• Lambert 74′
• Scotland 85'
Tuesday, 6th March 2012
Match Report :
Walking away from the ground that felt like a defeat, but perhaps that was more to do with the fact that Saints had completely and utterly dominated the first half, without getting a single goal. The scoreline would not have flattered Saints if it had been 3-0.
The first 30 minutes in particular were a joy to watch. Lallana was on fire, twisting and turning past defenders. Lee and Lambert were causing havoc around the Ipswich penalty area and it only seemed that it would be a matter of minutes before one or other of them scored.
One thing which seemed odd, which I have not seen anyone else mention was how sodden the pitch was. I don't remember there being any heavy rainfall during the day and anyway, the St.Mary's pitch usually drains quickly. So, had the groundsmen made a miscalulation when watering the pitch? During the warm up we noticed that when players hit balls along the ground there was a wake behind the ball. This went on to cause problems during the game, with any number of players loosing their footing at crucial moments.
Leaving aside the goalless first half, when Ipswich were not even at the races, the first half was completely different. Jewell had obviously had a hairdryer moment during half time as they came out really fired up and all of a sudden Saints were under pressure. Not only that, but it seemed they had worked out how to deal with Lallana, as they seemed able to take the ball from him at will. That effectively robbed the team of one of its main attacking threats. On the other wing Guly, who had played well in the first half (whatever the people texting in on Solent after the match might think) was similarly treated by the Ipswich defence.
However, it wasn't until the 70th minute that Nigel Adkins decided on change, when he replaced Guly with Steve De Ridder, who has not even managed the bench in recent matches. This looked like an inspired change when 'Shteeeeeve' danced around several despairing tackles and passed from the byline along the ground into the penalty area, where a grateful Lambert hammered it into the net for his 25th goal of the season.
For a brief while Saints looked back in control of the match, but a series of substitutions by both sides changed the complexion of the game again. This time one of the Ipswich subs, the large figure of Jason Scotland (we know now who ate all the pies!) bore down on the Saints goal and Jos Hooiveld, who had been having a good game up until this point made an error and Scotland was past him and shot. It looked harmless enough, but took a wicked deflection with Davis wrong-footed and it was 1-1.
The draw was probably fair on the balance of play, but had Saints put a couple of their many chances in the first half away, then it would have been a different story.
For what it's worth, when I got home I jotted down markings for the players as I saw it.
Starting Eleven :
- Davis 7 - One astounding save. Their goal took a wicked deflection, so no blame there.
- Richardson 6 - Just seemed to not quite be on it
- Fonte 6 - as above
- Hooiveld 8 - Good game
- Harding 7 - Has good game shock!
- Guly 7 - The dicks who texted into Solent saying he was rubbish clearly didn't watch the game.
- Hammond 5 - Couldn't seem to manage a pass to anyone wearing a red & white striped shirt.
- Schneiderlin 8 - Awsome .... Again
- Lallana 7 - initially on fire, then seems to have lost his way a bit, plus Ipswich worked out how to stop him.
- Lee 8 - Ripped into them in that first 30 minutes
- Lambert 8 - Awsome, up until the goal. Then looked knackered.
- De Ridder 8 - Caused chaos on the right wing with his pace. Great cross which SRL then buried in the Ipswich goal.
- Cork 5 - Hardly noticed him
- Sharp 5 - To be fair, the supply line to the forwards had dried up before he got on the pitch.
- Groundsman 3 - Why did the pitch look like a paddy field? Players were continually falling over on the greasy surface. When the ball rolled along the top there was a wake behind it!
Attendance : 23,315
03 Harding Booked
10 Guly (De Ridder - 70' )
20 Lallana (Cork - 83' )
19 Lee (Sharp - 75' )
33 De Ridder
06 Leadbitter (Bowyer - 84' )
17 Drury (Scotland - 77' )
27 Murphy Booked (Stevenson - 77' )