Sixer’s Southampton Soapbox: WEMBLEY HERE WE COME – PERHAPS.

Jake saluts Sixer's stamina
Jake saluts Sixer’s stamina

John McCormick writes: I was in Waterloo last night, drinking a very tasty ale and wondering how we were doing. Sunderland were on the TV when I arrived but for some reason they were replaced by Arsenal so all I saw was about 30 seconds of John O’Shea. So for me and the very many others also not at the SOL this is the place to come, this time for Pete Sixsmith‘s inimitable thoughts on the game. For once, he saw the Lads win – and advance to the Capital One Cup last eight:

The hotels are booked, the train tickets reserved and the watering holes lined up. Chelsea should be a doddle and whoever comes after that are dead easy. Wembley it is – a League Cup final, probably followed by relegation as it was in ’85. Seriously though, it was a decent win last night against a Southampton side that would not have been out of place at Eppleton on a Monday night. But as the old adage goes, you can only beat what is in front of you and that was what we did.

It was an interesting team selection from Poyet. Back came Wes Brown, Celustka, Ki, Gardner Johnson and Giaccherini and we lined up with a 4-1-4-1 line up. Instructions were to use the ball from the back, don’t hoof it and try to play to feet.

Pete Sixsmith: Not in Waterloo last night
Pete Sixsmith: Not in Waterloo last night

The first half was dull and the ironic playing of “That’s Entertainment” was the supreme irony. But there were positives to take from it. Brown looked comfortable on and off the ball while Ki sat in front of the back four and linked with the more advanced midfield. It worked.

There were chances in the first half with Calamity Kelvin making an easy save from Altidore and Giaccherini missing his kick in front of goal. Gaston Ramires missed a good chance for the Saints, but the majority of the 16,000 crowd were chuntering a wee bit as the half time whistle went.

The second half was much better as we took the game to them and never looked under pressure. The first goal was scrappy but came from a good move; free kick by Johnson, header on by Brown, firm downward header by Altidore and the ball pushed over the line by the Prodigal Son, aka Bardsley.

Hamish McBardsley, goal scorer, by Jake
Hamish McBardsley, goal scorer, by Jake

The second goal was a gem, with the ball being moved up field quickly and then Altidore playing a superb ball to Larsson who drilled it home. Great celebrations as it looked as if we were home and dry, but we contrived to give them a goal back in the last minute.
We held out well enough to earn a quarter final tie with Chelsea in five weeks’ time. Not an easy one and we are still a struggling team but a win is a win is a win and it gives us some hope for Sunday, against a Manchester City side who appear to be scoring for fun.

A disappointing crowd, which reflects the disenchantment amongst Sunderland fans after the turmoil of the summer. Some preferred to watch Arsenal on television, others listened to the radio, but those loyal followers who turned up may have witnessed the beginning of the end of this dismal start to the season. Whereas Newcastle were beaten by spirit and determination, we actually played some decent football last night, with Brown stabilising the back four, Ki providing a platform to bring the ball forward and Altidore using his considerable strength to unsettle their young defenders.

So, on we go. Points from the next game would be a bonus, but neither Stoke or Villa are in sparkling form so there is some hope. That’s about all we have.

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