29/11/2011: Saints 2-1 Hull

Saints secured their 21st straight home victory with another decent display of football. The home side had to work hard against an impressive Hull team however. Nigel Adkins's men had the initiative in the early stages, and put together some great attacking moves. For all the good play, they struggled to find the killer pass and clear cut chances were limited. The visitors enjoyed plenty of pressure of their own. Matty Fryatt had a great chance to put his side ahead, but he missed a one on one with Kelvin Davis. Not long after that Tom Cairney was brought down by Davis on the edge of the area, which earned the Saints keeper a yellow card. Fortunately the resulting free kick came to nothing. The Tigers took the lead on 43 minutes after a great piece of football down the left hand side. Robert Koren's initial deflected shot was brilliantly saved by Davis, but the Slovenian was there to nod in on the rebound. Saints were given an opportunity to level it almost immediately when Jack Cork was brought down on the edge of the area. Rickie Lambert's free kick hit the wall however, and that was the last major action before the break.

Saints brought on Steve De Ridder for Jack Cork at half time. Cork was one of the better performers in the first half, but was suffering from a dead leg. The hosts levelled the proceedings just three minutes after the interval. Adam Lallana twisted and turned on the left hand side, before whipping in a cross towards Rickie Lambert, who cushioned his header into the path of Guly Do Prado. The Brazilian had his first effort saved by City keeper Peter Guasci, but finished off the rebound with ease. Saints were 2-1 up just 7 minutes later, when Lallana calmly headed in Frazer Richardson's cross inside the six yard box. Both sides continued to pass the ball well throughout the second half, without creating many openings. Lee Barnard and Guly had soft efforts comfortably saved by Guasci. Hull enjoyed a good spell of possession following the introduction of Robbie Brady on 66 minutes, but lacked a real cutting edge in the final third. Saints defended very deep with plenty of men behind the ball, allowing the visitors precious little space in threatening positions. Substitute Brady was sent off with 11 minutes to go after making a rash challenge on Dan Harding. Hull threw on Dele Adebola in an attempt to add an aerial threat to their game in the final few minutes, but Saints saw out the result with relative ease.

Another fantastic night for Nigel Adkins's men. Some might say we weren't at the level we usually are at home, but that was more to do with the fact Hull played very well, rather than us doing badly. They were without doubt the best side we've faced at St Marys this season. We had to be at our very best to get the three points. I can't fault a single player, all of them performed well and contributed in the win. Adam Lallana was a cut above the rest however. The 23 year old has been in decent form all season, but tonight he was back to his absolute best, showing the same sort of class that he showed back in August.

Attendance: 22,983 (662 Hull fans)

Match Ratings:

Davis: 7. Fairly quiet for much of the evening, but a few crucial saves.

Richardson: 8. Pinged a number of great long cross field balls forward into the path of Adam Lallana. Set up the second goal.

Fonte: 8. Probably his best display of the season. Didn't put a foot wrong, with a number of well timed challenges.

Hooiveld: 7. Looked completely comfortable all night. Enjoying a great understanding with defensive partner Fonte.

Harding: 7. Some very good work good forward, especially in the first half.

Schneiderlin: 7. Surprisingly sloppy early on, but recovered well in the second half. Passing was top notch as always.

Hammond: 8. Very disciplined in midfield, with some good medium/long range passes.

Cork: 7. An excellent 45 minute display. Put through a number of decent balls over the top into wide areas.

Lallana: 9. An absolutely dazzling showing. Bag of tricks were on show from the first minute. Involved in both goals

Lambert: 7. Looked out of sync with the rest of the team for the first half hour or so, but improved as the game went on and contributed with some great play in wide areas.

Guly: 7. Worked hard as always with great hold up play. Another goal and some decent flick ons.

Substitutes:

De Ridder: 6. Gave the side a boost with his energy, adding a bit more intensity.

Barnard: 5. Got one effort in on goal, but other than that didn't see too much off the ball. Still a long way off the level you would expect

Holmes: Didn't really have enough time to make an impression.