Southampton v Huddersfield
12th May 2019
A stunning goal from Nathan Redmond lifted the game above the mundane
IBO Reporter : channonite
Well, we made it through another season, but just when you thought things were looking up, it damn well just goes and fizzles out, like some damp Catherine wheel at a second rate firework display. Those were my thought as we were in the final minutes of one of the most tedious matches that I have been unfortunate to witness for some time. Maybe I should have just gone to the PL2 Playoff game between Saints and Newcastle on the next evening. It was a damn site more entertaining and the youngsters went and defended a 2-1 lead under the most ferocious pressure towards the end. Something the seniors have signally failed to do on many occasions this season.
Anyway, after the experimentation of West Ham, Hasenhüttl went back to more the more tried and trusted formation of 4-3-3, with Gunn returning in goal and a back four of Stephens and Bednarek, with Valery and Bertrand as the wing-backs. Midfield was Ward-Prowse, Romeu and Højbjerg, with a front three of Redmond, Ings and Long. What could go wrong against an abysmal Huddersfield side?
There were a small number of good humoured Huddersfield fans in the away section and they were rewarded by their club with free away shirts (in that horrendous day-go yellow) on each of their seats, which they all seemed to change into, making them look something like a phalanx of kids on their way to school on a winter's morning. Still, fair play to the club to give the fans something back to compensate for what must have been a dreadful season. As it turned out, the Huddersfield fans were far more entertaining than the game.
The early exchanges were riddled with errors and at one point Ings got Long away and the Huddersfield defence got into a right state, but Ings in swivelling to log the keeper, who was way off his line, lost his balance and missed the goal by a long way. It wasn't only the visitors defence in trouble. Saints made a right Horlicks of trying to close down their forwards and the impressive Mooy fired just over the bar.
The first half was largely forgettable, with Danny Ings looking decent in bursts, without ever actually stringing anything together to actually trouble the Huddersfield goal. Then, five minutes before half time, a moment of individual brilliance lit up the stadium. Starting from the left of the opposition area, Nathan Redmond picked up a pass from Ings and ran parallel to the goal line and suddenly fired a right foot shot which arrowed into the top right of the goal. 1-0. Absolutely stunning. The body language of the Huddersfield defenders said it all - complete disbelief.
So, Saints went into the dressing room 1-0 up and looking in no danger. Hasenhüttl was not happy with what he had seen of the defending and at the start of the second half Targett replaced Long, with the Englishman going to left back and Bertrand to CB with Stephens and Bednarek.
For a short while the home team looked threatening, with a Ward-Prowse shot cannoning off the cross bar. Then came the moment that Gunn will want to forget. From a rare bit of Huddersfield pressure the goalkeeper collected the ball and played it wide left to Bertrand, who straight away played it back to Gunn. Rather than boot it upfield, he chose to delay kicking it and in a flash Pritchard had nipped in robbed the Saints keeper and side-footed into an empty net. 1-1. Pathetic. This time it was Saints players to look on in disbelief, not at a moment of genius, but utter stupidity.
The game limped on with Ings still unable to make any luck in front of goal, until eventually he was replaced by Charlie Austin (complete with a new dyed blonde hairstyle). Shortly after Sims was sent on in place of Romeu, but it did nothing to liven things up. The only action on the pitch was Austin almost hitting the target, on what may well be his last appearance for Saints, but unfortunately his shot fizzed inches wide.
Although the game had little to excite for long, long periods, at least there were the Huddersfield fans to entertain, their chanting at any given opportunity "We are going down, we are going down" was endearing. During one particular dull period, where nothing was happening, they asked "Shall we sing a song for you?" And there was no response, so they simply gave us a rousing rendition of "Oh when the Saints go marching in". Quality. The final bit of entertainment was just after the Northam end had chanted to Danny Ings "Danny ings, he's one of our own", some inebriated fat bloke ran onto the pitch for some reason and got roundly booed by everyone. Once he had been led away, the away end chanted "That fat bloke, he's one of your own", which got a round of applause from all corners of the ground.
And so the season limped to an end. It could have been worse, but not by much.
Franny Benali was interviewed by his daughter Kenzie at halftime after he raised more than £1million for Cancer Research UK with his ‘Iron Fran’ challenge
Charlie Austin fires just inches wide in the last minute of extra time, in what may well be his last game for the club
14 Romeu (Sims 84')
7 Long (Targett 45')
9 Ings (Austin 76')
7 Bacuna (Daly 66')
6 Hogg - Booked 84'
21 Pritchard (Mounie 86')
Referee: Lee Probert
- Southampton 54%
- Huddersfield 46%
- Southampton 10
- Huddersfield 10
Shots on Target
- Southampton 3
- Huddersfield 3
- Southampton 4
- Huddersfield 3
- Southampton 8
- Huddersfield 6