Saints secured yet another home win last night, comfortably seeing off Peterborough. Nigel Adkins's men did not play to the same level they usual do at St Marys, but still never looked in danger of dropping points. The game started off fairly flat, and there was little in the way of goal mouth action in the opening ten minutes. Things livened up on 14 minutes when Richard Chaplow gave Saints a 1-0 lead. Frazer Richardson fed Guly Do Prado following a long run forward, before the ball was curled through to Chaplow who finished from close range. The hosts doubled their advantage three minutes later after Guly won a free kick on the edge of the area. Saints put together a slick move that was straight off the training ground. Rickie Lambert rolled the ball to Adam Lallana, who in turn played in Guly. The Brazillian fired across goal, allowing Jos Hooiveld a simple tap in. Saints were now in cruise control, and put together a decent display of passing over the next ten minutes or so. On 35 minutes things got even bleaker for Posh, as they went down to 10 men following the dismissal of Lee Frecklington, who was sent off after making two rash challenges on Guly and Morgan Schneiderlin. As expected the home side controlled possession until the break. Peterborough had one chance shortly before the first 45 was up, but Grant McCann's shot was too close to Kelvin Davis to do any real damage.
Saints brought on Steve De Ridder for Guly at the start of the second half, switching to a five man midfield in an effort to win the battle in the middle of the park. Nigel Adkins's side played at a slower tempo however, and struggled to open up a Peterborough side that was now playing with a much deeper defensive line. The ball was still in the visitors half for most of the game however, and there were chances. De Ridder and Lambert had a couple of good efforts on goal. Adam Lallana was taken off ten minutes after going down clutching his legs, and replaced by David Connolly as Saints switched back to a 442. On 75 minutes Peterborough pulled a goal back out of nowhere, when Emile Sinclair got in behind Hooiveld to finish from close range, following a great through ball from George Boyd. Saints saw out the game fairly comfortably, passing the ball along the back line and dominating possession until the final whistle.
Not the most exciting of games, but Saints did what they had to do and secured another vital three points. You got the feeling we were holding back slightly when the score went to 2-0, following a gruelling schedule of games over the last three weeks. The fact that we still managed to do a professional job and get the win whilst not playing at 100% is a good sign. Adkins changed things up again at half time, bringing on an extra midfielder in order to hit diagonal balls into wide areas. Although it didn't quite work out tonight, it's great that we are so flexible tactically. Adkins switches the formation/style multiple times every game and the players usually adapt well to the changes.
Attendance: 21,350 (325 Peterborough fans)
Davis: 6. Little to do for most of the night.
Richardson: 7. Not really tested defensively, but some very good forward runs, especially in the first half.
Fonte: 7. Didn't have too much defending to do for most of the night, but did well in possession, bringing the ball out from the back.
Hooiveld: 7. Another goal and a solid defensive performance. Only negative is he was outpaced by Sinclair for Peterborough's goal.
Harding: 6. Looked slightly off the pace early on and gave the ball away a few times, but recovered well and put in a good showing in the second half
Chaplow: 8. A bundle of energy as always. A goal, and a fine all round display at both ends of the pitch.
Schneiderlin: 7. Rarely gave the ball away, passing top notch as always.
Hammond: 7. A few wayward passess towards the end of the first half, but apart from that a very assured display. Always showing for the ball.
Lallana: 7. Not quite as lively as usual, but still some moments of excitement.
Guly: 8. A class act yet again. Created both goals and opened up space with his technique. Makes it all look so effortless.
Lambert: 8. Hold up play excellent. Got in a number of good efforts on goal.
De Ridder: 6. Started slowly with some poor touches early on, but created problems as the half wore on with some good through balls.
Connolly: 6. Didn't see that much of the ball, but looked good on the rare occasions he did get it
Cork: Not enough time to make any real impact on the game