Saints Stun Boro
• Guly 15' • Guly 29' • Connolly 80'
Saturday, 29 October 2011 - St.Mary's
Match Report :
You would have to be pretty mean spirited (or a Middlesbrough supporter!) to find anything to complain about with this match. This was billed as a top of the table clash, but to be honest there was a huge gulf in class between the two sides. I must admit that I am beginning to think that Saints just might be able to get promoted this season. As they say though, there is a long way to go yet.
There was a fairly decent size crowd of 26,630 and more than a thousand hardy Boro fans had made the long trek South.
Saints had Lallana returning from injury, Hammond back from serving his one match suspension, Fox replacing Harding at left back and Butterfield continuing at right back. Straight from the kick off Saints went for the jugular and Boro were on the back foot. Saints seemed to pressure them all over the pitch and very soon Boro were back-pedalling and being over-run by a Saints team with options everywhere. Lallana returning to the team gave much more width to the team and during the course of the game they seemed to almost effortlessly switch formations.
One of the things Adkins bangs on about is the team and everyone being in it together. The thing is, the players now know exactly what role each has to play and when there is a substitution the new player slots straight in.
Straight from the kick off Saints went for the jugular and Boro were on the back foot. Saints seemed to pressure them all over the pitch and very soon Boro were back-pedalling and being over-run by a Saints team with options everywhere. Lallana returning to the team gave much more width and during the course of the game they seemed to almost effortlessly switch formations.
This really was a reality check for Boro and their Man Of The Match was Steele, their goalie, which says everything really. I have seen comments from some Boro fans that they thought we were a "big" team. Boy, are they in for a shock when they play West Ham!
Saints were completely in the ascendancy in the first half and it came as no surprise at all when Butterfield picked up the ball and sent in a wonderful diagonal pass right onto the advancing Guly's head and there it was, the ball was in the back of the net.
It was not long until the second goal came along. This time it was great work from Lallana out on the left wing. Another great cross to Rickie Lambert at the far post, who knocked it down for the diving Guly to get his second goal.
He almost got his third before half time when his shot hit the post and was cleared by a Boro defender.
So, at half-time it was 2-0, but could easily have been three, or four.
Shortly after the restart Guly picked up an injury and was replaced by Connolly up front. Saints then lost their tight grip on the game for a bit, but a change of formation by Adkins seemed to work and Boro had several other close calls before the wonderful third goal.
There were more than twenty passes between Saints players (twenty five before the shot on goal according to the manager), until Rickie Lambert picked up the ball on the left and took it to the byline, while at least four Boro defenders watched him. He took his time and laid the ball back into Connolly's path who made no mistake in smashing the ball into the Boro net. Game over.
Wonderful stuff. Dare we dream??
Referee : East
10 Guly (Connolly 55)
14 Hammond (De Ridder 82)
20 Lallana (Schneiderlin 73)
21 Bialkowski, 16 Martin, 04 Schneiderlin, 33 De Ridder, 22 Connolly
29 McMahon (Zemmama 73)
17 Robson (yellow card)
18 Arca (Haroun 63)
07 McDonald (Nimely 63)
06 McManus, 05 Zemmama, 38 Haroun, 16 Ogbeche, 26 Nimely