Sky Bet Championship
New York Stadium - 3 pm

Rotherham 0

Southampton 2

  • Bednarek 4'
  • A Armstrong 38'

Embed from Getty Images

Jan Bednarek scored Saints first goal of the afternoon on his 200th appearance for the club


Match Report

IBO Reporter: channonite

|For the first time this season, we are now in the automatic promotion places, and were it not for an outstanding keeper, Rotherham would have conceded at least a couple more goals.

The South Yorkshire club massively overachieved just to get promoted to the Championship, but they look destined to return to League One. They have a really smart modern ground, but it only has a capacity of fractionally over twelve thousand. However, having a small ground hasn't exactly hindered Bournemouth.

Saints went for the jugular right from the start, and Rotherham didn't seem to have a game plan beyond defending in numbers. As is customary, Saints created chance after chance, and Ryan Fraser soon won a corner on the left. Stu Armstrong took it, and it was right into an area in front of the goalmouth where about six players tried to clear it. They only succeeded in skying the ball, and Bednarek was first to react, sending a thumping header into the net. Goal! And on his 200th appearance for Saints as well.

They were not done yet, as Saints made a whole series of chances, which included a glorious strike from Fraser, which hit the upright with a mighty blow and bounced away. Even at this early stage, the Rotherham keeper, Johansson, was impressive as he denied at least two clear-cut chances, including one point-blank save from Stu Armstrong.

Eventually, the pressure told, and a change in Saint's tactics caught out Rotherham. Harwood-Bellis sent a long raking pass up to Fraser. The wee man had the close attention of a large defender blocking him off. Fraser was alert to Adam Armstrong racing across the penalty area and backheeled the ball to him. Armstrong shot to the far side of the goal, but even then Johansson just got the slightest of touches on the ball, but not enough to affect the outcome. Goal! And it was 0-2 to Saints.

Saints continued to pour forward every single time they got the ball, and it was a mystery how it wasn't a third goal when Smallbone and Adam Armstrong played a one-two, ending with Will smashing a seemingly unstoppable shot goalwards, only to see that man Johansson leap across the goal to push it around the post. Outstanding save.

So, halftime arrived, and I couldn't believe that Saints hadn't scored at least a third goal; they were so much in control. Would they carry this dominance into the second half?

To begin with, it looked as if they would, as Will Smallbone, who was having an outstanding match, sent an excellent pass to the unmarked Adam Armstrong. He seemed to have a simple job to score, but Johansson was there to foil him again.

Saints then began to lose the dominance we had seen in the first half, and Rotherham came into the game much more. Martin left things as they were until just after seventy minutes when he replaced Downes with Rothwell and Fraser with Brooks (for his debut).

Rothwell immediately made a surging run forward, and for the first time, you could see why he was signed on loan. The more game time he gets, the more he will understand how Saints play under Martin and the more effective he will be.

Mara then came on for Ché Adams, who had done everything but score. In very short order, the young Frenchman was played in by Will Smallbone, but he could only shoot straight at the keeper.

Brooks, meanwhile, impressed everyone with his touch on the ball. He looks the real deal, and I am convinced he will have a significant role to play during the rest of the season. It's a shame he is cup-tied for Tuesday night's FACup replay at home to Watford.

At the death, Bazunu, who had little to do for most of the match, got down smartly to save a shot from Rathbone.

And that was that. The unbeaten record extended again with another three points and second place in the Championship table.



Man of the Match


Despite Jan Bednarek's goal-scoring in his 200th match for Saints, there was no doubt in my mind that Will Smallbone was Man of the Match. He was simply outstanding in this match. He was all over the pitch, constantly pushing up and feeding the ball to the forwards. It's not often that he overshadows Downes, but he did today.


Teams



Rotherham


  • 1 Johansson
  • 40 Kioso (Appiah 85')
  • 22 Odoffin
  • 23 Morrison
  • 21 Peltier
  • 28 Revan (Seriki 85')
  • 16 Lindsay (Rathbone 61')
  • 27 Tiéhi
  • 8 Clucas
  • 7 Ribeiro Dias (Eaves 88')
  • 10 Hugill (Nombe 62')

Substitutes

  • 9 Eaves
  • 12 Rinomhota
  • 14 Wyke
  • 18 Rathbone
  • 24 Humphreys
  • 26 Phillips
  • 29 Nombe
  • 30 Appiah
  • 38 Seriki

Southampton


  • 31 Bazunu
  • 2 Walker-Peters
  • 21 Harwood-Bellis
  • 35 Bednarek
  • 3 Manning
  • 16 Smallbone
  • 4 Downes - Booked 57' (Rothwell 73')
  • 17 S Armstrong - Booked 60' (Charles 89')
  • 9 A Armstrong
  • 10 Adams (Mara 81')
  • 26 Fraser (Brooks 74')

Substitutes

  • 5 Stephens
  • 13 Lumley
  • 18 Mara
  • 19 Rothwell
  • 23 Edozie
  • 24 Charles
  • 29 Meghoma
  • 33 Dibling
  • 36 Brooks


Match Stats


  • Rotherham/Southampton
  • Possession: 26%/74%
  • Shots: 8/10
  • Shots on Target: 2/7
  • Corners: 3/10
  • Fouls: 8/10


Officials/Attendance


  • Referee: Sunny Singh Gill
  • Assistants: Matthew Jones, James Wilson
  • Fourth official: Leigh Doughty
  • Attendance: 11,179


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