Town 0-1 Southampton - Half-Time
Wednesday, 14th Jan 2015 20:59
Shane Long’s 19th minute goal has given Southampton a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues in this evening’s FA Cup third round replay at Portman Road.
Keeper Bartosz Bialkowski started against his old club with Dean Gerken, who played in the first tie, having picked up an injury. Third-choice Michael Crowe was on the bench.
There was no place in the 18 for the apparently exiting Conor Sammon and with Noel Hunt ineligible having not been at the club for the first game, first-year pro Darren McQueen was amongst the subs.
Ill trio Teddy Bishop, Jay Tabb and Cole Skuse missed out, while Tyrone Mings dropped to the bench having tweeted that he was under the weather earlier in the week with Jonny Parr returning at left-back.
Southampton, who started in a 3-5-2 formation against the Blues’ regular 4-4-2, made five changes from the team which beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday with Morgan Schneiderlin, who scored in the 1-1 draw with Town at St Mary’s, missing out due to a knock. Ex-Blues keeper Kelvin Davis was on the bench.
In front of an almost capacity crowd Town started on the front foot, Kevin Bru, alongside Luke Hyam in the centre of midfield, turning an early ball into the area but too far in front of ex-Saint David McGoldrick, as usual up front alongside Daryl Murphy. On five, Darren Ambrose, Town’s scorer at St Mary’s, lashed well over from distance.
A minute later Town had the ball in the net but with a linesman’s flag having been raised. Bru played a clever pass into the path of Stephen Hunt, who beat Fraser Forster but having strayed offside.
Soon after, Victor Wanyama was first to a poor Bialkowski clearance but looped his effort at goal well over.
Neither side threatened again, although with the Blues having had the upper hand, until the 19th minute when the Saints went in front via their first serious chance of the match.
Nathaniel Clyne played a ball to Dusan Tadic’s feet, the Serbian flicking it into the path of James Ward-Prowse, who broke into the area. Blues skipper Luke Chambers slid in to dispossess the England U21 international but the ball fell to Shane Long on the right of the area and the Irishman hit a first-time shot past Bialkowski and into the net.
Town, who were unfortunate to find themselves behind on the overall balance of the game, looked to get straight back into it but McGoldrick shot high and wide from the edge of the box.
The Blues number 10 broke forward promisingly on 25 but took too long over a ball to Murphy and his pass was intercepted.
A minute later, Ward-Prowse struck a 25-year effort which caught a Town player on its way only just over the bar. From the resultant corner, Bru and Hunt broke, the Mauritian international eventually just failing to find Ambrose. Murphy had suffered a head injury as Town defended the corner and after treatment required a bandage and a change of shirt.
There was a scare for the Blues on 33 when Parr over-hit a back-pass to Bialkowski, the keeper needing to take a touch before clearing. Goalscorer Long blocked and was first to the looping ball but Chambers and then Bru cleared his cross into the box.
McGoldrick won a freekick 30 yards out on 37 but hit his strike into the wall and out for a corner. From the flag-kick the Blues claimed the ball had struck Jose Fonte’s hand but referee Graham Scott wasn’t interested.
Moments later, Bialkowski needed to come off his line quickly to clear ahead of Long after Chambers had under-hit a back-pass, the Pole’s kick striking the Irishman in the midriff and falling safely.
As the half moved into injury time, Tadic cut into the area from the right but was thwarted by Tommy Smith’s block.
McGoldrick had a chance to put his side on terms deep into injury time having been fed on the right of the area by Murphy. The Blues striker should have sent a ball across the six-yard box but instead, perhaps trying too hard to score against his old club, screwed a shot well wide from a tight angle.
Seconds before the whistle, Wanyama went down with what looked like a hamstring problem and seemed unlikely to return for the second half.
While the Blues had started brightly, having gone in front, the Saints had been well in control from there, looking every bit a side from a higher division and the likelier scorers of the next goal with Town making more than a couple of uncharacteristic unforced errors.
Aside from set pieces, McGoldrick’s opportunity towards the end of the half was probably the Blues’ best chance get back on terms but the Town frontman’s decision to shoot was the wrong one.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Parr, Berra, Smith, Hyam, Bru, Ambrose, S Hunt, Murphy, McGoldrick. Subs: Crowe, Mings, Clarke, Stewart, Anderson, McQueen, Bajner.
Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte (c), Gardos, Targett, Wanyama, Reed, Ward-Prowse, Tadić, Bertrand, Long. Subs: K Davis, S Davis, Cork, Pelle, Isgrove, McCarthy, Hesketh. Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).
Photo: Action Images
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