Saints 0-2 Wigan
After our determined performance at the City of Manchester Stadium, Saints disappointed against Roberto Martinez' Wigan who's sharpness on the ball and in front of goal made all the difference.
The game began evenly at St Mary's, both sides looked to try and play in a similar manner by keeping possession in an effort to unlock each other's defensive organisation. It was Lallana who created the first clear chance after superbly creating space for himself on 14 minutes. Twisting and turning away from defenders 35 yards out, Adam unleashed a fierce shot that looked destined for the top left hand corner of Al-Habsi's net. The Omani goalkeeper stretched superbly to tip the strike onto the bar leaving the home faithful applauding the effort but admiring the 'keeper's ability.
Most of the half was spent with Wigan and Saints sizing each other up. Wigan looked comfortable closing Saints down, allowing us to keep the ball in our own half while showing us just how equally good with the ball they were when given chance. An even first 45 minutes ended 0-0 with both sides looking patient.
Saints looked to start the second half brightly with Rickie Lambert's header from Do Prado's cross testing Al-Habsi again down to his left. On 51 minutes though Wigan's patience paid off; while in possession Maloney threaded a through ball to find Di Santo on the end of a piercing run into the box. Di Santo's quick feet had left Jose Fonte flat footed at the back, the Argentinian latched onto the past and now clear in the box instictively fired a searing strike into the top left corner of Kelvin Davis' net. Wigan's fine passing play had paid off, the Latics were beating us at our own game in our own back yard.
Di Santo fires Wigan ahead.
We looked to respond immediately from a corner as the clearence fell to Danny Fox on the edge of the penalty area. Danny's long range half volley flew through the crowded box and brought another excellent parry from Al-Habsi.
Saints kept pushing and a long range drive from Rickie Lambert once again forced Ali Al-Habsi to push the ball wide. Jordi Gomez gave us a reminder to stay sharp shortly afterwards though with a similar stinging drive that forced Kelvin Davis to show strong hands, his parry wasn't forced wide but thankfully the Wigan attack found themselves offside and unable to make the best of the loose ball.
Jos Hooiveld found himself hitting the crossbar with a header after venturing forward. Lambert's inswinging cross was nudged onto the bar after a sequence of pressing passes from Saints. Once again though Wigan responded to this threat and Kone wasted a fine chance to kill the game after he spurned a wonderful through ball bourne from a speedy Wigan attacking move led by Jordi Gomez.
Lallana again twisted on the edge of the box on 85 minutes to force a shot on goal but his effort was tamely hit at the 'keeper. Just before injury time, Jose Fonte was disspossessed tamely by Kone on the half way line after a throw in. Kone found himself through one-on-one with Davis and calmly struck Wigan to a 2-0 lead.
Wigan had effectively stuck to their game plan and took good advantage of our lack of defensive consistency. Saints could take positives from the game but our defensive frailty against one of the better passing sides in the league is cause for concern.
Davis, Clyne, Fox, Hooiveld, Fonte, Schneiderlin, S. Davis (Ward-Prowse, 75), Lallana, Do Prado, Rodriguez (Sharp, 76), Lambert
Unused Subs: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Shaw, Seaborne, Puncheon
Al-Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Boyce, Ramis, Figueroa, McCarthy, Maloney (Beausejour, 75), McArthur, Kone (Boselli, 90), Di Santo (Gomez, 67)
Unused Subs: Politt, Jones, Crusat, Watson
Di Santo, 51