It’s safe to say our staggeringly awful away form of last season has managed to continue into this season, and today was no exception. Against an in-form Southamton it was always going to be a tough game, but 4-1 shows exactly where our weaknesses lie.
I’ll allow no ‘but we played on Thursday’ excuses because five changes were made by Chris Hughton to the starting eleven at St. Mary’s this afternoon, and we made a surprising bright start with early chances all going Blues’ way. Just two minutes on the clock and Jean Beausejour’s ball into the box almost found Chris Wood, but the in-form striker was judged to be offside. Two minutes later and Blues were at it again; this time it was Marlon King with good work on the ball, who fed it into the path of Jonathan Spector; picking up the ball but shooting wide from distance.
Blues were to rue their missed chances when on eleven minutes Steven Cadlwell clumsily brought down Rickie Lambert in the area and the referee awarded a penalty which the striker calmly converted to put the home side one-nil up. The goal seemed to shell-shock Blues who had, up until then, had more than their fair share of chances, and Guly Do Prado pilled more misery onto the visiting side on the twenty-one minute mark, scoring from close range to put The Saints 2-0 up.
After such a promising start it was turning out to be an afternoon to forget for Birmingham, and on 34 minutes they found themselves 3-0 down and treading water when Adam Lallana fired home. Sluggish in defence, it was no more than Blues deserved, and it was turning out to be a harsh lesson learnt for Chris Hughton’s charges.
Never to be set back though, the second half saw glimpses of a Blues fight back. Just three minutes into the second half a free kick was awarded just outside the box and Chris Wood duly stepped up and fired the dead-ball home to give the 821 travelling Blues fans some hope at last.Stephen Carr almost put his side within reaching distance of a come-back when he hit a dazzling shot from 25 yards out, which frustratingly hit the post.
But the poor performance from the rest of the team ensured any points were out of reach for the Blue Boys, and their afternoon of disappointment was complete when Richard Chaplow beat the offside trap to make it 4-1 Southampton and finish the afternoon’s footballing lesson.
Last season there was one whole division between League One Southampton and Premier League Birmingham City, but this afternoon showed how things can chance so quickly in a small space of time, and if you asked an outsider who they thought played in League One last season you’d put your money on them saying Birmingham.
Nevertheless, it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve played some refreshing football this season and had some positive performances so far, but this style of play leaves us open at the back and liable to ship a few more goals than we’re used to. We are adjusting to change. Adding the extra European games and the fact that our squad was ripped to pieces during the summer, it’s not been the suicide start that some are portraying it to be. Come back in ten games time and we’ll have a clearer picture of what is going on then, in the mean time I’ll support Chris Hughton and his decisions, as well as the players and theirs.
Full Time: Southampton 4-1 BLUES
Goal Scorers: Lambert (11) Do Prado (21) Lallana (34) Wood (48) Chaplow (78)
Next Up: Manchester City Away – Carling Cup