|Photo credit: Nhong Tim|
When Southampton were playing in League One with Championship and even a few BPL quality players, our (then) coach Nigel Adkins was asked how they cope with the rough, physical, kick and rush style tactics of the lower leagues. He replied “We have to win the right to play real football”.
I was reminded of that quote when I watched the highlights of this game, and I was wondering how much harder it must be to win that right when you have a hopelessly incompetent set of officials and an awful pitch.
Jorrin John was blatantly booted in the face in the early stages of the match, the linesman couldn’t have been closer to the incident if he tried, and the ref responded by telling both players “Stop, or I’ll say 'stop' again!”.
LCFC continued to play one of the dirtiest games of football I’ve ever seen and the officials continued to behave like junior cops sent to tackle a mafia ring on their first day of work. Late tackles, kicks, pulling and shoving continued throughout as better players just tried to get on with the job.
In the end, quality just about shone through with the goal as no. 33 “Got” netted the goal for Eka and our keeper yet again made a superb string of saves to keep us in it. Alassane was dismissed following a shove on his neck by a LCFC player and at the very end of the game, a couple of opposition players displayed their jealousy of Tomi’s ability to actually play football by launching a double assault on him. I must also say that as much as I admire our great work this season, I wonder how much of a good example our coach is, the way he gets involved and aggressive on every single incident. How can a team expect to show focus and composure when their leader can’t?
But we can take heart from this win that takes us to the top of the table and even greater encouragement from the way that even when everything else went against us, class came through and the better team won this game of football. Keep it up guys.