Saints 2-0 Sheff Wed: Report
Jay Rodriguez struck in either half as Saints booked a place in the Last 16 of the Capital One Cup.
The summer signing from Burnley notched his first competitive goals for the club with a well taken strike on the half hour, and went on to secure progress in the competition by converting a penalty in the second 45 after Steve De Ridder had been brought down inside the area.
It was as easy a win had Nigel Adkins would have hoped for, as once the hosts went in front they were rarely troubled, which allowed his side to reach the fourth round for the second successive season.
The win also maintained Southampton’s unbeaten run against Wednesday on home soil which now stretches to nine games in league and cup competition.
Saints: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Hooiveld, Yoshida, Seaborne, Cork (Robinson 80), Ward-Prowse, Chaplow, Guly (Reeves 70), De Ridder, Rodriguez (Hoskins 84). Subs (not used): K. Davis, Butterfield, Gape, Sinclair.
Sheff W: Bywater, Lee (Mattock 46), Llera, Jones, Pecnik, Semedo, Beevers, Corry (Johnson 66), Antonio, Maguire (O’Grady 66), Madine. Subs (not used): Jameson, Mayor, Lavery, Rodri.
Referee: Mark Halsey
Attendance: 9,890 (including 698 away)
Paulo Gazzaniga continued in goal, but there were changes throughout the side from Saturday’s game with Dan Seaborne coming in at left back and a fresh midfield line up.
Amongst those fresh faces was Jack Cork who made a return to first team football having been sidelined since the tail end of pre-season.
Saints pair James Ward-Prowse and Guly got the match started with the hosts attacking the Northam stand on a clear and cool night inside St Mary’s.
Adkins’ men were quick off the mark with Steve De Ridder playing a defence splitting pass towards Jay Rodriguez as he raced towards the area, but Owls ‘keeper Stephen Bywater rushed out to thwart the danger inside a minute of play.
A competitive start to the contest saw visitors Wednesday enjoy a brief spell of possession in Saints’ half, with Michail Antonio scuffing a shot, before the home side broke on the counter which led to Guly firing wide from 12 yards out.
On 16 Saints almost caught Wednesday out on the break once more when Cork slipped Rodriguez through on goal, but Bywater got down early to block the striker’s goalbound effort.
The hosts stepped up the pressure with Richardson popping a shot wide before another rneat move through midfield led to De Ridder picking out Rodriguez inside the area, but the frontman’s header spun well wide of Bywater’s right post.
In the 24th minute Chaplow and De Ridder linked up impressively for the former to tee up Guly for a volley on the turn, but the Brazilian’s effort flew wide of the far post.
Moments later Michail Antonio found himself one on one with Gazzaniga, but lifted his chipped effort inches over the bar and onto the roof of the net.
The quickfire chances seemed to liven the two teams up, as Guly then chested down Gazzaniga’s clearance to then fire in another strike on target which Bywater again stood firm for.
Saints made the breakthrough on the half hour, which owed once again to an incisive pass through midfield from Chaplow. The drilled ball forward was collected impressively and quickly taken out if his feet quickly by RODRIGUEZ who slammed home past Bywater for his first competitive goal in the red and white.
Lifted by his strike, Rodriguez set his sights for goal again in the 35th minute when he crashed a loose ball towards the target, but a big deflection off Jose Semedo took the effort wide.
Chances continued to come the way of the hosts prior to the interval with the pick of them seeing Guly head De Ridder’s cross onto the base of the post, as Saints looked more likely to add to their narrow advantage than surrender the lead.
Half Time: Saints 1-0 Sheff Weds
Dave Jones made a change at the break with Joe Mattock replacing Kieran Lee in a straight swap at left back, whilst Saints continued with the same eleven from the opening 45 minutes.
The visitors gave it a go at the start of the second period creating two early chances with Chris Maguire heading Paul Corry’s free-kick wide, before Nejc Pecnik flashed a thunderous volley over the bar from range.
Pecnik tested Gazzaniga soon after with a rising shot which stung the hands of the ‘keeper, who then gathered the resulting corner well under pressure.
Despite those opportunities for Jones’ side, Saints remained in control of the play and went close to extending their lead when Hooiveld headed Guly’s free-kick at Bywater with just over an hour gone.
On 66 Wednesday replaced Corry and Maguire with winger Jermaine Johnson and forward Chris O’Grady as they searched for a leveller.
Johnson gave Wednesday a fresh impetus down the left side with an injection of pace and trickery which provided Richardson with a new challenge.
Saints made their first change on 70 when Guly came off to allow Ben Reeves the opportunity of repeating his goal scoring heroics from the previous round.
Reeves wasted no time in setting his sights on goal, and saw a drilled shot blocked by the legs of Joe Mattock, before firing over from a De Ridder cross with a thumping volley.
De Ridder’s trickery continued to cause Wednesday problems and it was his penetrating run that drew a clumsy foul from Mattock which gave Saints the opportunity to book their place in round four from the penalty spot.
RODRIGUEZ stepped up to secure the hosts’ progress, though his spot kick squirmed under Bywater’s body on its way into the back of the net on 78 minutes.
There was a scare for the hosts two minutes later when Jack Cork had to be withdrawn with an injury, which resulted in a senior debut for Saints Under-21s midfielder Andy Robinson.
Sam Hoskins replaced two goal hero Rodriguez with six minutes remaining as Saints ended the game with four Academy products on the field.
Wednesday applied some late pressure with Johnson forcing Gazzaniga into a save as well as firing over in the closing stages, but the hosts advanced to the next stage of the completion in relative comfort.
Full Time: Saints 2-0 Sheff Weds