Southampton v Brighton
17th September 2018
The rest of the team congratulates Højbjerg on an outstanding strike from way out
IBO Reporter : Spot51
Our home form has been shocking for ages and we have not won a Monday Night match in 10 attempts. So why did I volunteer to write about this match FFS?
Turned out to be an entirely typical Southampton performance. We should have killed the game by half time but allowed a frankly awful Brighton side to go in only one down. It was obvious Brighton would be better after the interval: they were. We allowed them to bully us out of the win with an annoyingly limp second half display and sent another decent home attendance home thoroughly pissed off.
Sky wheeled in Carra and Deeney to discuss Big Clubz and they pais scant attention to Saints or Brighton until about 5m before kick-off. Saints were unchanged and Brighton had just one change – new signing Bissouma replaced the injured Gross. Gantry pundit Alan Smith thought Saints had strengthened their squad over the summer and that Mark Hughes had given them “an identity”. I imagined a police artist trying to draw it...
Brighton wore a fetching changed strip of emerald green and, as soon as the game kicked off, Bong was roundly booed every time he got the ball. I don’t recall him doing anything to any of our players so I assumed it was to do with Jay Rod’s alleged racist remarks which the FA booted into the long grass.
The only thing approaching Saints’ useless home record is Brighton’s quite dreadful record away from the Amex. They looked quite poor early on and this seemed to give our lot some belief that the points were there for the taking. We had the better of the early exchanges and when Redmond skipped by Montoya his cross to Cedric drew a save from Ryan.
Vestergaard showed an appetite for long diagonal passes although not all were successful. His pass down the middle interested Hojbjerg, but Duffy cushioned a header back to his keeper. Brighton created their first chance when March cut the ball back but Knockaert’s shot was blocked.
On 16m PEH was fouled by Stephens but Ely put his free-kick far beyond the back post. The Norwegian soon atoned for his error by tracking and tackling March as he broke down the wing. On 20m Saints had a few chances following Redmond’s break. The ball was worked to Ings whose shot deflected for a corner. This was hit long but headed back into the mixer by PEH. Ings had another shot which was blocked before Hoedt struck the rebound high, wide and horrible.
Saints continued to dominate but Brighton defenders got bodies in the way. Redmond found a peach of a cross on 26M but Ely headed wide. Brighton struggled to get upfield with wayward passes finding our players more often than not. Another Stephens foul, this time on Long, gave Saints a free-kick but when the ball reached Ely his poor shot went wide. Moments later the busy Lemina presented him with another opportunity which was better struck but came back off a defender.
The game was low on quality so what happened next was from a different time and place. The ball fell to Hojbjerg; he took one touch to kill it, then hit the sweetest of low drives beyond Ryan’s dive into the far corner. “Unstoppable” quoth Smith; perhaps, but it was definitely 1-0 Saints.
Moments later Knockaert cut out another incisive pass as Saints looked to extend their lead. Then Bissouma had a run at our defence but was halted by Hoedt: both players seemed hurt and the game was stopped so they could be treated. Both were able to continue.
Saints continued to dominate possession and Lemina looked imperious in the middle of the park. How they failed to score again is one of life’s great mysteries. Instead, it was Bissouma who got a shot away in the 1 added minute but, typifying Brighton’s first half, he missed by a country mile.You just knew Chris Hughton would send them out a better side after the break and I was already worried that our slight lead would be insufficient.
It was chalk and cheese. Although they made no changes, a different, better Brighton started the second half with March rampaging down their left and their midfielders swarming all around ours. Their early efforts did no harm but as they warmed to the task the Seagulls began to create chances. Knockaert forced a save from McC before a Montoya cross was headed just wide by Propper. I was no longer enjoying this match.
On 54m a rare break saw Ings knock a ball over the top for Long to chase. I like Shane Long but his first touch was akin to that of a wrecking ball and although he got it past Ryan, it finished nearer the corner flag than the goal. Boo!
Cédric was eventually carded for a foul on the lively March but Saints got the resulting free kick away safely. There was a brief end-to-end spell before, suddenly, Saints went two up. Bertie got down the left, his cross knocked away but Ings collected and broke into the box. There seemed no way through the green wall facing him but the hapless Bong clattered him from behind and sent him sprawling. Penalty: Ings took it, hard, past Ryan’s dive. Good job – 2-0.
Brighton’s response was immediate. They won a free kick on the right touchline which Knockaert curled into the box. Our players stood and watched Duffy head past McC who had not left his line. Piss poor! When Saints crash and burn it is a total disaster. In the first half. Redmond looked the player Pep believes he is – now he was finding it impossible to launch a telling cross into their box, given ample opportunity. He gradually ceased to exist, despite playing the full 90m.
The first sub was Jahanbaksh for March. Long then went over in the box and was penalised for handball before Dunk generously presented Ings with the ball which he fired high into the stand. McC was then obliged to field a Knockaert cross. Next 3 more subs arrived: Gabbi for Long, JWP for Ely and Brighton’s Locadia for Bissouma. Stephens immediately fouled Gabbi, but his defence easily dealt with JWP’s free kick. On 80m Knockaert set up Jahanbakash but the Iranian’s effort went wide of the near post.
With Saints dropping further backwards, they got lucky when a left wing cross struck Jahanbakash and fell nicely for McC. Brighton threw everything at us and play became increasingly scrappy. Bong won a corner off JWP but Saints kept it out. Hughes confirmed his fears by replacing Ings with Davis on 84m but it continued to be all hands to the pumps for the home side.
JWP showed extraordinary calmness carrying the ball out of defence, but others were giving away silly free-kicks. Duffy got his head to another, but thankfully put this one over the top. Mr Taylor (aka Bald Tw*t) then felt the need to book McCarthy for time wasting.
A rare foray upfield saw Ryan hit a clearance towards Gabbi. Miles out, he tried to catch the Aussie off his line but his attempt was wayward. With 4 added minutes beginning Brighton mounted another attack. Knockaert’s shot was blocked for a corner. Then McC did well to tip a goalbound effort over for another. When this came in, JWP was adjudged to have upended the giant Duffy and TBT pointed to the spot. Unsurprisingly Murray took it. Unsurprisingly Murray stuck it right down the middle as McC dived to his left. 2-2. Bugger!
Saints had one last chance to take all the points when Locadia’s trip on PEH gave Saints a free-kick. Bertie pulled rank, shooed everyone else away and struck his shot into the gloves of Ryan.
Saints had managed to make yet another draw feel like a defeat. At least the wonderful Højbjerg faced the Sky interviewer afterwards and sounded even more pissed off than we were. I doubt this is the vision he was sold when he left Bayern Munchen to join Saints...
Ings scores from the penalty spot
1 McCarthy - Booked 86'
2 Cédric - Booked 56'
11 Elyounoussi (Ward-Prowse 76')
7 Long (Gabbiadini 76')
9 Ings (Davis 84')
6 Stephens - Booked 77'
11 Knockaert - Booked 90'
8 Bissouma (Locadia 76' - Booked 90')
20 March (Jahanbakhsh 71')
Monday 17th September 2018
- Højbjerg 35'
- Ings 65' (pen)
- Duffy 67'
- Murray 90' (pen)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
- Southampton 51%
- Brighton 49%
- Southampton 14
- Brighton 12
Shots on Target
- Southampton 5
- Brighton 4
- Southampton 1
- Brighton 4
- Southampton 10
- Brighton 13