Southampton 0 Plymouth Argyle 1
At the onset of hostilities it was Southampton who were making the running. Plymouth were totally outgunned and could have fallen a couple of goals down but for some desperate but timely tackling.
Two early Harding corners caused argyle a bit of concern and to start with Jason Puncheon showed a lot of attacking nous.
Lee Barnard missed with a header from a good Ryan Dickson cross as it went wide. Though pressing almost non-stop clear cut chances were not being made with any regularity.
There was no real hint of a threat though as we continued to press forward and when Plymouth did manage a foray into our half the defence stood up well.
In the 26th minute after some more good work a Morgan Schneiderlin shot from outside of the box flew wide and still we pressed.
Ten minutes from the break after another bit of good work a Danny Butterfield hit a cross shot which dipped just over the bar.
Next came a free kick which set up Jason Puncheon whose shot was parried by Button before he was able to collect it and draw it safely into his arms.
The final chance of the half came from a well struck cross deep into the box where Radhi Jaidi was unable to direct it goalwards due to the presence of two Argyle defenders.
The second half started with us expecting more of a show from Plymouth but we were stunned almost as soon as the half started.
Maclean harried on the left and then sent in a cross which was flicked on for Luke summerfield to prod home . Harding may have been at fault as he badly misjudged the flight and got caught flat footed.
The stadium went deathly quiet apart from the few Argyle fans who went wild with joyful celebration. It could even have got worse as we looked completely demoralised and for a few minutes we were badly drained.
Saints struggled to recover from the shock and Plymouth seemed a much better team than we had faced in the first half. The goal having such a dramatic effect on the match.
On the hour mark, with the crowd calling for him, Adam Lallana was introduced. Harding was removed with Dickson taking his place to make room for our young hero.
With Lallana now onboard the Saints were given a new impetus. They began to reclaim the ascendancy but were not able to regain the supremacyof the first half.
Puncheon took a free-kick given for a foul by Timur on Barnard and sent it goalwards but button was able to collect it safely.
Then Lallana and Puncheon combined well to come close to setting up Barnard but Lee was flagged offside. Puncheon then sent a shot over the bar as we began to exert more pressure.
Lallana then combined well with Connolly before his goalbound shot was deflected behind for a corner. Saints were now regaining some of the form from the first half and the crowd began to wake to the task at hand of cheering on the team.
Argyle brought om Rory Patterson for Maclean and he brought a little sharpness back into their play. Then Clarke was brought on for their goalscorer Summerfield.
Saints kept upping the pressure as we went entered the last tem minutes but still no goal would come. Barnard having a shot blocked as he appeared to be about to score was the closest we came. Lee Holmes was brought on as we entered 3 minutes of extra time for Puncheon but to no avail.
The time ran out and the final whistle was blown and we had failed yet again to kick our season off with a win. The team walked off looking dejected and now we have to raise their spirits for Bournemouth.
Most in the crowd were wondering how we had succeeded in throwing away yet another game which for long parts we had dominated.
Plymouth had defended well but we again lacked the cutting edge required. Alan Pardew says Lambert is near to a return and on today's showing we need him desperately.
That said, if we had scored from one of our earliest chances, the way we played in the first half we could have had a realatively comfortable game.
What a big word if is. We showed a lot of good things today and there was much to applaud. We still look weak in midfield though which gives me cause for concern but a goal or two can do wonders for morale.
My verdict is that we were unlucky today. Though we have to admit you need to score to win and that we failed to do today. Roll on Bournemouth.
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