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Southampton 3 - 1 Leeds United: Saints breeze to victory

Leeds were comfortably beaten away to Southampton, thanks to some diabolical defending once again.

Simon Grayson handed league debuts to trio, Andy Lonergan, Darren O'Dea (it should be O'Dear) and Michael Brown, as well as giving Adam Clayton a chance to shine from the start for the first time. Ross McCormack was given the role of lone striker, supported by captain Jonny Howson.

Michael Brown didn't take long to dive into tackles, giving repeated fouls away within the opening minutes of the match. The first chance fell to the Whites, Jonny Howson was left open in the box, but could only fire his shot straight at Kelvin Davis. Minutes later the home side were in front, Dean Hammond managed to wriggle free in midfield, and charge towards the Leeds goal, unchallenged he fired his shot into the bottom corner to give the Saints the lead.

United tried to test the Southampton defence, but dire set-pieces were costing them dearly. The Saints looked solid as a unit, and doubled their advantage just before the half hour. Adam Lallana was given a free shot at goal, Andy O'Brien for some reason choosing to look the other way and do the splits instead of blocking the shot.

Towards the end of the second-half the Whites started to get the ball down and play, the only problem being it was along the back four, and half-time couldn't have come at a better time. Whatever Grayson said at the interval didn't work, the game was over in the 52nd minute. David Connolly found space on the edge of the box, and coolly slotted the ball past the out-stretched Lonergan.

Grayson introduced Paynter to the action, and the former Swindon man missed a glorious chance to make it 3-1. Ramon Nunez and Lloyd Sam were also brought on to try and salvage some pride. Nunez looked sharp and direct, but his only shot was well wide of the post. Southampton nearly scored on the break, Rickie Lambert set up Chaplow, and he would have made it four but Lonergan was on hand to tip it onto the post.

In the closing minutes Leeds were awarded a penalty, for absolutely nothing. Clayton charged into the box and the linesman believed the Saints centre-half had handled within the area. Gradel stepped up and fired the ball into the net, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal.

The only real positive to take from today's game was the performances of Adam Clayton and Andy Lonergan. Clayton showed some class with the ball at his feet, and tried hard within the centre of midfield. If it wasn't for Lonergan things would have been much worse. But the performance was dire, O'Brien looked slow and clueless (like last season), and O'Dea well was useless, offered nothing more than the other three left backs we already have. Snodgrass is either injured, or not interested, his performance today was one of his worst for the club.

Simon Grayson has tried to convince himself and the fans the squad is better than last year. Yes there is 45 games to go, but the team as a unit can not defend STILL. Money needs to be spent, and fast otherwise it is going to be one hell of a long season.

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