Southampton v Hull
St.Mary's, Saturday 11th April 2015
> Pellè scores his first League goal since December
> Ward-Prowse scores first PL goal from the spot
The sun was out and there was football to go and watch.
First surprise of the day was that Clyne was on the bench; not sure what that was all about, it seemed an odd one, but I'm not going to speculate on the reason. I'm happy in the knowledge that Koeman knows what he's doing, and if you are not going to have the best English right-back in your team, then Toby Alderweireld is not a bad replacement.
We got to our seats to find the people sat in the row behind talking about Pellè, or Pele as one of them kept saying. Apparently 'every Saints fan' could see we needed a replacement for him in January. Then they moved on to the line up and why Clyne was on the bench; 'Toby is only in the team so if we go a goal up he can push into midfield and shore things up'.
Within 20 seconds of the kick off we should have scored, Long ran clear after an awful back pass from a Hull defender, and as the keeper came out there seemed to be two options, shoot early or square it to the on rushing team mate. Unfortunately Long saw a third option and tried to go round the keeper, but a heavy touch, and a bobble off his knee saw the ball run out of play.
The first half didn't really get any better from there. We tried to play our game, but it wasn't happening for us, even Davis and Schneiderlin gave the ball away at times. Luckily Hull weren't offering much, they had a couple of couple of shots which went wide, or well over, but that was it from them. To make matters worse, Wanyama was booked for what looked like a good tackle, and that booking leaves him facing a two match ban.
The droning from behind us continued; they moaned about everything; keeping the ball was not doing anything, long balls never worked and 'why are we so adverse to crossing?'.
Half time came without us every really getting going, or able to break through; Pellè had a good shot that was well saved by Harper, but that was about it.
Ward-Prowse replaced Wanyama at half time, and no doubt with some wise words from Koeman ringing in his ears we instantly looked better, certainly more dynamic. However, Hull did have the first real chance of the half when Livermore's good shot brought a fine save from Kelvin Davis.
We were playing much better, and eventually took the lead. Shane Long burst into the area latching on to a through ball and was brought down by Alex Bruce, a definite penalty. Mané picked up the ball and looked as though he was going to insist on taking the kick, but Jose Fonte played the captain's role and intervened handing the ball to Ward-Prowse. To be fair to Mané, he didn't really put up a fight and there was no show of petulance from him.
It didn't look like JWP hadn't scored a league goal, as he confidently fired the spot kick past Harper. The stadium erupted, and Mané was the first to run to celebrate with JWP.
The closest Hull came was from a corner, when Chester's header was cleared off the line by Bertrand. It was a decent header, but in reality a comfortable clearance from Bertrand who was in that position to do exactly that.
Elia came on for Long and Tadic for Mané, and it was Tadic who had the greater impact.
The majority of us can see that Pellè is playing well generally, his hold up play is good and he brings others into the game, it's just not been happening in front of goal for him. However, one or two around us were on his back, with one complete idiot shouting for him to be replaced. At one point a ball was mis-controlled by Tadic and bounced towards Pellè, it was cleared by a defender and Pellè really had no chance of getting the ball, but the dingbat behind declared the Pellè had 'lost interest'.
Then it happened, teed up by Schneiderlin's unselfish square pass, Pellè smashed the ball low into the net and the noise in the ground was fantastic. Pellè looked overcome with emotion and I turned to S who had tears in her eyes, it was a wonderful moment.
From then on we cruised to the win, and it could have been even better, but Davis hit a shot over the bar when he had time to steady himself before shooting.
I think some fans, and I'm particularly thinking about those sat around us during this game, don't seem to consider that there is always another team in the game, more often than not a team who are doing everything they can to stop us playing our football. A team like Hull are fighting to stay out of the relegation zone, so they will make blocks and interceptions, tackle, hassle and work hard to deny us space. Teams will know what we did to Newcastle and Sunderland, and so their first thought is to deny us possession and not get a thrashing. I'm happy that Saints generally keep focused on playing our football, keeping the ball and looking to win the game. Sometimes it doesn't go the way we want (Everton away for instance), but sometimes, like this game, we persevere and get the points we deserve.
12th April 2015
12 Wanyama Booked (Ward-Prowse 45')
07 Long (Elia 74')
10 Mané (Tadić 61')
19 Pellè - Booked
05 Chester (Diamé 64')
08 Huddlestone (Sagbo 74')
24 Aluko (Hernández 84')
A happy Ronald Koeman after the Hull win
An overjoyed James Ward-Prowse after scoring the first from the penalty spot
- Ward-Prowse 56′ (pen)
- Pellè 81′
- Southampton 54%
- Hull City 46%
- Southampton 9
- Hull City 15
- Southampton 4
- Hull City 4
- Southampton 2
- Hull City 5
- Southampton 7
- Hull City 11
Referee : Kevin Friend
Attendance : 30,359