Southampton 2 - West Bromwich Albion 1

Date: Saturday 11th November 2023 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(4-3-3) Bazunu, Walker-Peters, Holgate, Harwood-Bellis, Bree, Smallbone, Downes, Alcaraz, Armstrong, Armstrong, Sulemana
Unused subs: McCarthy, Manning, Aribo, Adams, Stewart, Mara, Edozie, Charles, Fraser
(4-4-2) Palmer 7.0, Furlong 5.2, Bartley 5.9 (Ajayi, 82 7.0), Kipré 6.9, Townsend 5.6, Diangana 6.9, Yokuslu 6.8 (Molumby, 82 5.9), Chalobah 5.8 (Mowatt, 56 7.2), Phillips 7.0 (Fellows, 81 6.6), Thomas-Asante 6.2, Wallace 6.5 (Sarmiento, 82 6.1)
Unused subs: Griffiths, Pieters, Ávila Gordón, Taylor
Manager: Carlos Corberán  6.2
Scorers: Smallbone (5), Armstrong (79); Bartley (65)
Referee: Tom Nield 5.6
Attendance: 30,160   Home Fans 6.4   Away Fans 7.7
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 11

Brendan Clegg:

A disappointing and probably unjust result but this was a performance to be proud of and one that showed we might be on the cusp of something special, with a bit of luck.

Lineup-wise the only complaint was that Mowatt had made way. I just didn’t get that given how well he played against Hull and how he’s seemingly been the best midfielder in terms of translating the coach’s asks into performances.

I’d say it was a cagey first half. We let in an early goal through allowing Southampton too much to dictate the play around us but after the goal we found our feet and competed. Whilst, unlike many championship teams tbh, you could feel Southampton had genuine quality I thought we got a grip of them and began to cause them problems and create situations. We had some nearly moments but went in a goal down.

After the break I thought we were exceptional.

We pressed, we were brave, we worked the ball so well and we pegged them in. We forced them into defending deeply and as, in fairness, they were as good defensively as anyone I’ve seen.

I thought Mowatt was superb when he came on and picked up the link role with aplomb.

The goal came after relentless pressure and was totally deserved, Bartley scrambling home after BTA had hit the bar.

The chances kept coming and we looked the most likely to win with Furlong rattling the bar from a header and other moves opening them up.

Their 2nd was a nothing move, very similar to Hull’s. No pressure on a floated cross, the CB and left back marking one player and leaving the back stick open.

Townsend might get some fair stick but, as good as he’s been, in both games Phillips has the chance to drop in and cover but is static 7 or 8 yards away and it’s cost us a goal.

We rallied, huffed and puffed, came very close to equalising, finished really strongly but couldn’t find a second.

The scenes at the end with the fans applauding and cheering the players off and Carlos acknowledging them were special. They knew and we knew how close we were to a really top tier result here and that we might’ve won it let alone got a point. Such small margins but a team giving it everything and to be proud of. It was a bit Mowbray Premier League era. A lot to build on.

  • Palmer - 7 No chance with goals.
  • Furlong - 6 A great athlete who gives it everything in every game but moments where he lacks the quality really hurt us, and he needed to do more to block crosses.
  • Kipre - 7 Solid and played it well.
  • Barts - 7 As above, and a threat at set plays and throws.
  • Townsend - 6 Mostly okay but for the second goal he has to either mark his own man or shout Phillips. Kept going.
  • Okay - 7 Once we got a grip he patrolled the centre well.
  • Chalobah - 6 Tried but surprising inclusion
  • Grady - 7 They made sure to double up on him but he was still a threat and kept showing and trying.
  • Wallace - 7 Ran himself into the ground with the press and off the ball.
  • Phillips - 7 Another very good game both ways. Did look a bit gassed towards the end so understandably withdrawn.
  • BTA - 7 I thought some of his hold up play 2nd half was top quality, rolling people and keeping the ball but he probably wanted those milliseconds too many to shoot which allowed Southampton to block.

I thought all the subs kept our momentum going and we didn’t drop off but Fellows was again the pick even though he played off the left - his low centre of gravity and pace caused problems again and he kept the ball/made good decisions.

We were close here. Very close to the ‘perfect’ that CC referred to after the game.