Saints are out of the FA Cup, following a 3-2 defeat to Millwall at St Marys. The home side squandered a 2-1 lead late in the game, in what was a very disappointing display. Millwall dominated the early stages against a lacklustre Southampton side. They took a deserved lead on 17 minutes, when Harry Kane fed Liam Trotter, who fired in from the edge of the area. Saints had started the game with a 4-4-1-1 formation, but struggled to get to grips with the ball. Things improved slightly when Nigel Adkins switched to a diamond midfield. Guly dropped deeper into midfield, allowing De Ridder and Lee to play together up front. Saints enjoyed a decent spell of possession after the change, and equalised through Adam Lallana on 35 minutes, who squeezed in a shot from close range.
Saints looked to seize the momentum after the break, and dominated possession of the football for large periods. Clear cut chances were still few and far between however. The home side were too slow and predictable going forward, and didn't have enough variety to their play. Lallana was unlucky not give Saints an early second half lead however, when his free kick deceived the Millwall keeper before crashing against the post. Tadanari Lee also embarked on a long solo run before firing just wide. Substitute Rickie Lambert replaced Guly Do Prado, and took up an unfamiliar role at the tip of the diamond. Lambert made a decent impact on proceedings, and put Saints ahead with just 13 minutes to go, hammering the ball home from the edge of the area. Millwall hit back immediately however, equalising through former Saint Dany N'Guessan, who headed in James Henry's cross. It was a weak goal to concede. The hosts should have been ahead on 84 minutes, but Ben Reeves's goal was incorrectly ruled offside. The game looked to be heading into extra time, until Millwall substitute Liam Feeney scored a superb long range winner. Feeney cut in from the left hand side, before curling the ball into the corner of the net.
A very disappointing performance from Southampton. For all the possession, Saints didn't have any cutting edge going forward, and also looked shaky at the back. The strikers weren't really given enough service, which is becoming a slightly worrying pattern recently. The fluid football of the start of the season was missing. Saints fans shouldn't be too downhearted though. The FA Cup is not the priority for us this season, so we shouldn't read too much into the result or performance. Nigel Adkins did name a fairly strong side, but many important players were still missing. Fans need to keep positive and be thankful that we've done so well this season. The team received little encouragement or support from the crowd tonight. Some even chanted the West Ham anthem 'I'm forever blowing bubbles' which was embarrassing on so many levels. Saints are experiencing a bad run of form presently, but are still in a better position than anyone could have ever imagined. This time last year we were 4th League 1, so some fans really need to get some perspective. Saints have picked up more points than promoted Norwich did this time last season, and are still well placed to achieve something really special in the next few months.
Bialkowski: 6. Played ok, made some decent saves to keep the score down
Richardson: 6. Solid on the ball, but didn't really threaten going forward.
Fonte: 7. Best defensive performer in an otherwise weak backline. Composed on the ball, decision making was usually good.
Martin: 5. Has been much improved recently, but had an absolute shocker in this one. Couldn't deal with the Millwall front line.
Harding: 5. Was second best for most of the night.
De Ridder: 6. Made a number of dangerous run, but had little end product. Passing and shooting largely disappointing.
Hammond: 6. Sprayed the ball about well for the most part, sitting just in front of the back four, although passing was occasionally slightly lackadaisical.
Chaplow: 5. A few decent touches, but (understandably) looked a bit rusty. Will take a while before he's up and running to the level he was last October/November
Lallana: 6. A bit of a strange game tonight. Scored a goal and looked very good at times, but also had periods where he was completely ineffective. Gave the ball once in a very dangerous position, botching a back-heel.
Guly: 5. Did a few decent things, but was far too eager to get the ball back at times, and put in a few reckless challenges that could have seen him being sent off had he not be substituted.
Lee: 6. Was very isolated in the first half and struggled to get involved. Improved in the second half, making a number of decent runs. Could have done better in front of goal
Lambert: 6. Improved things for Saints, and grabbed yet another goal.
Reeves: 7. One of the best players on the pitch. Looked very composed in midfield, with a great range of passing.
Barnard: Had a shot blocked towards the end, but otherwise fairly quiet.