Thank God for the bare-chested Borussia fans and their ironic chants, says Mike Allott, as Saints provided naff-all entertainment for 90 minutes. Friendlies are friendlies, of course, but Sparky should be having a few choice words this week, says Mike…
They say a week is long time in football, well Sparky has a week to sort them out.
After the late comeback against Celta Vigo I was hoping for something similar as I took my seat at St Mary’s yesterday. Late arrivals would have missed Borussia’s first chance to score, coming just 15 seconds into the game. A defence-splitting pass by the German team probably should have resulted in a goal, but Alex McCarthy’s outstretched leg saved Saints from going one down.
Nine minutes and Saints had their first meaningful attack when Pierre Emile Hojberg whipped in a free kick only for Yannik Vestergaard to head well over the bar. But on 20 the German side took the lead with a lovely ball down the wing, that split Matt Targett and Jan Bednerek. The winger’s cross into the box for Herrman gave him a simple tap-in for a one-nil lead.
After being beat on his near post on Wednesday I was relieved to see McCarthy using his legs to turn one round the upright on 39 minutes. Two minutes later Borussia should have been two up but alas their blonde striker fluffed his lines—thank goodness. In the 44th minute Saints had their first real chance when Targett played in Gabbi whose shot went just the wrong side of Sonner’s goal, however the lino popped up with a late flag.
Just three minutes into the second half and Borussia doubled their lead with a quite shocking goal. On 48 minutes you would have thought the Saints midfield were still in the dressing room as the German number 8 picked the ball up from a nothing throw in just inside the Saints half, turned as our players looked on, ran forward as still we looked on, as if to say “go on then shoot”, and shoot he did. Now maybe it was the sun or maybe the ball moved in the air, but the nothing shot was palmed into to the net by McCarthy to make it two-nil, much to the delight of the bare-chested Borussia fans. The midfield and defence just backed off the lad and he took a punt which paid off.
On 57 minutes the game was over as a contest, if it wasn’t already, when from the middle of the park the ball was played out wide to Herrman, a his nice first touch and shot made it three-nil.
Saints did muster some attacking intent in the latter stages, but it was too little too late. After a defensive mix up by the German outfit, Shane Long had a shot tipped over the bar on 73 minutes. From the resulting corner Jack Stephens almost forced an error from their centre back but it was not to be.The ball flew over the bar for another JWP corner which Yoshi (fresh from his World Cup exploits) headed over the bar from close range.
Three minutes from time, after some nice passing, Elyounoussi had his limp effort saved by the keeper, and that proved to be the last chance of the game. I was thankful the ref blew the whistle just after that.
The highlight of the day was the 200 or so overweight bare chested Borussia fans singing “It’s Coming Home” which made me chuckle. I have to say, fair play to those fans they kept me entertained more than Saints did to be honest.
Friendlies are friendlies, 18 players used, and 18 players played like it was a friendly. After that I couldn’t tell you who is going start against Burnley, all I know is they will have to do some hard yards this week at Staplewood.
As I said at the start, a week is a long time in football. Bearing in mind Burnley have already played two competitive games, I think Sparky might be dishing out a few rockets before the first game.