• Guly 48 • Lallana 55
• Koren 43
Tuesday, 29th November 2011
Match Report :
Just three days after the lacklustre display at Bristol, Saints got back on the winning bus by beating Hull 2-1 at St.Mary's.
On arriving at my seat the first thing I noticed was that the big screens behind the goals were not working. There was a game earlier in the season where they were not working for a short period of time in the first half of the game and it was then I noticed how much I look at them during a game. Mostly to see how much time is left in the half/game.
The next thing I noticed was that the League Table in the programme was wrong, showing that Saints were leading the table, having played 16 games with 36 points. West Ham were showing second having played 18 games with 37 points. Not a good start so far ...
The team was announced with Harding at left back and Schneiderlin taking the injured Chaplow's place. Otherwise it was business as usual.
From the off it was clear that Hull are a skilful side and it was going to be a tight game. Just like the last home game against Brighton Saints looked laboured. Even so they had their chances in the first half with the enigmatic Guly heading wide from two decent chances. At the other end Davis managed to get himself booked when he came way out of his penalty area and brought one of the Hull forwards crashing to earth.
Apart from that moment Saints were little troubled by the Hull forwards until, just before halftime when the ball seemed to be pinging around the Saints penalty area, without anyone being able to clear it. Davis blocked one shot, but Koren was on hand to put the rebound in the net.
Halftime was an odd atmosphere. This was an unusual feeling. Being behind in a match. There was however, an underlying feeling in the crowd that the team would turn it around.
And so it proved.
The first surprise was that Cork did not reappear and was replaced by De Ridder, so the centre midfield was now Hammond and Schneiderlin, with Lallana on the left and De Ridder on the right.
This was an inspired change. De Ridder caused panic in the Hull defence, which meant that their defenders stopped going forward as much, which in turn gave Richardson more space to forage. On the other side Lallana looked like a clockwork toy that had been wound right up, rather than the slightly ineffective player of the first half.
We didn't have to wait long for the first goal. three minutes to be exact. Richardson made the most of the space that De Ridder was making for him and sent one of his trademark crosses over. Guly duly dispatched it (at the second attempt) beyond Gulacsi, a 21 year old Hungarian goalie on loan from Liverpool.
Saints were on fire. It was obviously only a matter of time before Saints scored again. Seven minutes later Richardson sent over another cross that evaded all the defenders for Lallana to nod past Gulacsi.
So, the Hull lead had lasted just over six minutes playing time. Now, ten minutes into the second half and Hull looked demoralised and beaten. there followed a spell where Saints were in almost total control. Occasionally losing the ball and then quickly winning it back again. One of the least surprising thing was the stats at the end showed that Saints had 70% possession.
Almost the final act of the game came when Barmby decided to bring on Brady for Stewart, who had had a minimal effect on the game. Shortly after that the ball came to Harding in the left back position and he set off down the left wing. He only got as far as the half-way line before being taken out with a totally unnecessary two footed tackle by Brady. What was worse was that it was right in front of the ref, who wasted no time in pulling out a red card.
That, essentially was that.
Still top of the league by two points from West Ham, but more importantly there is now a thirteen point gap between Saints and Brighton in seventh place and eight points to Cardiff in third place.
Oh yes, and this win equalled Liverpool's post war record of consecutive home wins.
01 Davis (yellow card)
08 Cork (De Ridder 46)
10 Guly (Holmes 84)
07 Lambert (Barnard 71)
21 Bialkowski, 16 Martin, 24 Holmes, 33 De Ridder, 09 Barnard
05 Chester (yellow card)
07 Stewart (Brady 66 (red card))
14 Cairney (Adebola 87)
01 Basso, 03 Dawson, 15 McShane, 17 Brady, 22 Adebola