* Lambert 48′
* Roberts 19′ * Le Fondre 72′, 90′
Friday, 13th April 2012
Match Report :
Well, what a game, that had just about everything except we lost… Last night I was disappointed but not necessarily surprised, Reading did what they always do (although usually to others) and it worked against us last night.
Before I start on the individual player markings I would just like to say that I believe everyone had a good game last night, there were the occasional individual errors and we may have been missing a couple of better players most would prefer to have for a game of that significance but, by and large, everyone played very well last night.
Coming away from that game I was annoyed we didn't win and yet also aware that I witnessed a glorious football match, all of which is very bittersweet… and now it is squeaky bum time.
Player Ratings :
Davis - very rarely had much to do, put himself at risk and got battered on a couple of occasions but realistically didn't stand a chance with any of the goals except possibly the last one which was irrelevant by then anyway. 6/10, probably now knows what his performance at Leeds felt like to them afterwards?
Butterfield - much much better from Mr Butterfield, some of his crosses yesterday were phenomenal and a couple deserved much better than they got, I can't help feeling that if we were going to bombard the box though we should have put Guly on from the start but all in all he did as he was asked. 7/10, even his lack of pace was not particularly exposed and I thought he did well.
Fonte - he looked hassled and unsure of himself against Roberts, not showing enough commitment and power really let him down and, frankly, Jason bitched him quite thoroughly. However, in other aspects of his game he was good and his passing from defence was quite effective and gave us an option apart from the ball down the middle. 6/10, I suspect he will be disappointed in his own performance and it will be a good learning curve for him about what he will experience next year should we go up.
Hooiveld - he looked the more accomplished of the two centre backs yesterday, although he's not as agile as Fonte he seemed to handle hunt quite successfully for most of the game and only started to look a bit ragged (as did Fonte) towards the end when I think the amount of games he has played is starting to show in his legs? 6/10, made one wonderful header from a goal-line cross but will be as disappointed as Fonte that they were as porous as they were.
Fox - his error led to the first goal, although that shouldn't tarnish a good game for him, I felt he dealt reasonably well with his opponent and his passing down the left was very good, I often comment on his tendency to stay back (lallana is no cover really) but yesterday he should have gone to the byline more with two covering midfielders in the early stages it should have been safe enough. 6/10, a good game from a player I am coming to respect more and more.
Lallana - he was excellent today, if Lambert wasn't playing he would have been clearly our best player, as it was he was at his bamboozling best… it's just a shame his finishing is so patchy as he could have made it 2-1 to us seconds before they scored their second goal. A defining moment? Nevertheless, 8/10, wonderful stuff and a joy to behold.
Hammond - yes he made a couple of mistakes early, however nobody's passing is 100% and, although his detractors will never admit his qualities, he made up for his individual errors early on and he did very well for the team and it is to his credit that, although he is most assuredly isn't Schneiderlin, the team takes very well and played some of the most attractive and watchable football they have played this year with him in the heart of midfield. There were complaints he didn't pick up the runner for their second goal but all I would say is not one of his teammates shouted "man on" to him and he was trying to track how many players at the time? 7/10, a really good performance and he didn't deserve to be on the losing side.
Cork - an excellent game from him yesterday, he was all over the place again and pretty effective with it, I thought he struggled slightly only at the end when Hammond was taken off and Guly replaced him. He's becoming more and more consistent and with it his strength on the ball is becoming better, he's not being knocked off it very often and his passing is simple but effective, I really like him and his energy complements both Morgan and Dean. 8/10, another one that didn't deserve to lose.
Chaplow - much better yesterday, unfortunate that he received a yellow card for a tackle I clearly saw him pull out of, we were more direct and powerful with him on the pitch and, if he could have only gone to the byline more often, I would've said he was getting back to his best. Still somehow frightened to shoot yesterday, although this may have been team orders? 7/10, Direct man of action and an interesting alternative to the tricky Lallana on the other flank, come on now, kick on from here and make the difference in the last three games chappie.
Sharp - I thought he played pretty well, I would have liked him to score, that is what we pay him for after all but nevertheless, he played well and I noticed a definite improvement in his fitness and mobility. 7/10, always a thorn in the defence's side, shame about not scoring a goal.
Lambert - well, what can I say, up until the point when he obviously aggravated his injury he was just magnificent, his flicks, passing & overall movement were wonderful to watch and I'm glad he got a goal even if we all know he could have had at least two more. 9/10, I'm running out of superlatives and I sincerely hope that injury aggravation does not keep him out of our last three games as that could be pivotal?
De Ridder - I could tell he would be the first one brought on and subsequent to Chappies yellow card it was pretty obvious who he would replace, I was a bit nervous because I think his last few performances have been "inadequate" (euphemism) but actually he was good and some of his direct running made the opposition very worried and it's just a shame he couldn't have pulled off his trick of the previous game against them and scored. 7/10, did well, looking better again, still better as a sub though.
Guly - didn't have a lot of time to affect the game and looked a bit too relaxed to me but, sometimes, that's when he's at his most effective, unfortunately last night wasn't a good example of that. 5/10, not enough time and not enough effort.
I think there's going to be a lot of whingeing and "same old saints" etc etc from some of our fans, they're not right, it's as simple as that, apart from quality of finishing we did everything possible to win that game and we should have…
We've witnessed two of the best players in the championship at the moment playing very good football, one was ours, Lambert, one was theirs, Roberts. Watching both of them was wonderful last night and they both put on magnificent performances… Each different and yet similar… It was wonderful to watch.
my mate said to me last night "I wonder if we can keep hold of him even if we go into the Prem?" (meaning Lambert) and although that is a bit of an extreme reaction to watching somebody played really well it did get me thinking, is it possible that even if we go up it might be difficult to keep hold of him?
He might be 30 but last night's performance has got to have generated interest from a lot of quarters and I suspect his agent will be getting some calls… If I was a manager of another team there's no way I would think he wasn't worth a punt…saying that, I can't see him really leaving us… Can you?
Everybody who has been thinking we were there already has maybe had an attitude readjustment… If anybody really thought we had completed the job that should have given them a right fright.
The boys have to pick themselves up and considering we could have won that game even letting in three, I don't think it's all despair at this stage as all we need is two more wins.
Am I downhearted, not necessarily, am I nervous regarding our position at the end of the season, absolutely… there are no easy games left and even Coventry is going to be difficult because they are fighting for their lives… This is really going to go to the wire and I'm starting to cross almost everything even whilst keeping a positive outlook .
Attendance : 31,892
14 Hammond (Guly - 76' Booked )
18 Chaplow Booked (De Ridder - 53' )
33 De Ridder
07 Tabb (Le Fondre - 64' )
33 Roberts (Afobe - 77' )
09 Le Fondre