Sky Bet Championship
St.Mary's - 7.45pm

Southampton 1

  • Aribo 88'

Hull 2

  • Zaroury 11'
  • Carvalho 36'

Embed from Getty Images

Joe Aribo scoring Saints consolation goal in the 88th minute


Match Report

IBO Reporter: channonite

|I have been putting off writing about this match as it was a huge missed opportunity to leap up to second and at least put some slight pressure on Leicester. Instead, we stuffed it up, and we are down to fourth and looking up a very steep hill to automatic promotion. Such are the narrow margins between success and failure.

The starting line-up was evolving into something I thought was ideal over the last few games; the back five was settled mainly, bar the left-back position, and the midfield was likewise reasonably stable, with the front three of Fraser, Adams and Adam Armstrong, the starters of choice, they would wear the other team out and then in the second half Martin would unleash the youngsters to terrorise the opposing defenders.

We were still sitting in the restaurant finishing our coffees when the team was announced. None in our little party were impressed. Martin seems obligated to give those subs who have impressed in the previous games a starting role. The main problem is that the ideal players, as starters, are not perfect substitutes. When you have found a formula that works, why change it?

It quickly became apparent that Hull were going press like men possessed and my word, were they fast on the break. Even so, the first chance fell to Saints when Rothwell quickly spotted an opportunity and nipped into the area, taking the ball around a bunch of defenders and firing straight at the keeper, who saved easily. It was a huge chance that should have resulted in the opening goal. We would all come to regret that miss as the game wore on.

The Hull keeper then kicked an accurate long ball to the left back, Giles, who raced forward and, in a move involving several players across the penalty area, finally ended with the impressive Philogene taking a shot, which Bazanu, on his birthday, could only parry. The ball fell kindly for Zaroury to slot into an empty net. 0-1, this wasn't in the script.

Not even a quarter of an hour gone, and we were very much second best. Whenever a Saints player had the ball, there was at least one orange shirt harrying him, and when they had it, they moved forward at pace. Their right-back, Coyle in particular, looked like a slightly bigger Adam Armstrong or Shane Long when he had the ball as he raced through our non-existent defence on the left, where Manning should have been. It all looked very effective.

Then, just before the end of the half, after a missed shot from the away side, Bazunu played out to Rothwell, who, instead of taking the easy option of passing to Manning, who was unmarked out on the wing, inexplicably ran back towards the penalty area. Carvalho and another Hull player had an easy job of taking the ball from him. It all looked so simple as Carvalho just stroked the ball past Baz for their second goal of the afternoon.

There was still time in the half for Hull to cause more chaos as they came flooding forward at every opportunity and two shots in rapid succession by Zaroury, who could and should have had a hattrick.

At the break, there were a lot of unhappy Saints fans around me, all unhappy with how Hull were just so much on top. They were faster, first to every ball and pressing us like mad. They were worth their two-goal lead; it could have been more.

Martin had come to the same conclusion as us and decided on significant change. Brooks, Aribo, and Adams came on to replace Adam Armstrong, Rothwell, and Mara.

It did make a difference, as Saints started to put the Hull defence under sustained pressure, which must have been a bit of a novel experience for them. In fairly rapid succession, Manning, Adams, and Brooks had chances that didn't quite come off. However, time was ticking by, and we needed to score three to win what was looked on by some as a routinely winnable match.

The match continued, and Saints were struggling to make their pressure tell. By now, Fraser had come on for Edozie and Sulemana for Stuart Armstrong, but there seemed little chance of one goal, let alone three.

Eventually, in the 88th minute, the long-awaited goal came. I lost count of the number of shots that were made, probably four or five before the ball fell to Joe Aribo, who was the most effective of all the substitutes, and he fired a shot through the massed ranks of the entire Hull side to see the ball nestle in the far corner of the goal.

At last, Saints had managed to score, and now it was a desperate race to equalise before time ran out. Except that it didn't happen. A desperately disappointing evening at St.Mary's. Martin got his team selection wrong, and Hull had precisely the right game plan, well executed. As for promotion, the top two are probably out of reach, but we must pick up every single point we can if there is any hope. And I wouldn't want to come up against Hull in the playoffs.



Man of the Match


On a disappointing night, one player who recently returned from AFCON Joe Aribo stood out. He was a powerhouse in the midfield and scored a goal through sheer persistence.


Teams



Southampton


  • 31 Bazunu
  • 2 Walker-Peters - Booked 23'
  • 21 Harwood-Bellis
  • 35 Bednarek
  • 3 Manning
  • 9 A Armstrong (Brooks 45')
  • 19 Rothwell (Aribo 45')
  • 16 Smallbone
  • 23 Edozie (Fraser 59')
  • 18 Mara (Adams 45')
  • 17 S Armstrong (Sulemana 70')

Substitutes

  • 5 Stephens
  • 7 Aribo
  • 10 Adams
  • 13 Lumley
  • 20 Sulemana
  • 24 Charles
  • 26 Fraser
  • 33 Dibling
  • 36 Brooks

Hull


  • 17 Allsop
  • 2 Coyle
  • 5 Jones - Booked 78'
  • 4 Greaves
  • 3 Giles
  • 23 Philogene McLoughlin 90'+1
  • 24 Seri (Morton 63')
  • 27 Slater
  • 47 Zaroury (Jacob 83' - Booked 90')
  • 45 Carvalho (Traoré 83')
  • 50 Ömür (Tufan 63')

Substitutes

  • 6 McLoughlin
  • 7 Tufan
  • 8 Docherty
  • 10 Traoré
  • 12 Sharp
  • 15 Morton
  • 29 Jacob
  • 30 Pandur
  • 44 Connolly


Match Stats


  • Southampton/Hull
  • Possession: 58%/42%
  • Shots: 15/17
  • Shots on Target: 3/5
  • Corners: 4/2
  • Fouls: 9/13

Officials/Attendance


  • Referee: Oliver Langford
  • Assistants: Hristo Karaivanov and Sam Lewis
  • Fourth Official: Josh Smith
  • Attendance: 26,834

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