- Match Report
- Teams & Interviews
Millwall v Saints
Capital One Cup, Second round
The Den, Tuesday 26th August 2014
There was some murmuring before this match about how Saints were going to take the cup competitions seriously after the way Saints seemed to throw away the cup game at Sunderland last year. Certainly, the first choice eleven could do with more game time together, having watched the fruitless endeavours of the team on Saturday against West Brom.
Ronald Koeman put out a strong side, with just three changes. Ryan Bertrand was rested and young left back Matt Targett was handed his debut. It was pointed out by several commentators that both Luke Shaw and Gareth Bale made their first team debut's for Saints at Millwall. So, no pressure then. Morgan Schneiderlin was also given the night off and I hope that doesn't mean anything, with the transfer window due to close on Monday. Dušan Tadić was dropped to the bench both Shane Long and Lloyd Isgrove were added to the starting lineup.
Millwall fielded a team with no less than nine changes from the side that faced Rotherham in the Championship on Saturday, but they played like a settled side and ex-Saint, Richard Chaplow coming back from a long injury layoff, was instrumental in a lot of their play. From a Saints perspective, the first 45 minutes seemed largely an extension of the performance against West Brom, with misplaced passes and the team looking a bit lacklustre and flat.
Chances for both sides were few and far between, with the only incident of any real note being the unlucky Isgrove having to come off injured in the 29th minute and being replaced by Tadić.
It was clear from the start of the second half that there had been words in the dressing room at half time. There was also a change with Wanyama replaced by Jack Cork and straightaway the team had a more urgent look about them.
Pellè in particular looked more businesslike and had plenty of vocal encouragement from the travelling support of just over a thousand fans. the movement of the midfield and front men were causing Millwall all sorts of problems and it was no real surprise when the pressure eventually told and Saints scored in the 53rd minute. A pinpoint cross was met with a thumping header by .... Jack Cork, who scored for the first time in his Saints career and was he happy!
Saints and Pellè in particular, had several more chances before the long awaited second goal came in injury time. Pellè hit the post and had at least a couple of other good chances go begging, before he finally scored in injury time, to his obvious relief and joy and that of the traveling support as well. Hopefully he will carry this performance on to West Ham away this coming weekend.
Ronald Koeman said after the match : 'First half was very bad. It looked like the team was playing on 70 per cent and, you know, it's cup football - it doesn't matter the level of opponent, you have to be 100 per cent or you get in trouble. We were in trouble in the first half.'
'You can play bad, it's part of the job, but you have to give 100 per cent, and they gave more than we did - you can't accept that.'
'We spoke in half-time and I was very unhappy. I'm happy about the reaction in the second half, it was much better, we dominated and we had more chances. We needed to score the second one earlier, but finally we got it.'
Two of the IBO Forum regulars were at the match and their comments here seem to confirm my impression that this match marked the beginnings of the team knitting together and looking good.
Onwards and upwards.
01 Forde, 25 Hoyte, 14 Briggs Booked, 06 Williams, 17 Webster, 18 Gueye (Onyedinma - 63’ ), 23 Powell, 30 Chaplow (O’Brien - 63’ ), 26 Abdou (Thompson - 76’ ), 08 Easter, 32 Marquis
09 Gregory, 13 Gerrar, 20 Onyedinma, 22 O’Brien, 24 Goodman, 34 Thompson, 37 Siafa
23 Forster, 03 Yoshida, 33 Targett Booked, 06 Fonte, 02 Clyne, 16 Ward-Prowse, 27 Isgrove (Tadić - 29’ ), 08 Davis, 12 Wanyama (Cork - 45’ ), 19 Pellè Booked, 07 Long (Ramírez - 91’ )
01 Davis, 05 Gardos, 10 Ramírez, 11 Tadić, 17 Taïder, 18 Cork, 35 Stephens
Post-match interview with Ronald Koeman
Post-match interview with Graziano Pellè
Referee : Roger East
Attendance : 27,598
Jack Cork - 53'
Graziano Pellè - 90'