute to huge applause, to be replaced by Tadanari Lee, who proceeded to show us in a marvellous four minute cameo just why he will be a great fan favourite, by charging around and generally frightening the Burnley defence to death. One stunning volley oh so nearly went in. What a goal that could have been ....
It would be nit-picking to complain about anything. There was not a single player that had anything other than a good game and it was as if the mundane performances of the last few weeks had finally been washed away.
A good day to be a Saints Fan!
10 Guly (Hammond - 78' )
07 Lambert (Lee - 90' )
11 Sharp (Connolly - 64' )
36 Mee (Hines - 74' )
08 Marney (Bartley - 46' )
26 Treacy (McQuoid - 46' )