This weekend (Sunday 21st November, to be precise) marked 125 years for Southampton FC, originally known as St Mary’s, and now playing at a ground of the same name. There’s a pleasing symmetry there. There was a great deal more to please supporters in the sides 4 – 1 win over Peterborough, which got the weekend off to a great start.
There were four goals from four different players: Lee Barnard, Jose Fonte, Richard Chaplow and Guly Do Prado. But there was one appearance that was welcome for quite a different reason.
There had been some head-scratching among fans about why Nigel Adkins allowed Jason Puncheon to go on loan to Millwall earlier in the week. Wasn’t that going to leave Saints short on the right? What if something happens to Alex Chamberlain? He is only a lad and his form could dip, or he could be injured.
The answer came from an unexpected quarter during the second half when, after another good display, Chamberlain was substituted by Lee Holmes. Lee has been so unlucky since he joined from Derby as a very good prospect. He has had a number of injuries, so fans were pleased to see him on the team sheet.
What wasn’t expected was that he would play on the right, and play a stormer, sending in the free kick for Guly’s goal, and finding a great pass to the same player which should have provided another.
The fans knew that Holmes has pace, control and a really good left foot. What perhaps wasn’t appreciated before Saturday was that he can use his right foot too to cross and pass. He looked as if playing on the right was totally natural to him.
The whole team put in the sort of performance that the fans are coming to expect, and it might seem unfair to pick out Holmes when others performed well too.
The fans’ man of the match was Richard Chaplow, and good he was, scoring with a beautiful volley getting forward to support the strikers. It’s just that Holmes’s contribution from the right was so much more of a surprise and with him now, hopefully recovered from injury, it’s the old cliché that...it’s like having a new player.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.