Southampton win against toothless Tigers
The Saints continue to dominate by racking up their 21st consecutive home win.
On a cold day at St Mary’s the Saints came from behind to extend their incredible home record to 21 straight wins, with second-half goals from Adam Lallana and Brazilian Guly do Prado helping overcome Hull in a 2-1 win.
Both Southampton and Hull came into this game on the back of weekend defeats – Saints having lost 2-0 to Bristol away at Ashton Gate and Hull losing 3-2 at home to Burnley.
Saints boss Adkins made a couple of changes from Saturday, with left back Dan Harding coming in for Danny Fox and Morgan Schneiderlin playing on the right of a flat 4-4-2 following an injury to Richard Chaplow.
Once the game kicked off it took less than three minutes for the first opportunity to arise. Morgan Schneiderlin, who has scored only twice in over 100 games for Southampton, forcing a good save from 12 yards from Peter Gulacsi, the Hungarian keeper on loan from Liverpool. Adam Lallana also seemed to be brimming with confidence, going close with a fizzing 25 yard drive which just cleared the bar, before being denied by a great last ditch block when looking odds-on to score in the Hull box.
The lack of natural width in the Saints team was showing, with lots of possession in front of the Hull midfield but a lack of penetration, despite the best efforts of the superb Richardson and industrious Harding bombing forward at every opportunity. Meanwhile Hull were growing in confidence, and when midfielder Tom Cairney chased down a weak Jose Fonte backpass Kelvin Davis charged out of his box and scythed him down, and was lucky to only get a yellow card. A floated Lambert cross then found Guly in the box, with his flicked header just clearing the far post. When found by an Lallana corner he produced an almost identical header just wide with St Mary’s looking on expectantly.
This spurred Hull on, after Lallana conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box with only a couple of minutes of the half left, Corry Evans, the Northern Irish international, stood over the ball ominously. It was curled in and Cairney did well to get his head on it, forcing a save from Davis, who could only parry it to Robert Koren, who headed in the rebound from close range.
At half time Adkins showed his second half intentions by taking off the ineffective Jack Cork for the Belgian winger Steve de Ridder, prompting cries of ‘Steeeeeeeve’ from the home support.
Southampton started the second half energised, with the pace and trickery of de Ridder causing the Hull defense problems from the off. Within three minutes the scores were level again, Guly placing a nice finish into the top right corner following good work from Rickie Lambert. It took only 8 minutes before the turnaround was complete, Frazer Richardson whipping a good ball into the area following a fantastic run, which was turned in with a deft header from Lallana.
At this point Southampton took control of the game, retaining possession well and working the ball into good positions with just the final ball lacking. On the 65th minute Manchester United loanee Robbie Brady came on for the anonymous Cameron Stewart for Hull, and shortly afterward Lee Barnard replaced Rickie Lambert to carry on his comeback from injury following a 7 month layoff.
Brady only lasted just over 10 minutes as a rash challenge on Harding resulted in an early bath and Hull’s chance of getting back into the game diminished significantly. Southampton saw out the final stages comfortably, and with second placed West Ham beating third place Middlesbrough, the Saints are now 8 points clear in the automatic promotion places, and are still sitting pretty at the top of the table. With confidence high and only a month until the new year, Southampton will be hoping to enter 2012 at the top of the pile.
Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Harding; Schneiderlin, Cork (De Ridder h-t), Hammond, Lallana; Do Prado (Holmes 84), Lambert (Barnard 71). Subs Bialkowski (g), Martin.
Hull (4-2-3-1): Gulacsi; Rosenior, Chester, Hobbs, Dudgeon; Evans, Cairney (Adebola 87); McLean, Koren, Stewart (Brady 66); Fryatt. Subs Basso (g), Dawson, McShane.