Man of the match Rickie Lambert scored one and created three for his teammates as Saints ran riot at Wembley on Sunday; routing Carlisle 4-1 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final. 44,000 fans travelled from the south coast to support Southampton in their first visit to Wembley in 18 years, and they were not left disappointed.
In the first ten minutes it was the underdogs Carlisle who started the stronger, with much of the possession going their way. An opening spell of pressure culminated in a penalty shout as Carlisle midfielder Kavanagh was brought to the floor by Saint’s defender Jaidi, but the incident was rightly waved away by the referee.
Against the run of play, Southampton received a penalty in the 15th minute after defender Murphy inexplicably handled in his own box from a Michail Antonio cross. Top goalscorer Rickie Lambert stepped up to smash the ball high into the net for his 32nd goal of the season and to give Southampton the lead, sending the travelling Saints fans into raptures.
The following passage of play saw Southampton dominating, with Adam Lallana twice coming close to adding to the score; both times shooting straight at the goalkeeper. After another mistake by Murphy a cross-field ball found Antonio just insed the area, but ‘keeper Collin was equal to the winger’s volley.
Carlisle, searching for a foothold in the game that was beginnnig to get away from them, began to apply pressure down the wings and saw crossess from Robson cause trouble in the opposition’s area, the best chance ending in Ian Harte’s header grazing the top of the crossbar.
However, minutes before halftime Southampton were to score a deserved second. Antonio, in a fashion not unlike that of former Saint’s player Delap, delivered a long throw into the area that was flicked on by the head of Lambert and met by a surging Lallana, who found acres of space to nod in at the back post. The blue’s defence was completely static in failing to pick up Lallana, and he was allowed as much time as he needed to pick his spot and find the net.
Before many fans had even regained their seats after the restart, Carlisle’s defence was caught out once more as Lambert whipped in a dangerous low cross from the right and a failed clearance allowed Antonio the chance to shoot. Somehow, Collin managed to stick his body in front of the strike, only for the rebound to fall to Papa Waigo who simply had to head into an empty net; scoring his team’s third and putting the game almost out of reach.
Throughout the first half, Dobie had been deployed as a lone striker for the Cumbrains, and they had struggled to sustain attacking pressure as a result. In contrast, Southampton were ruthless on the counter-attack, and this was evidenced following their fourth goal in the 60th minute.
Davis, having plucked the ball from the air after another Robson cross, sent a long kick downfield which again Lambert was underneath, his header on this occassion finding Antonio who produced a clinical finish from the edge of the area to put the result beyond doubt. Lambert’s dominance in the air created chances all afternoon, as the defence failed to find a way to deal with his physical prescence.
To their credit, Carlisle continued to press for a consolation goal, a good oppurtunity arising only 5 minutes after the goal. Winger Keogh showed great footwork on the right hand side before delivering a searching ball across the face of goal, though the finshing touch was found lacking from Anyinsah, his first touch after being brought on as a substitute.
Southampton were incredibly composed in defence for the remainder of the game, dealing with the resurgence of their opponents well. In particular full-backs Harding and Mills produced outstanding displays to keep the opposition at bay, putting their bodies on the line in every challenge.
Nonetheless, Carlisle managed to pull one back in the 84th. Veteran Ian Harte played a free-kick from the left byline into the 6 yard area, where Gary Madine headed the ball across ‘keeper Davis and inside the far post. A goal that was unsurprisingly well recieved by the fans that had travelled on a 700 mile round trip to be at the game, despite the events of the afternoon.
This was to be Southampton’s first domestic silverware since 1976, and they won in it in style with a fine victory at Wembley.