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Rochdale 3 v 0 Gillingham
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 15th September 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Saints V Brighton The Verdict
Tuesday, 18th Sep 2018 09:52

A good entertaining performance from Saints that should have seen all three points in the bag before a late goal cost us dearly for the second consecutive home game.

A late goal from the visitors once again cost us dearly as or inability to defend balls swung into the box cost us two goals and two points, meaning in the last two home games we have dropped three points from two last minute goals.

With 25 minutes to go it was going so well for Saints, after dominating the first half and going into the break one up from a superb Pierre Emile Hojbjerg goal the second half was a lot tougher and Brighton came out fighting although right up to our second on 65 minutes when Danny Ings was brought down and got up to score from the spot, it had been mainly bluster from the Seagulls that Saints could cope with and with a two goal cushion Saints shoud have won it.

But barely had the celebrations ended and Brighton were back in the game, this was the point were a good leader on the pitch would be urging his team on, but we gave a way a silly foul and let Brighton score from a free header in the six yard box, I am saying nothing about this other than last season people would be demanding Fraser Forster be hung drawn and quartered for half coming and then stopping.

Saints appeared to be weathering the storm after this, but i'm not sure our use of substitutions helped, James Ward Prowse for Elyounoussi made sense, but not Gabbiadini for Long.

Shane Long had run his socks off but he was still going strong, he was closing down the Brighton defence, holding the ball up and drawing fouls which in turn stopped the visitors getting up a full head of steam, but this is not Manolo Gabbiadini's game, suddenly Brighton could press forward from the back and Saints didn't have Long to relieve the pressure.

But Saints appeared to be nearly home when a minute into the four added disaster struck, again it was our failure to deal with crosses, at the end of last season Alex McCarthy was outstanding in coming off his line and dealing with balls into the box, last night he appeared to be lacking a little confidence, he should have dealt with the first goal and for the equaliser if he had done what he did last season then we would have seen the game through.

If he had come and caught a fairly simple cross from a corner into the six yard box it would have relieved pressure, yes he made a fine save from the header, but he really should have dealt with the cross. From the resulting corner Brighton won their penalty.

The goal from the spot wasn't the last action, Ryan Bertrand's free kick in literally the last seconds, drew a superb save from the Brighton keeper.

All in all there were many plus points to take from the game, Saints were attacking, they were entertaining, no one can claim it was the bore draws of the past two seasons, several players were outstanding, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, Nathan Redmond and Shane Long all seemed to be at the heart of what we did, Hojbjerg semed to have everything, good defensively, strong going forward and a great goal.

Nathan Redmond ran at players with a confidence he has not shown in a long long time and Shane Long did what he does, the unsung heroes role where some look at the fact he hasn't scored rather than the work he does in winning challenges in the final third.

But it was undone by our failure to organise and defend, we allowed ourselves to go to deep, the Hoedt /Vestergaard partnership is in it's infancy but one of them needs to take command in the defence and hold a line, for the first goal we allowed ourselves to be pushed back too far, that in turn let McCarthy to be indecisive and Brighton were back in it.

As mentioned earrlier three points dropped in the final minute in the last two home games, with those points we would now be 9th with what would be a good start to the season, but we are still not completely rehabiliated and have paid a price and learned a few lessons and 13th on 5 is solid if unspectacular.

But we should not let the disappointment of last night cloud the issues, this is an entirely different side from a year ago, it has it's weaknesses but it also has a lot more plus points, there is light at the end of the tunnel and unlike last season it's not an oncoming train.

Photo: Action Images

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petedoors1 added 10:12 - Sep 18
James Ward Prowse for Elyounoussi made sense. No it never he gave away a stupid penalty which cost us the game. Prowse is to slow, cant tackle and to lightweight. I would never play him again.

SanMarco added 10:19 - Sep 18
Having got the lead at half-time against a woeful Brighton we sat back and let them come at us. That is a fair enough strategy if you can break quickly and pick them off. Once Brighton decided to push forward a good side would have exploited the gaps. Instead, I thought, we were rubbish. Long runs very fast but his lack of ability as a footballer was there for all to see - that 'heavy' touch when he was clean through was almost comical. Redmond disappeared in a second half in which we can have no complaints that Brighton won it by a goal.

Obviously the marking for the first goal was a turning point but the decision to bring on JWP was the second. Why was he brought on? The only thing he did in his time on the pitch was shove their bloke in the penalty area right in front of the ref. He didn't even take the late freekick.

It may be my disappointment speaking but this didn't feel an awful lot different from many home games over the last couple of years. Vital mistakes at the back and forwards who can't score. If Redmond and Long were car salesmen would they still be in a job after selling one each in a year? I am still not panicking - I am waiting resolutely until 10 games before considering that but I have to say - how low have our expectations become if that was a good performance??

DPeps added 10:32 - Sep 18
Following us over the last couple of years has been like watching a bad TV show, with predictable storylines and a rubbish script.
Each game is more or less the same, with some or all of the following ingredients:
- we play OK for part but don't really create many real chances
- at other points we panic (for no reason) and invite waves of attack
- Cedric gives the ball to the opposition 75% of the time (sorry to dig out an individual player, but Cedric is getting worse, if anything)
- the manager makes some, at best, ineffectual substitutions
- Hughes gives post-match interview where he moans about things outside of his control

I wonder about our fitness levels, as we can't seem to maintain a consistent level for 90s mins

There were some positives last night: Redmond was good for the most part - at least he actually runs with the ball! PEH was great.

Based on what I've seen so far this season, I'd say that we're marginally better than last season. However, I think the other teams in the bottom half are better than last season too, so read into that what you will

arthurfane added 10:56 - Sep 18
Okay so I'm not panicking, repeat: I'm not panicking.

Nonetheless - this is looking pretty desperate. We've had an incredibly easy start to the season, playing none of the top 6. Our mental fragility is clear for all to see and quite frankly embarrassing: how many times have we conceded less than 5 minutes after scoring? Dropping 13 points this season is very worrying - I can only hope this team galvanises against the league's big boys or we're in for a long and painful season.

There are a few positives for me: Redmond has been brilliant, Hojbjerg's terrible dive and red card appear to have brought the best out of him; he's on fire, and WE CAN SCORE AGAIN (seriously, give me a 2-2 over a 0-0 any day). Trouble is, Ings can't play this weekend against Liverpool :/

Worrying times, but we have shown positive stuff at times this season. We just need to adopt the strong mentality of a team like Bournemouth (tough saying that...) and we'll be fine.

landsdownsaint added 11:15 - Sep 18
This is a totally different saints from last season , great to watch but still the same weakness’s & how Hoedt still gets in above Yoshida baffles me

halftimeorange added 11:16 - Sep 18
My heart sank when Brighton scored their first, not because of surprise but because of the inevitability of it happening. At the first sign of some positivity from Brighton we collapsed like the proverbial house of cards. Let’s not kid ourselves, there is a lot wrong with our team. How can a 34-year old striker inches shorter than our main central defender consistently outjump and out manoeuvre him? Why does our other main centre back pass sideways within touching distance of opposing players? Why is our captain apparently mute? Nathan Redmond show all his ability in the first half and typically played truant in the second. Danny Ings cut a frustrated figure throughout the game having unsurprisingly failed to reach any of the high crosses coming in his direction. Despite energetic first halves from Lemina and Hobjberg they were overrun after the break. Where was the tackling back and support from our wingers? Cedric and Bertrand were both exposed. We should not regard Long as a potential goalscoring salvation. His value is in roughing up and tiring the opposition which he does well but he probably wouldn’t now regularly get in any other EPL side. The signs are very gloomy for us and when we finally meet the top teams we are likely to be soundly thrashed. Other than Newcastle I have yet to see such frailty displayed this season by any other club likely to be battling for survival. I bought my season ticket on a whim of optimism which, I’m sad to say, is fast evaporating.

dirk_doone added 11:21 - Sep 18
Dave Watson's coaching is starting to have the same effect on McCarthy that it had on Fraser Forster.

When you have to resort to bringing Ward-Prowse on to regain control of midfield, you know you are in trouble.

On a positve note, we have been incredibly lucky with injuries this season, facing Leicester without Vardy, Palace without Zaha and Brighton without Gross. Let's hope our good luck continues and Salah gets injured in training this week.

SonicBoom added 11:23 - Sep 18
Long does do a lot of work and that does have a value at certain times in a game.
Let's say we play someone else and they score(even hlaf of the chances). Last night we probably would have won.
I don't care what people say, if you are an attacking player, you need to be at least competent at taking chances and he isn't as the stats show.
For everything he brings, he also compromises us.
He routinely misses chances and we routinely don't win games.

helpineedsomebody added 11:26 - Sep 18
2 points from 3 home games
1st goal far too deep, plasterboard in the wrong position 2 against one, should have been on the eighteen yard line to catch them off side .
the 1st halve played walk about football , no balls played through the middle only hoof the ball sideways to the dug out. 2nd half back 6 camped on the eighteen yard line waiting to catch them on the break . you can can understand now why MR HUGHES HAS BEEN ASK TO LEAVE HIS PREVIOUS CLUBS.
liverpool next you can rest assured they dont play the ball in the air, so its awaste of time playing plasterboard in the middle .
you can rest assured MH will be playing 9 at the back & no forwards in the reserves. st marys is the new HIGHBURY NO EXCITMENT WHAT SO EVER.


LordDZLucan added 11:41 - Sep 18
How can we be vulnerable to crosses with 6ft 6ins and 6ft 2ins centre halves? It defies belief. Those two should be winning every cross that goes into the box. That wouldn't have happened back in the van Dijk/Fonte era. We're going to have to revert back to playing 3 centre halves.

SaintNick added 11:53 - Sep 18
Mark Hughes had to bring on a defensive minded midfielder to counteract Brighton's threat down that side where they were targetting Soares who was getting no protection from Elyounoussi, JWP was the only real option to do that from the bench.


DPeps added 11:59 - Sep 18
forgot to add the following to the typical storyline ingredients list:
- concede goals from routine set-pieces

Interesting stat on Sky last night was that we've now lost 13 points from winning positions under Hughes

SaintBrock added 12:21 - Sep 18
One good thing last night, no sign of Reed in the director's box and a new face sitting alongside Ralph? Fingers crossed there may be some movement off the ball in the box!

schatfield added 12:28 - Sep 18
helpinneed....really.....big sam??! I am not a big fan of Hughes but would never revert to that joker
This game highlights our confidence issues.....we have a good team but heads drop when the first goes in.
On the plus side, Pierre is looking magnificent, as is Shane Long (dont focus on the goals, he was the reason Brighton were pinned back in the first half)

SanMarco added 12:29 - Sep 18
Your answer tell's me why he came on Nick but it also tells me that we have problems if JWP is the best option as a 'defensive minded midfielder'. Couldn't he have brought Yoshi on as RB and pushed Cedric into midfield - couldn't have been any worse...could it?

bstokesaint added 12:31 - Sep 18
I’m not “panicking”, I’m actually heading in a slightly different direction, I am actually just losing interest altogether. I totally disagree that the game was “entertaining”. I think despite a great goal in the first half it was a pretty dull spectacle. Yes, we had 9 chances to their 1, but we’re not talking working the keeper’s socks off here. It feels like the over-passing (meaningless passes with no real threat or requiring any ability) and the fact that tackling feels all but outlawed in the modern game makes for a pretty boring spectacle, and we’re one of the best at representing that. I dared to get slightly excited over the second goal as Brighton were woeful at that point, but then we just invite them back in – nice guys that we are.

I actually felt sorry for Mark Hughes because personally I feel that his players let him and the fans down. But it just feels normal these days. There are no leaders out there.
Those in the family who purchased season tickets are now desperately regretting it and those I used to go to games with now won’t go if I offer to pay for them! I’m not quite sure how we’ve got to this. I’ve already made enquiries about cancelling Sky Sports too, as apart from us being so disappointing I can’t even be bothered to watch any neutral games anymore either.

SanMarco added 12:34 - Sep 18
'Don't focus on the goals' schatfield - he is one of our main strikers not a defensive midfield player. You could say that if he'd only scored 10 in the last year but surely 2 is nowhere near enough...

saintmark1976 added 12:58 - Sep 18
Seriously Nick, do you write this sort of report because you believe it or just to cause controversy?

Brighton were abject and any half decent team would have buried them yesterday evening. They were as bad for sixty five odd minutes as the Everton team we beat 4-1 last season. We gifted them a point due to a combination of lack of fitness, poor play and bizarre substitutions.

Contrary to what you suggest Redmond is not and never will be an even half adequate Premiership player. He has skill on the ball and pace on occasions but he hasn't got a footballing brain.In addition he goes missing for multiple periods during every game.In regard to J W P he shouldn't be anywhere near the team.He is lightweight, one paced, can't tackle or head a ball and frankly his dead ball kicking is now no better than any other member of the team.

The managers substitutions were totally rediculous yesterday.What was the point in putting Gabby on only to take off Ings shortly after. It just gave more possession to Brighton.Put simply Hughes panicked and this attitude spread to the players.

In reference to your final paragraph I just don't understand were you are coming from.There is no way that we are better than last season and our results so far prove it.


halftimeorange added 13:26 - Sep 18
I forgot to ask where is Armstrong? Is he injured? We desperately need a playmaker and, although he was in a Scotland side playing minnows last week, for the half hour he was on he was their best player, completing a lot of precise sharp passes.

halftimeorange added 13:26 - Sep 18
I forgot to ask where is Armstrong? Is he injured? We desperately need a playmaker and, although he was in a Scotland side playing minnows last week, for the half hour he was on he was their best player, completing a lot of precise sharp passes.

Colburn added 14:01 - Sep 18
All the hard work put in then the same old story of lack of leadership on the pitch combined with poor game management tactics meant we lost more points at home. This happens every time we get a lead then stop going forward with purpose.. I’m sorry but I fail to see what others see in Cedric, terrible defensively and doesn’t give much going forward. Redmond for me is a waste of a shirt. He has a bad attitude and last night gave away a stupid foul which we conceded from. He runs fast but rarely any end product with the final ball. Had an opportunity to create a 3rd goal and was instead greedy. Ings and Elyounoussi look really good for us potentially and Hojbjerg should be captain. Only leader there.. centre defence looks very slow, it’s a worry. At least Sparky seems to know his favourite 11 though. Wish we still had Sims and Hesketh around, why are we still not bringing through the youth? Loan after loan then, they should be involved..

aceofthebase added 15:35 - Sep 18
Ceric must surely have played his last game. Everyone has to cover for his deficiencies, whether it be his height, his speed or tackling. We must get Yoshi into the team and right back may not be his best position but he will be streets better than Cedric and also he has proved himself as a goalscorer at set pieces.

I'm afraid that Gabbi doesn't seize his chances. Sam should start and when we are three up bring on one of the non-scorers to boost their confidence, and not the other way around.

Some good displays by Redmond (1st half) and Hojbjerg throughout.

The subs were very disappointing, by choice and actions.

I_would added 16:00 - Sep 18
'James Ward Prowse for Elyounoussi made sense'. Totally incorrect as he did nothing then blew 2 points for Saints with very blatant and amateurish foul in the box. Also I don't remember Davis getting a kick of the ball so, all in all, a very bad day for Hughes.

BathSaint added 17:19 - Sep 18
"13th on 5 is solid if unspectacular."

I really can't understand this comment. 1 point per game is borderline relegation form. When you consider that we haven't played any of the top 6, and we've played one of the teams we really need to finish above to avoid relegation (Brighton), I can't agree that 5 points is a solid start.

I'm delighted with the impact ings has had, but our defensive weaknesses from last year seem no better, and if they aren't solved then I can't see anything changing.

underweststand added 17:39 - Sep 18
Once again we didn't put away the half-chances that occur in the first half of every game.
Bad luck, or bad timing?..(all these great goals they seem to score in practice games don't materialise when it matters. Going 2-0 up against Brighton we should have put the game to bed, but let them back into the game. I'd almost forgive JWP for "leaning on" the giant Duffy, because the chaos surrounding their first goal was a disaster.
Come back Yoshi - all is forgiven.

Redmond is decidedly better than last season, but did his " Invisible Man" routine in the 2nd half when we needed him most. Elyounoussi has still to find his feet at this level, but sadly ...we still see the same old Shane Long. Fastest sprinter in the Prem. but sadly he runs out of ideas in the box, and someone must surely make a training video of his 99 ways of NOT scoring.

When facing Liverpool on Saturday MH must come up with a better start side, and will be without (loanee) Danny Ings but I ask myself - where is Armstrong in all this confusion?
Let's not have to rely on Long and Austin for a strike force.


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