Southampton extended their lead at the top of the table with a comfortable victory over Barnsley. Though never reaching the heights of early season they were always looking likely winners of this encounter.
Barnsley held Saints well for the first half hour and could have been in the lead if a great chance hadn’t gone begging. Once Adam Lallana scored from a Rickie Lambert knockdown though there was only ever going to be one winner.
The first half ended with Saints holding the single goal lead and we waited to see what changes might be made to the team for the second half. No changes were made for the start but Saints began with much more positivity and Morgan Schneiderlin came close with a rasping drive that stung keeper Luke Steele’s hands.
Tadanari Lee kept the Barnsley defence honest with some hard running and constant movement. The second goal stemmed from this when after beating a defender near the half way line he ran down the wing before cutting inside along the bye line and laying a perfect cut back to Lallana who side footed the ball home.
2-0 and Saints were now in cruise control. Such was their control they gave Rickie Lambert a hard earned rest after three hard games and we saw Jack Cork enter the fray.
Guly thought he should have won a penalty soon after and before the end Lallana had a blatant penalty appeal turned down when he was fouled by McEveley. Barnsley also had a possible penalty appeal refused as the game drifted by and when the final whistle was blown the fans celebrated having heard some of the other results in the division.
The promotion bid is back in our control again after the results this week so hopefully we will see more urgency from the players. The win was gained easily enough which is always pleasing when the team isn’t firing on all cylinders which is a good sign.
The big plus for me is how quickly Lee has adapted to our style of play and gelled with his teammates.
oin Vital Southampton
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Nigel Adkins 7 – Nothing special today as he never had a serious decision to make with regard to this game.
Keith Hill was ill so David Flitcroft held the reins and he did as well as could be expected. – 6
‘They were extremely hot conditions out there for the players and we have adapted our shape a little bit in the first half and then in the second I thought our performance in keeping possession of the football was outstanding. I don’t think anyone can deny that the quality of our passing was very good.