16/08/2011: Ipswich 2-5 Saints

Saints recorded their third win from as many games last night in a 5-2 thriller at Ipswich. Nigel Adkins's men came flying out the traps from kick off, going 2-0 up after just 11 minutes. Rickie Lambert scored both, with the first coming on 4 minutes after a neat one-two with David Connolly. He curled in his second off the post following a pass from Adam Lallana. For the third match in a row we were dominating our opponents and playing slick, fluid and skilful football that was just a pleasure to witness. That's not to say Ipswich didn't have their moments. They were inches away from pulling one back on 21 minutes when Aaron Creswell dragged a shot narrowly wide. Saints were always a threat at the other end however. It was 3-0 just before half time when Guly rounded the keeper to set up David Connolly for his third goal in as many games.

It looked as though we'd be in for a comfortable second half, but this is Southampton we're talking about and we never do things the easy way. Ipswich brought on Lee Martin and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who initially changed the course of the game. Saints took their foot off the gas and allowed the Tractor Boys back in it. On 56 minutes Emmanuel-Thomas set up Michael Chopra, who hit the crossbar. The ball came back out to Keith Andrews, who blasted the ball into the back of the net from outside the area. Moments later at the other end Lallana had a shot cleared off the line. Ipswich made it 3-2 on 61 minutes when Emmanuel-Thomas scrambled in from close range. Suddenly memories of Leeds and Tranmere came flooding back. The next few minutes were extremely nerve-wracking for all concerned. Ipswich continued to pressure, but Saints always looked capable of scoring too. On 76 minutes Lallana made it 4-2, from a brilliant Morgan Schneiderlin chip. To say that goal was a relief would be an understatement. Lallana wrapped the game up in stoppage time with his second, a low finish from a Lambert through ball.

Before yesterday's match most fans agreed that this would be our toughest test so far. They were right, Ipswich weren't even that bad, but we still managed to cut through them with ease and fully deserved our margin of victory. If people didn't take us seriously already, they should now. We've not only won our first three matches, but also comprehensively outplayed our opponents. It hasn't been this fun watching Saints since our 2003 FA Cup run. Cork and Lallana get talked up after every game, and rightly so. They were excellent yet again yesterday, and key to our fantastic movement. Cork saw so much of the ball and never gave it away once. Based on his performances so far I'm genuinely surprised no offers came in from Premiership clubs in the summer, because he's certainly got what it takes to play at that level. Elsewhere, the likes of Richardson, Seaborne and Guly, who don't get nearly as much praise as they deserve, continued to impress. At the moment we aren't showing any signs of weakness and look strong in all areas of the park.

Great support yet again from the travelling Saints fans. 1165 fans for a game on Tuesday night with high ticket prices (31 for adults) is a great effort. I remember going to Ipswich midweek in November 2007 towards the end of George Burley's reign, and we must have had no more than 400 in the away end.

Attendance: 18, 553 (1165 Saints fans)

Match Ratings:

Davis: 7. Made some important saves when Ipswich were really pushing hard for more goals.

Richardson: 7. Another strong display. Fully deserves his place as a starter now

Seaborne: 8. Continues to improve every game. Solid at the back and put in a great pass in the build up to Lambert's second goal.

Fonte: 6. Slightly below the very high standards he has set for himself, but still a decent display.

Harding: 7. New boy Fox will find it hard to break into the starting eleven if he keeps this form up.

Guly: 7. Link up play fantastic again. Brilliant work in assisting Connolly for the third goal

Cork: 9. At the heart of everything tonight. A class act.

Hammond: 7. Worked well alongside Cork yet again.

Lallana: 8. Another stunning display. Yet again the opposition couldn't cope with his skill. Two good goals.

Lambert: 8. Two great finishes. Looked a threat all night.

Connolly: 7. Worked hard all night, and was rewarded with yet another goal. Misplaced pass led to Ipswich scoring however.

Subs:

Schneiderlin: 7. Settled things down after coming on. Great chip to set up Lallana's first

Fox: A few nice touches, but not enough time to show what he's got

De Ridder: Came on in the dying seconds so Lallana could receive a well deserved standing ovation