20/08/2011: Saints 1-0 Millwall

Saints continued their 100% winning start to the season today with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Millwall. The hosts started the game brightly, and were unlucky not to score in the opening minutes when David Connolly poked the ball just wide from an Adam Lallana cross. Saints continued to push, and opened the scoring in the 17th minute, when Guly calmly finished past Millwall keeper Mildenhall following a fine through ball from Jack Cork. The visitors grew in confidence as the half wore on. Although Millwall were quite physical and direct, they also played some good football at times. They were without doubt the most organised side we've played so far, and they made it difficult for us to play the kind of football we've become accustomed to recently. They had the best of the second half, but couldn't find a way past the excellent Kelvin Davis. It was a nervy last few minutes, but we managed to hold on to secure yet another three points. After the game trouble broke out between both sets of supporters. Some Millwall fans had reacted angrily to conceding and charged towards the Saints fans in the Northam End during the match, with violence continuing after the final whistle outside the ground.

So another win and yet more records smashed (It's the first time Saints have ever won their first four matches of the season). Some cause for concern today however. Nigel Adkins won't be happy with the number of chances Millwall were given. Thank god they were incapable of finishing them off. We certainly can't afford to concede that many opportunities at Leicester next week. Although the Foxes haven't made the best of starts under Sven Goran Erikson, they still have a very talented squad on paper. We will need to be at our very best; otherwise the likes of David Nugent will punish us. Today's performance was understandable. We've been playing at great intensity twice a week since the season started, so it was always going to catch up with us eventually. Even the very best sides have off days. The fact that we still managed to win despite not being at our best is a great sign. One thing that's obvious after today though is that we will need to make use of our big squad. Adkins has made just a single change to the start eleven in league competition (Seaborne for Martin) since the start of the campaign, but the lack of rest was starting to show as some players were looking out of sorts today. Squad rotation will be key to our success this season, and Adkins needs to pick the right to rest certain players. Not having a match mid-week will certainly help our recovery. As will the international break coming up.

A couple of new additions would certainly help our cause at the moment, although it wouldn't be the end of the world if we don't end up signing anyone. A new striker seems to be the number one priority at the moment, with Burnley's Jay Rodriguez and Bristol City's Nicky Maynard apparent targets. While both players are proven quality at this level, I would be wary of paying over the odds. Rumour has it both clubs are looking for a fee of over £5,000,000, which is an extortionate amount of money for a Championship player. There must be better options elsewhere, perhaps abroad. Just because we have money in the bank, doesn't mean we should spend it just for the sake of it. A new centre half was also on Nigel Adkins's shopping list, although he may have to have a rethink after a great start to the season from Dan Seaborne.

Attendance: 23,333 (1,616 Millwall fans)

Match Ratings:

Davis: 8. Dealt with all the high balls thrown into the box with ease. Some good shot stopping midway through the second half as well, when Millwall were really putting the pressure on.

Richardson: 7. Cleared one off the line and let very little get past him.

Fonte: 7. Back to his best today.

Seaborne: 7. Coped excellently with Millwall's aerial threat. Distribution could have been better.

Harding: 6. Got caught out of position on a few occasions, but battled hard.

Guly: 8. By far our most creative player today, finished his goal off beautifully. Also worked hard defensively.

Hammond: 6. Substituted at half time. Adkins said he had 'run himself into the ground'.

Cork: 7. Not quite up to the level of previous matches, but still a good display nevertheless. Provided the pass for Guly's goal.

Lallana: 6. A few flashes of brilliance, but was largely kept quiet by the visitors today.

Connolly: 6 Started well, but less influential than in previous games

Lambert: 7. Came close to scoring a couple of times.


Schneiderlin: 6. Another solid display from the Frenchman who will be looking to cement a place in the starting line up soon.

Fox: 6. Added some much needed protection on the left hand side

De Ridder: 6. Provided another attacking outlet in the closing stages.