Sunday, October 24, 2010

League 1 Match 13 - Southampton 2 Oldham 1

D'Urso shows Man Utd who is in charge.

Back on home territory after last weeks away defeat and how would Saints react. I was hoping for a return to the style of football that blew away Tranmere in the last home game but I have a suspicion that no team will be as bad as Tranmere were. Oldham came here last year, parked the bus and got a 0-0, mainly on the back of outstanding defending by Reuben Hazell who snuffed out everything. He’s back again today along with his new manager, Paul Dickov who was known as ‘The Wasp’ when he was a player, simply because ‘The Irritating Annoying Little Shit’ wasn’t utterable until after the 9pm watershed.

It had been a quiet week for Saints with no arrests. All we had was a scare story about Lallana’s contract running out at the end of the season and we all knew that anyway. However, it was nice of the Daily Echo to make all other clubs aware of it and a rumoured £3million bid from Birmingham (probably a club and fee picked out of thin air) immediately did the rounds. Yawn! Perhaps Adam should shag a couple of tarts down Derby Road, call his manager a liar, say his team mates aren’t good enough to match his ambition and then sign a new deal as soon as more money is waved at him. However, I’m confident that Adam is a not a complete wanker like a certain shit ugly England footballer who to my mind, shouldn’t have been negotiating from a position of strength, having not had a decent game in six months.

This weeks player to be subjected to interviews was Jason Puncheon who made the usual noises about being nearly back to his best and talked of the Rochdale game when he got booed a bit. I remember that game – it was when he lashed two sitters so high that they would have hit the gasholders if the stand didn’t have a roof on it.

Saints had a selection issue in that Deano was suspended and so Schneiderlin came back into the team alongside Chaplow, a central midfield pairing that I did not expect great things from. Sir Rickie had recovered enough from his bang on the head to take his place up front, sporting a very fetching lump of plaster on his noggin. The Gulyman was again preferred to Lee ‘want some’ Barnard and the highlight on the bench saw the return of the mercurial Paul Wotton.

Saints started well and were keeping the ball and looking threatening. An early free kick from miles out was hit by Sir Rickie and parried by the keeper who then made an amazing save from Fonte’s follow up effort but the lino had the flag up anyway. It gave us hope that we’d break through soon and we then had the first Punch chance of the day when he twisted in from the right and worked it onto the favourite left foot. Faced with the usual Scuffer/Balloon choice, Punch went for the slightly mis-hit scuffer which beat everyone and bounced back off of the post…. unlucky and he was unlucky again a minute later after nicking the ball high up the pitch and squaring to Schneiderlin, he had to watch Morgan lash it over the bar.

In Oldham’s first attack we got D’Ursoed. Andy D’Urso, former Premiership referee who now is in League 1, famous for allowing Man Utd players to chase him round the pitch. The ball got played into our box to a clearly offside player and the lino did his job and flagged. D’Urso knew best though and waved play on and Superkelv had to produce a decent save whilst everybody stopped. It was only afterwards that I kind of realised that he’d have bloody given it if it had gone in.

The midfield duo of Chaplow and Schneiderlin was looking particularly weak defensively and instead of playing as the attacking midfielder as he had been recently, Morgan was playing the holding role as only Morgan does…. badly. He got wrong-side of Taylor, the Oldham runner from midfield and allowed him to slide a pass through to Furman who evaded a sleeping Harding and poked it across Davis and into the net for a truly abysmal goal from a defensive point of view.

Adam Lallana sparked into life and teed up Sir Rickie on the edge of the box. Last year this would have flown in the net but this is not last year and it flew over the bar. Following this miss it all went to shit for about 20 minutes with only the Gulyman providing any highlights, narrowly firing wide a couple of times and generally being a pain for the defenders. It’s noticeable how many times he catches defenders with the ball and I think it’s because he looks like he can’t be arsed to run but then he does run and once he decides to run – he’s bloody quick. Also, his legs are about 5 feet long so he can nick the ball without actually getting that close.

Half time approached and I sensed that the SMS faithful were getting ready to boo the team off at half time. Unhappy with this state of affairs, Adam Lallana drifted from left to right, beating a host of defenders as he went before being fouled on the right hand edge of the penalty area. He got up and floated the free kick onto the head of Jose Fonte who buried it from a couple of yards out. Half time and jeers had turned to cheers.

At half time, a choir came out on to the Kingsland side of the pitch and sang a couple of vaguely gospel numbers. There were a few of them but I make no apology for only noticing the girl on the right of the front row as you watched from the Kingsland…. Wow! I challenge any bloke who was sat near me to deny they were thinking the same thing. After they’d finished, I wondered when the Chuckle Brothers would kick off talking bollocks but they’d moved about six seats along so I couldn’t hear the magic that fell from their mouths.

The second half started in scrappy fashion and the first major incident leaves us talking about D’Arsehole again as the Gulyman went through on goal and was goalside of Hazell, the last defender who clearly grabbed his arm. Guly tried to stay on his feet and even with his telescopic leg, couldn’t reach the ball to shoot as he was being hauled back. Penalty and a red card all day long but D’Arsehole and the lino, amazingly decided not.

The game was drifting and it was crying out for a change in centre midfield as Chappers was on a one man mission to give the ball way as much as possible and Morgan had gone back to doing nothing of note, which he always does when he plays as the defensive midfielder. Around 65 minutes, Nigel decided it was time for a change and Alex Chamberlain and Lee Barnard came on for Punch and Sir Rickie meaning that the central area remained the same but that we still had the Wotton card to play.

Within ten minutes we were in front as a spot of pinball around the Oldham penalty area ended with Chamberlain with the ball with a bit to do. The nipper stepped on the gas and drifted past a defender before drilling home. Get in…. the boy can play.

It was getting near cramp time for do Prado and before he collapsed, he was replaced by The Late Paul Wotton who received a possibly ironic heroes welcome as the launched himself into the fray with his speciality overhead clearance where he picks out a random opposition player with a blind hoof over his shoulder. I was a bit worried that this substitution would invite Oldham onto us but both Schneiderlin and Chaplow pushed further forward to support Barnard who was still sporting his cast on his hand which interestingly means that his hand is always in a fist shape.

I feel that if Barnard had full use of his right hand, he may have belted D’Arsehole with it who was basically allowing the Oldham defence to prepare Barnard for prison life with repeated assaults from behind (oooooooooooh!). I see you still have all of your limbs… play on!

Anyway – 90 minutes up and time for the ‘Added Time Scoreboard of Fate’…. 5 minutes, oh do fuck off. Saints came desperately close to sealing it when Alex Chamberlain ran from inside his own half, leaving about 5 players in his wake before firing against the far post. Oldham of course, put their defensive mountain up front and started launching it which in the main is expertly dealt with by the one man defensive unit that is Jose Fonte. They got the one chance that D’Arsehole was obviously hoping they’d get and Superkelv came to the rescue with a fine finger tip save in the 95th minute. D’Arsehole then got something right by blowing the final whistle.

In truth it was a strange performance – there was a lot less of the passing football of the Tranmere and Bournemouth games and a lot more hitting the channels for Guly and Sir Rickie to chase so at times it wasn’t pretty but the bottom line is that we won, against a well organized team who came for a point. Not only that but we were 1-0 down and as The Daily Echo helpfully pointed out during the week, we never get anything when we go behind, not even a goal. Chamberlain and Barnard made massive differences when they came on and the injection of pace came at just the right time. I would think that the Chamberlain or Punch question must be kicking around in Nigel’s mind. Also, I thought Fonte was superb today and Butterfield had a decent match. A few grumbles though… I hate to say I told you so but I fucking did and Chaplow and Schneiderlin were a poor combination. Chaplow gives the ball away far too often and Morgan will never be a defensive midfielder as long as he has a hole in his ass. I was also not impressed by Harding today who looked very sluggish and aside from his non-contribution to their goal, a lot of our attacks seemed to break down on him, especially in the first half. Personally, I’d like to see Ryan Dickson given a go as he adds a bit more pace on the left where we currently have none.

Nigel was happy in his press conference and praised the subs, including the Legend of Wotton and was also scathing of the goal we conceded. Thye win closed the table right up again and a win next week at Notts County could see us rise about 6 places, right into the playoff mix. Meanwhile, a word for Brighton now six points clear at the top… and the word is, bastards.

Oh… and Andy D’Arsehole… piss off back to the Prem… you’re useless.

Andy D'Urso has his own Facebook fan club.


  1. Great to see The Gifted One back in the mix Glenn.

    The wait has been almost unbearable!!!

    Seriously, it was good to see the team fight back from one down; Oldham looked very organised; it would have been too easy to have just rolled over - I think Jose's goal was the runing point, luckily.

  2. whoops - TURNING point!!!