25/01/2014: Saints 2-0 Yeovil

Saints made it through to the FA Cup 5th round, with a hard-fought victory over Yeovil. The visitors held their own for over an hour, but after the second goal went in, the result never looked in doubt.

Yeovil were very well organised and matched their opponents in terms of physicality. They packed their defence and made it difficult for Saints to create clear openings. They broke away on the counter on a few occasions, but a combination of lack of inventiveness and poor finishing meant that they didn't capitalise on those opportunities. Striker Ishmel Miller looked strong, but was mostly poor on the ball.

Saints took a while to find their rhythm, but did create a few chances through patient build-up play. Jay Rodriguez squandered twice from inside the box, hitting the bar on his second attempt. The home side were awarded a penalty on 22 minutes when Shane Duffy stupidly handled the ball following a James Ward-Prowse corner. Rodriguez sportingly handed the responsibility to fans choice Guly Do Prado, who ended his goalscoring drought by sending Marek Stech the wrong way. Yeovil continued to press Saints to good effect. They had a few half-chances, but never really stretched a solid defensive unit. The home side could have been further ahead before the break. Rodriguez fired a weak effort at Stech. Luke Shaw then tried his luck from distance.

Yeovil started the second-half very well, and were very much in the ascendancy during the first 10 minutes or so. Jamie McAlister forced Kelvin Davis into a good save on 48. The visitors also flashed a dangerous ball across the box, before John Lundstram tested Davis again. A few more blocked shots followed before Saints edged their way back into the game.

Sam Gallagher replaced Guly on 55 and made an immediate impression. He sparked Saints into life with a rasping shot from the edge of the area on 61 minutes. On 70 he was given another opportunity, but this time he made no mistake. Jack Cork embarked on a run through the centre of the park, before playing the ball into the path of Gallagher on the edge of the box. The Scottish youth international still had plenty to do, taking the ball past his man on the right, before cutting back inside and slotting through the legs of Stech.

Yeovil were pretty much finished as an attacking force by that point. The final 20 minutes consisted of a succession of Saints chances. Gallagher nearly grabbed a second from a goalmouth scramble. Stech did well to keep the score down at the end, making good saves from Rodriguez and Steven Davis.

A fairly pleasing performance from Saints. As with the Burnley game, Mauricio Pochettino made his intentions about this competition clear, by naming a very strong line-up. The serious approach was certainly needed, with Yeovil providing a very good test. Saints found it difficult to play as fluidly as they would have liked for much of the game, but looked a lot more expansive towards the end when the two goal cushion had been established.

It's difficult not to be pleased for both goalscorers. Guly has had a lot of bad luck with injuries recently, and has received undue criticism from fans for far too long. Gallagher has really seized his first team opportunities. While many players in his age group made the step up to the U21 squad in the summer, he remained with the U18s at first. After a few standout games at that level he caught the eye of Pochettino, and has so far more than repaid the faith. Gallagher's success at first team level should give every youngster the hope and belief that they can make it too. With Dani Osvaldo's Southampton future hanging in the balance, Saints need all the strikers they can get, so both Guly and Gallagher may well be needed once again in the not too distant future.

Attendance: 24,070 (3,403 Yeovil fans)

Match Ratings:

Davis: 6. A few nervy clearances, but overall fairly solid. Made a couple of decent saves either side of half-time

Clyne: 7. As usual had the better of his man for pretty much the entire afternoon. Timing very good

Yoshida: 7. Passing a bit iffy as it often is, but defensively fine

Hooiveld: 7. Looked better than he has done for a while. Always comfortable at the back, with a good range of passing

Shaw: 7. A few very minor errors in the second half, but overall another pleasing outing

Cork: 7. Stood up well to Yeovil's physical threat in midfield and saw plenty of the ball

Ward-Prowse: 6. Solid enough. Should have been given a penalty when tripped late on

Schneiderlin: 7. Another energetic display

Lallana: 7. Tightly marked throughout, but often found plenty of space with his mazy runs

Guly: 7. Goal capped a very good performance. Always showing for the ball. Kept things moving quickly with quick feet and good awareness

Rodriguez: 6. Wasteful in front of goal once again


Gallagher: 7. Took his goal extremely well, and tested the Yeovil keeper a couple of other times. A great impact

Davis: 6. Involved in a couple of late chances

Reed: A solid showing in the limited time he was given. One great cross for Steven Davis