Glum Brum Blues
• Lambert (pen) 11 • Guly 21 • Lallana 34 • Chaplow 78
• Wood 49
Sunday, 18th September 2011
Match Report :
Saints seem to continue to improve and play some wonderful football. They are by no means the finished article, as the appalling start to the second half would testify, but you always had the feeling that Saints had it within themselves to step up a gear if need be.
If you look at the stats you will see the slightly bizarre one that we had three on target, but managed to score four goals. The answer to this conundrum is that the first goal was a penalty and they do not count!
This leads me nicely on to one of my main concerns from last season, which was the massive numbers of attempts on goal we were having to create to achieve each goal. It is noticeable that in the Championship so far, our conversion rate has improved to a total of 19 goals from 51 attempts, or just under 2.7 attempts per goal.
That is down in part from the attacking lineup we field now. Cork and Hammond also help with their dominating displays in the midfield. The first half was a wonderful example of this team at their creative and stylish best.
We didn't have to wait too long for the first goal. Within the first ten minutes Rickie Lambert was rather unceremoniously hauled down in the penalty area by Stephen Caldwell and the referee, Mr Whitestone had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Rickie Lambert took it himself and the ball went in off the left hand post, which must have been the closest he has come to actually missing a penalty for ages.
Ten minutes later Guly do Prado swept home a great cross from Frazer Richardson and it was two nil.
The third goal in the 34th minute was a joy. After several minutes of probing by Saints it was almost as if someone had thrown an invisible switch and the whole team seemed to accelerate towards the Birmingham goal. Another excellent cross from Richardson and Lallana was there to connect and it was 3-0.
Apparently at half time, Adkins reminded the team of the importance of coming out in the second half with all guns blazing, but you wouldn't have thought so from the rather tame way Saints conceded the initiative to Birmingham and Hooiveld gave away a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. The Kiwi striker, Chris Wood, despatched the free kick beyond Davis' despairing dive and it was 3-1 and Birmingham had their tails up.
Not for the first time in the match Davis made some crucial saves, Carr launching a piledriver of a shot from way out which crashed against Davis' left hand post and out again. This was shortly followed by another exceptional stop from Marlon King. Gradually though, Saints began to reassert themselves.
Chaplow came on for Guly in the 71st minute and just like the week before against Forest he had an immediate impact. After one close call, Myhill was unable to resist Chaplow who ran onto a wonderful ball from Lallana, checked and passed over Myhill into the empty net.
Although Davis still had time to make another couple of saves, Saints were largely successful In keeping the ball and running down the clock, leaving a clearly dispirited Birmingham team to trudge off at the final whistle. They had plenty of decent chances to score, but each time, bar Woods free kick, Davis was there to foil them.
Every week Saints are rewriting the record books and apart from this being Adkins' 100th win as a manager, it was also their 13th successive home win and their best start to a season for 103 years! There will be times this season when things do not go according to plan, but for the time being I am thoroughly enjoying watching Saints.
A good time to be a Saints fan indeed.
Referee : Whitestone
Attendance : 22,155
08 Cork (Schneiderlin 81)
10 Guly (Chaplow 71)
20 Lallana (De Ridder 83)
33 De Ridder
02 Carr (yellow card)
04 Caldwell (yellow card)
23 Spector (yellow card) (Elliott 74)
09 King (Rooney 74)