Southampton versus Sochaux
New boy Danny Butterfield played at right back after Frazer Richardson was ruled out for up to three months with a dislocated shoulder.
The team selection for Sochaux was stronger and Saints played well for long periods of the game once they had settled.
Saints First Half team:- Davis, Butterfield, Jaidi, Seaborne, Harding, Oxlade-Cham,berlain, Hammond, Schneiderlin, Mills, Lambert, Connolly.
The French top-flight side started quickly but once we had settled we gave as good as we got in an even open contest.
The most noticeable thing was the way saints closed down the opposition when not in possession. Something not done well against FC Thun.
Lambert and Oxlade-Chamberlain brought saves from the keeper as did Mills with a powerful effort in the end to end encounter.
Kelvin did well to keep the ball out on a couple of occassions as well. Once a stinging shot was parried out with Morgan helping to clear with a quick reaction.
Second Half Team :- Davis, Butterfield, Fonte, Seaborne, Harding, Puncheon, Hammond, Schneiderlin, Mills,Lamabert, Barnard.
The half started badly when Sochaux took the lead in the 50th minute.Boudebouz was able to fire home from 12 yards from a pinpoint cross which came in from the left flank.
This brought an instant reaction from the Saints with first Lambert going close and then Barnard having a goal unkuckily disallowed. A dubious offside decision ruling out the goal just before the hour mark.
Then with the Saints looking the most likely to score Sochaux broke away and settled the game. Maurice-Belay soaring the highest to head a powerful shot past Davis.
Pardew responded by substituting Butterfield with Lee Holmes. Harding moved to the right flank with Mills dropping back and Holmes playing left midfield.
Again the team reacted well and began forcing the pace of the game. They pressed well when out of possession and tried to break quickly when countering.
As the game slowed substitutions were more regular with Davis,Seaborne, Schneiderlin and Hammond being replaced by Forecast, Martin, McNish and Wotton.
Saints did come close once more as the clock ticked down. The game closed with Saints feeling disappointed that a consolation could not be found.
Alan Pardew was not too downcast though as he felt the team did well against two good teams. FC Thun was probably too soon but the French side knew that they had had a game at the end of their game.
He felt that for long periods of the game, Saints were a match for the top French side. A good workout was had and showed him that though a little rusty with regard ball use the team was fully fit and upped the workrate from their first game.
Alan stressed that he was very pleased with some of the performances but some still needed to step up to the plate. We have had two hard games and now he is anticipating some good performances against lower opposition.
I feel that we will soon be able to tell how well we are doing and believe we will have a magnificently brilliant winning season.