It’s not always easy to come to terms with a 4-1 home defeat, no matter how much you try and mitigate it with the fact that it was a Premier League side and not really deserved. The difference between the top flight and League One was exemplified with the great finishing and ball control throughout the pitch which was ultimately Boro’s undoing. Oh yes, and an over-zealous referee…
Boro’ had their chances during the first half and ought to have taken at least one of them – Greg Tansey’s wonderful free kick was unlucky to smack against the underside of the bar, while Marcus Haber was unable to head us ahead on more than one occasion. Going in 0-0 at the break was fortunate for one side, and it wasn’t Boro’. That said, the first goal for the visitors changed that.
Southampton seemed to place a great deal of emphasis on passing the ball around the back and inviting – particularly during the first half – Boro’s attacking men to press hard. There were times it nearly left egg on the faces of those Saints players concerned, but as long as it continued, our energy levels were dropping. It wasn’t helped by an increasing gap between Haber and the trio playing in behind him.
The second goal will be mocked at the School of Refereeing. If Robbo meant that backpass, he’s a better player than Lionel Messi can ever hope to be. But, as much as Oliver Langford has a case to answer, there were things that could’ve been done to stop it ending in a goal – after all, once it went in, heads can drop. Seeing Jason Puncheon’s strike would only make it worse.
There was still some fight left in Boro’ and what a great thing to see Michael Thalassitis net his first senior goal. Plenty more of those would be a treat young Thala. We are rightly proud of our home record and this result will have hurt, but it’s back to League One on Saturday and a game in which some of our play from last night will create serious problems for our next guests Shrewsbury.
Ratings To March In With Saints By:
|6 – Left helpless for all four goals, particularly the third|
|7 – Mean, moody, magnificent – like Mr Barraclough…|
|6 – Solid, but found life hard against tricky attackers|
|6 – As ever, ran long into the night for the cause|
|5 – Positioning exposed by higher league opponents|
|7 – A great engine and committed tackling from start to end|
|7 – Unlucky not to have scored with fantastic free kick|
|6 – Grew in confidence before half time, but faded in second half|
|7 – A delight to watch at times but influence waned as the Saints took control|
|7 – No mercy shown to Southampton defenders in chasing the ball|
|6 – A very decent shift; perhaps ought to have scored|
|6 – The eagerest of all the eager beavers|
|6 – Limited opportunity to make any telling contributions|
|7 – A woeful diving header forgotten by his first senior goal|