FairweatherFan

Southampton 1-0 Millwall Match Report

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Another easy away day for Lions fans as me and MrsB, with Grandson Jack in tow, aimed the Bonemobile towards the M3 and headed down to Southampton with, it has to be said, a fair bit of trepidation as we looked to take on the early season’s pace setters at St Mary’s.

I can’t recall a worse journey for a long time, it rained all the way and we had traffic jams virtually the whole route.

But we eventually turned up at the park and ride and climbed aboard what seemed like a vintage omnibus and we were soon rattling and shaking our way toward the stadium. By now the sun was shining and we were in a happy frame of mind as we disembarked and walked towards the turnstiles.

We had the misfortune to interact with a couple of locals who, on spotting our youngster bedecked in the Lions away strip, felt the need to patronise us on his splendid turn out. I always find this a bit awkward. I have no interest in talking to the locals and I don’t know why the would want to talk to us but the worse thing for me is I can never understand a bloody word they say, be they from Southampton or Southport, local dialects have me stumped.

For example, the woman who wanted to speak to us pointed to Jack and said “’ere, your bantling seems a good ‘un, does he get betwattled at the match?”

What?

Is that even English?

If in doubt, smile and nod and move on. Or if that fails, make up some drivel that puts them in the awkward place so I replied “ Yes, he’s not yet six and is already eating babies”…

We went in the ground after that and joined the 1600 odd Lions fans that thankfully speak the same language and made our way to our seats.

St Mary’s is a nice looking stadium; no question about that and the facilities are very good indeed. The whole set up looks ready for the premier league but the fucking locals aint…

They had some lisping, lightweight, laconic stadium announcer mugging to the camera as the pre match stuff got under way and soon the camp compere was far too over excited to be given the team line ups but he composed himself eventually and gave us the details.

Mr Jackett had made a bold change. Forde had been dropped like a wayward stitch and Mildenhall had been promoted from bench warmer to first choice ‘keeper. The back four was Dunne, Ward, Robbo and Craig; the midfield quartet had Henry and Bouazza on the wings with Trotter and Mkandawire in the middle, which left Henderson and Marquis as the striking partnership.
Referee D’urso got us under way and we were under the cosh straight away with the home side doing their best to stamp their authority on proceedings. A couple of early corners had us wobbling a bit but Mildenhall certainly looked the part as he dealt with them both. They then had a dubious free kick awarded just outside our box but our wall stood firm enough as Lambert hid a thunderous shot against it and we really did take a while to find our feet and start getting involved.

When disaster struck, it is fair to say, it wasn’t against the run of play. A simple move saw Do Prado out run Mkandawire and slot the ball past the outrushing Mildenhall. 1-0.

Twenty minutes of play and one goal down and we still didn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. The midfield was being over run and the wingers weren’t helping.

Lambert almost added a second when he tried a bit of a piss taking lob but the ball was always going to go over the top and then Connolly had a shot that was snuffed out by Robbo.

Mr Jackett must’ve thrown a switch after this as we started to get more involved. Marquis and Henderson were clearly getting frustrated by the lack of service but now the wingers were delivering and frustratingly the antics of the Saints defence went completely unnoticed by D’Urso and his assistant as they were happily letting the defenders grasp, clasp and hang on to the two Lions front men at every opportunity.

The worst example of this was when Bouazza hit a sublime cross to the waiting Henderson who was simply held in a bear like grip by Fonte which was plain ridiculous but again the officials completely ignored the penalty shout.

With about ten minutes of the half remaining we were getting some decent football going but then the board went up and Abdou replaced Trotter. I can only think it was a forced change because Trotter was starting to cause them a fair few problems.

The first half ended with no more action and the lads trudged off to stilted applause from the travelling faithful.


The second half saw a vast improvement from the Lions as Mr Jackett got his point across to the team and we started to look threatening. He replaced Marquis with McQuoid and less than a minute into the half and we shook the home sides confidence when McQuoid hit a shot from about twenty yards out that flew just over the bar. Bouazza then finished of a fine move with a low shot that narrowly missed the target.

Jimmy Abdou was desperately unlucky as he managed to get his body to the ball at close range but the momentum wasn’t enough to get it past the flapping hands of Saints ‘keeper, Davis.

We then watched in dismay as Davis parried first Robbo’s header from a Bouazza corner and then the follow up fell to Mkandawire whose shot was somehow stopped by the agile Davis who still managed to pick himself up and push McQuoid’s effort away for another corner.

Hackett came on, surprisingly, for Bouazza when the majority of the travelling fans expected the lack lustre Henry to be the one replaced but Henry then hit a high ranging cross that Davis just managed to pluck from the head of Abdou.

We began labouring in the sweltering heat and I think it was obvious to most that we were not going to get anything from the game. Southampton are a decent side and they looked just a little bit slicker and sharper than us and when the final whistle went the Lions fans applauded the efforts and sort of knew deep down that the result was about right.

We will play a lot worse than this and probably win but I know we can play a lot better.

We left the ground and made our way back to the park and ride buses and after watching some shenanigans in the car park the buses finally left to take us back to our cars. The highlight of this trip was when bus number two tried to over take bus number one and the drivers got caught up in the thrill of the race and I am sure there was a minor collision at one point.

We left the car park and went to the local Tesco petrol station and as I went to pay MrsB was already in the shop with Jack getting some sustenance for the journey home and the bloke behind the counter saw Jack in his Millwall kit and tried to make conversation…

I paid and left.

Still, cup fever is back at the Den on Tuesday with the visit of Morecombe and then Barnsley at home in the Championship so no time to dwell on this defeat we need to gird our loins and get on with the job in hand.


See you all there

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Comments

    good one ff, do you think we have more in our locker to over come the short falls we seem to have, or are we going to struggle.
    So far so good so I think we will be fine and to be honest we gave them a game. I lied about the man in the petrol station, he was a saints fan who was working and listened to the game on the radio and he said according to the commentary we were unlucky not to get a draw!