Southampton v Blackpool
St Mary's Stadium
Sat 8th Jan 2011
both teams made a lot of changes to their teams with Blackpool making 9 and Saints making 8 to the teams that played their respective games last time out.
Saints changed the complete defence with Bialkowski, Richardson, Seaborne, Martin and Harding coming in. Puncheon back from his loan spell with Millwall, Schneiderlin and Barnard also returned for the game.
The game started with both sides playing open adventurous football and blackpool had the first opportunity on goal with pool winger Phillips screwing a shot well wide.
Both sides had chances early on and Adam Lallana had two efforts in the space of a minute as he tried to celebrate the signing of a new contract with a goal.
With Saints doing a lot of pressing Puncheon forced a corner which was taken by Lallana. The corner was met by Aaron Martin who saw hios header hit a teammate and rebound to safety for Blackpool.
There was a bit of a lull in the game before Rickie Lambert smashd a ferocious shot goalwards which Rachubka managed to keep out turning the ball away to safety.
As Saints continued to press, Barnard cheekily headed the ball out of the keepers hand and netted, but the referee disallowed the goal.
Frazer Richardson then managed to get himself booked for a rash challenge as Phillips bore down on the Saints goal. The free-kick was taken by Southern but he blazed wildly over the bar.
Play continued at the same pace with both sides trying to open up the opposition with swift strikes and Blackpoolwere the next to give away a free-kick in a dangerous place.
Rickie Lambert strode up to take the kick and though he struck the shot well it rebounded kindly and was saved comfortably by Rachubka.
Blackpool continued to prove a threat though and Aaron Martin was booked as he broke up another pool attack with a foul on Phillips. The winger was proving a real handfull and he was certainly keeping our defence alert.
Saints then swung back into action and won another corner. The corner landed in the box and a goal looked a formality as Rachubka was only able to push the ball into Lambert's path, but the scouser smashed the ball onto the underside of the bar and it rebounded to safety.
With Saints raising their game more and more pressure was put on the Pool defence. Lallana showed his trickery with some sublime footwork before crossing for Barnard to head goalwards but straight at the keeper.
Then with Saints doing all of the attacking Lambert fed Puncheon who was clear with a one on one with the keeper but he was thwarted by Rachubka who stayed big and blocked his effort.
Blackpool then made a break which won them a corner before Saints had another chance. Swooping forward at speed Lallana ended up with the ball 25 yards out and he hit a shot which just went over the bar. HT 0-0.
Saints pressed at the restart with Sylvestre getting booked as he broke up a Saints attack with a foul.
Blackpool then had a great chance to score. A cross from the right was met by Jason Euell whose firm header went just over the bar with Saints heaving a sigh of relief.
Play continued with the same open play and Saints finally struck gold on 53 minutes. Lallana collected the ball in the centre and moved forward before finding Lambert on the left hand side of the area. Lambert shot firmly and the keeper did well to keep the ball out but it fell kindly to Barnard who remained cool before slotting the ball into the back of the net.
The goal sparked even more pressure as Saints went looking for a second goal to seal the victory. Blackpool made a substitution bringing on Barkhuizen for Tomsett.
A few minutes later Dean Hammond limped off and was replaced by Ryan Dickson. The substitution brought about a slight change as Schneiderlin sat back with Dickson and Puncheon ahead of him. Lallana was playing behind the strikers.
Blackpool then forced Bialkowski into his first save as they tried to respond.Phillips again did well as he raced forward and his curling shot was turned over the bar by Bart.
Blackpool then made their second substitution with Francis-Reynolds coming on for Eardley. They then came even closer to scoring with Phillips again the danger man.
He flew down the left wing before crossing to Ormerod whose effort hit the post and was hacked clear by Martin with Ormerod ready to pounce.
The game was now more even as both sides strived to score. Lambert chested the ball down to Barnard and his shot was turned away by Rachubka before Blackpool responded with Ormerod having a low shot saved by Bialkowski.
Saints then struck fast and this time Lambert had a fierce strike turned away well by Rachubka. Next Lambert again fed Barnard whose first time shot was brilliantly saved by the keeper.
Ormerod was then substituted with Roberts and as he left the field of play the whole ground stood to applaud him.
Saints then brought on Guly do Prado and he replaced Lallana who also receivede a standing ovation from the Saints fans in recognition of his play and contract signing. Then we saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrive in place of Puncheon.
The game continued with Saints having the edge and finally we made the game safe. Lambert had the ball on the right side of the box and he passed to Dickson who dummied the ball leaving it for Guly. Guly conmtrolled the ball well and after making some space he lashed the ball home from 25 yards beating a full stretch Rachubka.
Saints fans erupted as they sensed the game was theirs and still Saints kept attacking. Chamberlain was put through and as he held of Sylvestre he headed swiftly towards the Pool box before shooting past the keeper only to see his shot strike the post and rebound to safety.
Saints continued to press and the the referee then blew for time with Southampton knowing that they were through to the fourth round of the cup yet again.
A good entertaining game with Blackpool fully playing their part.
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