09/11/2013: Saints 4-1 Hull
Saints - Schneiderlin (16) Lambert (pen 30) Lallana (37) S Davis (88)
Hull - Sagbo (55)
Attendance: 30,022 (1,434 Hull fans)
Referee: Phil Dowd
Saints cruised past Hull with another impressive display. Mauricio Pochettino's men dominated the first half, but took a while to regain control after a slow start in second. The win moves the team back up to third.
Hull were predictably cautious from the get-go. They played with a very compact midfield, and although they looked fairly organised during the opening quarter, Saints still managed to find plenty of gaps to move into. The home side threaded the ball about with pace and precision throughout the first half. Much of the damage was done down the right-hand side, with Nathaniel Clyne bombing on to great effect. The full-back was involved in the opening goal. Clyne beat his man before crossing into the six-yard box. Rickie Lambert nodded the ball across goal allowing Morgan Scheiderlin a simple header for 1-0. Hull weren't quite as disciplined for the remainder of the half, with Saints taking full advantage of the extra space. The home side dominated, and were deservedly 2-0 up on the half-hour. Steve Harper rashly hacked down Adam Lallana just inside the area for a blatant spot-kick. Harper only received a yellow card, but couldn't stop Lambert's typically powerful penalty. The onslaught continued for the next 15 minutes. Lallana capped a great week and a great display with an incredible solo goal. The captain picked the ball up in the centre of the park about 35 yards out, worked his way left before cutting back inside past a couple of Hull players. He finished the move off by calmly slotting past Harper for 3-0. Hull struggled to get out of their own half for much of the first 45, but did have one major effort before the break. Maynor Figeuroa got away from Victor Wanyama at a corner, before seeing his header cleared off the line by Dejan Lovren.
Hull did improve after the interval, with Saints taking a while to regain control of the game. Perhaps a little tiredness and complacency was creeping into the home sides play. Hull pulled a goal back on 56 minutes. Wanyama was caught in possession outside the penalty area, with Yannick Sagbo taking full advantage for the visitors. That goal fostered renewed belief in The Tigers, with Tom Huddlestone threatening Boruc from distance. Saints gradually worked their way back into the ascendancy. The England trio were involved in a series of clever interchanges, while Schneiderlin was unlucky not to score a second, with an effort cleared off the line. The introduction of Dani Osvaldo added a bit more spark to the Saints attack. The home side had a series of half chances, and never looked in danger of conceding further goals. Steven Davis wrapped things up on 84 minutes with a tidy finish inside the area. Clyne had once again provided the cross. Jay Rodriguez and Osvaldo could have added a fifth late on, with Saints ending the game nearly as strongly as they had started it.
Another memorable performance at St Marys. The England call-ups have certainly improved the already strong morale within the team this week. Lambert, Lallana and Rodriguez all shone in front of the watching Roy Hodgson. The trio proved beyond doubt that they are completely worthy of a place in the Three Lions setup. You would like to think Clyne, Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse also made an impression on Hodgson too. It was a typical team effort, with everyone pulling their weight as usual. Saints haven't had it this good for 30 years. Even with a tough run of fixtures coming up, you sense this is no flash in the pan. Even if we do come unstuck in December, I'd expect us to bounce back soon enough. Things can change pretty quickly, but right now the odds of a top eight finish are looking very good indeed.
Boruc: 6. Didn't have an awful lot to do. Could have arguably done slightly better with the goal
Clyne: 8. Heavily involved at both ends of the pitch. Crossing superb throughout
Fonte: 7. A few minor misjudgements in the first half, but overall pretty good
Lovren: 7. Important goal-line clearance in an otherwise comfortable afternoon
Shaw: 7. Continues to show why he is rightly regarded as one of the best young talents in the country
Wanyama: 6. Carrying a back injury for most of the game which severely restricted his performance
Schneiderlin: 8. Absolutely everywhere as per usual. A real tireless display
Ward-Prowse: 8. Kept ball moving quickly with a very energetic 90 minutes
Lallana: 9. Unplayable. Cut through the Hull backline with ease time and time again
Rodriguez: 8. Showed he has what it takes to play at international level
Lambert: 8. A class act on the ball as usual
Davis: 7. A goal a nice reward for a solid second half display
Osvaldo: Showcased his talented with some unbelievable footwork
Cork: A decent cameo