Southampton v Leicester
St.Mary’s, Saturday 17th October 2015
> A game of two halves
> Leicester equalise in Extra Time
As I left the ground, feeling disappointed, it struck me that I'd just watched a game where each team got a point, each team scored two goals and yet one set of fans would be feeling like they'd won and we were feeling like we'd lost. This was one of those games that I usually try to forget about as I leave the ground, but I have to do this so I need to go through it again.
I started the day at the Sports Centre; for three hours I stood watching netball and getting a bit cold, it was then a bit of a rush to get to footer. I had to grab some chips on the walk to the ground to try and warm myself up. As it was, we got to the ground in plenty of time, thankfully the chips and the walk had warmed me up. Normally I don't like all the guff at the start of games; the ref picking the ball off a plinth, the teams lining up, the handshakes, the big Barclays advert etc, but I do quite like us walking out wearing tracksuit tops, I think it's because it reminds me of one of my earliest footer memories, going to watch my dad play and collecting the tracksuit tops that his team had run out wearing.
I felt quite confident as the game started, but it was only about 5 minutes old before one of the blokes behind had moaned about a Saints player. Mané is a 'dick' apparently; true he did give the ball away which lead to Leicester firing in a cross which Davis, in for the injured Stekelenburg, got finger tips to, pushing it away and avoiding every other player in the box, it it was a little harsh.
From then on, apart from Vardy shooting over, Saints were the better team. Cédric was having a good game, despite a collision of heads with Schlupp which left him bloodied, bandaged and looking a little woozy. Pellè was doing his usual great job of holding up the ball and linking with others, Mané brought a great save from Schmeichel and JWP was looking comfortable and at home in the middle of the pitch.
In the 21st minute we went 1-0 up. We won three corners in a row and from the last of those, floated in by Tadić, Fonte celebrated his new contract by heading in. He looked delighted and we were delighted. Well, I say "we", the bloke behind was still moaning. He's there every week, he saw the Norwich game and the Swansea game, and I reckon he at least saw the highlights of the Chelsea game, and yet according to him we are a team full of rubbish! He moans about us keeping possession, seems obsessed with getting the ball in the box as quick as possible and generally doesn't seem to like us, or how we play. It's puzzling and, as he doesn't stop, pretty annoying.
Things looked comfortable for us when we went 2-0 up after 37 minutes. Saints took a short corner ("Oh, what's the point of that?" said our disgruntled friend), it changed the angle and Pellè headed against the post from JWP's cross, it rebounded to Van Dijk who bobbled it onto the post again before firing it into the roof of the net. It later emerged that Van Dijk was off-side, but as I would be left thinking a bit later in the day, "That's football."
Drinkwater did have another effort for Leicester, but Kelvin Davis made a great save pushing his shot over the bar.
At half time I looked on the BBC website and it said something like "Southampton are quietly dominating the game". I just hoped we'd continue in that vein, as I really didn't want to be another statistic in Leicester's habit of coming back from 2-0 down this season.
Leicester made two substitutes at half time, Dyer and Mahrez came on. I was surprised that we didn't make any, Cédric emerged with a clean bandage, but Wanyama and Steven Davis had taken knocks in the first half that needed treatment.
You have to admire Leicester's togetherness, and spirit, they looked a different team in the second half, they were pests, they wouldn't leave us alone to play our football. And they had the temerity to go at us with the pace of Nathan Dyer.
Cédric and Steven Davis were replaced, I'm sure it was because of their injuries, and Clasie made his first Premier League appearance, with Yoshida coming on for Cédric.
Leicester were playing better, but we couldn't get our game going and were struggling. Just after the hour mark, Dyer went on a run down our left and crossed for Vardy to score with a header at the near post.
We still had chances to put the game to bed, Mané probably should have done better after rounding the keeper and also when trying a long range lob. Pellè was unlucky when firing over after a neat back heal from Mané.
The replica shirt wearing, season ticket holding, whinger behind me was still cursing our players, but now he was gushing over Leicester's. While our team is full of crap players, Leicester have apparently got some great players; Dyer and Mahrez were superb, according to him, and Vardy is way too good for the Foxes and will be at a huge club in January.
I couldn't quite work out how there were 5 minutes of added on time, but almost inevitably during that time they equalised, after we got ourselves in a mess, allowing Vardy to smash a shot high into the net. It was annoying, disappointing and yet not unexpected. We should have been better, but Leicester had the momentum and capitalised on it.
Leicester's fans went mental, but then we all know how good an injury time equaliser can feel, and they will certainly had left the ground feeling like they'd won, even though they'd only got one point, just like us (although the idiot behind me was convinced we'd thrown 3 points away).
Sometimes that is how football goes, and that's what makes it the game we all love. As annoying and frustrating as games like this are, the drama and unpredictability is what keeps us coming back for more. We didn't play well in the second half, but we know how well we can play and how well we will play again; this was just one of those days. That's football for ya!
02 Soares (Yoshida - 60' )
17 van Dijk
21 Bertrand Booked
08 Davis (Clasie - 60' )
12 Wanyama Booked
11 Tadic (Rodriguez - 75' )
15 Schlupp (Dyer - 45' )
20 Okazaki (Mahrez - 45' )
02 de Laet
- Fonte 21′
- van Dijk 37′
- Vardy 66′, 90′
FT 90 +6
Referee : Paul Tierney
Attendance : 30,966
- Southampton 50%
- Leicester 50%
- Southampton 14
- Leicester 26
- Southampton 6
- Leicester 7
- Southampton 6
- Leicester 7
- Southampton 16
- Leicester 10