09/08/2011: Saints 4-1 Torquay

Saints are through to the second round of the League Cup after a 4-1 win. Despite the score line, Nigel Adkins side put in a fairly lacklustre performance. Saints looked reasonably good going forward, but very suspect at the back, which was to be expected given the strength of the side (Eight changes were made from Saturday). Steve De Ridder opened the scoring in his first start with a low shot from the right hand side of the penalty area, following a skilful turn. The visitors hit back immediately, scoring one minute later from a Lee Mansell header. Rickie Lambert restored the lead before half time with a trademark free kick. Torquay worked hard in the second half, and had chances to level. Bartosz Bialkowski had to pull off a world class save to keep Saints ahead at one point. Things improved for the home team following the introduction of substitutes Adam Lallana, Dean Hammond and Jonathan Forte. Richard Chaplow killed the game off when he slotted home from close range with 9 minutes to spare. Jonathan Forte completed the scoring in the final moments of the contest when he tucked away Chaplow's deflected cross.

Overall an enjoyable evening tonight. Despite playing badly at times we still managed to get through fairly comfortably in the end. New boy De Ridder displayed more signs of genius, although Adkins indicated in his post match interview he was unhappy that the Belgian winger didn't track back and help out defensively. Chaplow and Morgan Schneiderlin will have a tough job of dislodging Jack Cork and Dean Hammond as league starters, but did their cause no harm tonight. Players like Holmes and Forte will almost certainly never be regulars, but showed tonight that they have something to offer. Defensively we looked weak, highlighting the need for reinforcements at the back. Fair play to Torquay and their fans tonight too. On the pitch they matched us for much of the tie, and weren’t afraid to commit men forward. Despite the lack of numbers in the away end, the fans that were there made plenty of noise.

Attendance: 6,541 (348 Torquay fans)

Match Ratings:

Bialkowski: 6. Will be disappointed with his role in Torquay's goal. Looked shaky, but made a terrific save with the score at 2-1.

Butterfield: 6. Steady

Seaborne: 5. Never looked completely comfortable

Martin: 6. Similar to Saturday, slow start but grew in confidence as the match went on.

Dickson: 5. Lack of match fitness showed. Looked rusty.

De Ridder: 7. Excellent finish for the goal

Schneiderlin: 7. Best passer of the ball on the pitch

Chaplow: 8. Scored one and set up another. Looked lively all game.

Holmes: 7. Worked hard. Put in some decent crosses.

Lambert: 7 Yet another great free kick.

Guly: 6. Some nice flicks and tricks, although his passing was slightly erratic.

Subs:

Lallana: 7. Sparked the game into life after coming on. Hit the bar from long range in the closing stages

Hammond: 6. Strong in possesion

Forte: 6. Pace caused problems for problems for Torquay.