Crystal Palace 2
• Ambrose 73 • Easter (pen) 82
In years to come this game, which Saints lost in spite of dominating for long periods, will become known for being the game that 16 year old James Ward-Prowse made his first team debut.
Ward-Prowse is 17 next on the 1st November and becomes the fourth youngest player to play in the first team, behind Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Wallace. If he goes on to make the impact that the others made, then that will do for me, but I have the suspicion that as a midfielder and a leader on the field, he has the potential to go on and become even more influential for Saints.
Adkins gave the majority of the first team a night off and those that didn't have the night off were sat on the bench. Schneiderlin and Cork were the only acknowledged first teamers to start.
Saints almost had a dream start when Jack Cork had a header cleared off the line by O'Keefe. In spite of this they went on to dominate the first half, without really troubling Price in the Palace goal. Forte in particular and to be kind, seemed to be having an off day. At the other end Bialkowski was limited to dealing with a couple of long range shots, but was otherwise a virtual spectator.
After the break Palace looked far more purposeful and there were at least a couple of wasted efforts before Cork gave the ball away in the 73rd minute and Ambrose finished beyond Bialkowski.
Shortly before the goal there was a welcome return to action for Lee Barnard, replacing the completely ineffective Forte. In very short order Lambert and Guly were called into action, replacing Holmes and Reeves, but it was too little, too late and the nail in the coffin was when Harding (who on earth ever thought that he was better than Fox?!) brought down Williams in the penalty area. Easter stepped up and cooly converted the penalty.
All in all, I am not too sad about losing, but some players who were pushing for a first team start did themselves no favours. One who did shine through was young Ward-Prowse. He at least clearly has a first team future.
As they say, that now leaves Saints clear to concentrate on the league. At least until the FACup...
04 Parr (Zaha - 84' )
07 Ambrose (Jedinak - 75' )
20 Williams (Gardner - 82' )
28 Reeves (Guly - 80' )
04 Schneiderlin - Booked
24 Holmes (Lambert - 77' )
33 De Ridder
17 Forte (Barnard - 69' )