REPORT: AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Southampton

By SFC Media Fri 25 Jul Club

Saints stepped up their pre-season preparations with a narrow victory at the Goldsands Stadium secured by Lloyd Isgrove's first half strike.

Ronald Koeman’s men made it four wins from four warm-up matches played, with four clean sheets to boot.

The scoreline will suggest that it was a close game, but in truth Saints were rarely troubled after the game’s winning strike which came from Lloyd Isgrove’s diving header on 20 minutes. The Welshman’s far post effort a reward for his hard-working performance on the left side of Saints’ front three.

Ahead of the game, Artur Boruc and Gastón Ramírez both returned to the squad, while Dušan Tadić earned his first start on English soil, lining up on the right flank of a front three alongside Isgrove and Graziano Pellè.

Defensive pair Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren were both ruled out through illness, With Nathaniel Clyne, José Fonte, Maya Yoshida and Matt Targett starting at the back for the visitors who lined up in their changed strip of navy shirts and shorts with yellow socks.

Both teams immediately began at a high tempo in a competitive opening to the contest, but it was Saints who soon took control of play, with some tireless running through midfield which eventually overran the hosts.

The returning Ramírez was eager to impress, and after he had struck an effort from distance narrowly over the crossbar, the Uruguayan was one of a clutch of players involved in the game’s breakthrough goal on 20 minutes.

The strike came at the end of a well-worked move from midfield where the ball was then sent down the right flank where Nathaniel Clyne’s delivered an inch-perfect cross to the far post, and Lloyd Isgrove did the rest with a diving header into the bottom left corner for 1-0.

Three minutes later, Ramírez found Steven Davis on the edge of the area, who sneaked the ball into the path of Pellè, but Cherries ‘keeper Benji Buchel was out quickly to make a smart save to deny the Italian striker from adding his name to the scoresheet.

Saints kept up the pressure on 38 minutes when Ward-Prowse nearly embarrassed Buchel with a low drive from 30 yards which squirmed through the goalkeeper’s body, but the hosts’ shot stopper fortunately recovered in time to collect the ball at the second attempt.

Bournemouth offered a brief scare to the visitors before the break when Josh McQuoid’s cross deflected off Matt Targett, forcing Boruc into an improvised save, and from the follow up, Charlie Daniels smashed a shot towards goal which the Pole had to parry away for a corner.

Jack Cork replaced Ramírez for the second 45 minutes in Saints’ only change at the break, whilst the hosts introduced Matt Ritchie in place of Callum Wilson up front as both managers resisted the temptation to make a glut of changes during the half-time interval with the game maintain its intensity level.

Few chances were created at the start of the new half however, as Saints continued to move players around. Jos Hooiveld, Sam McQueen, and Harrison Reed were all introduced to the action on the hour mark, with Ward-Prowse notably dropping deeper as a result of those changes.

Emmanuel Mayuka was introduced in the next round of substitutions as play entered the final quarter of an hour, and the Zambian forward curled a high shot from the left flank just over the top of the right side of the goal with his first touch of the game.

Sam McQueen followed suit after a fine piece of individual play, with his strike taking a large deflection before looping out for a corner.

Bournemouth had the ball in the net late on when substitute Brett Pitman headed home, but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside, prior to four minutes of stoppage time being added on.

That proved to be the last clear opportunity in a good workout for Ronald Koeman’s side for a result which sent the 1,300-odd supporters from Southampton home happy.

Bournemouth team: Benji Buchel, Adam Smith (Baily Cargill 71), Steve Cook (Simon Francis 71), Tommy Elphick, Charlie Daniels (Ian Harte 71), Josh McQuoid (Junior Stanislas 71), Dan Gosling (Ben Whitfield 82), Eunan O’Kane (Sam Matthews 82), Marc Pugh (Harry Arter 71), Yann Kermorgant (Brett Pitman 71), Callum Wilson (Matt Ritchie 46)

Unused substitutes: Jake McCarthy

Southampton team: Artur Boruc  Nathaniel Clyne, José Fonte, Maya Yoshida (Jos Hooiveld 60), Matt Targett, Steven Davis (Harrison Reed 60), James Ward-Prowse (Jack Stephens 76), Gastón Ramírez (Jack Cork 46), Dušan Tadić (Sam McQueen 60), Lloyd Isgrove (Emmanuel Mayuka 76), Graziano Pellè (Sam Gallagher 76)

Unused substitutes: Kelvin Davis, Jake Flannigan, Jason McCarthy, Billy Sharp

Goal: Isgrove (20)

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 7,421 (including 1,382 away)