City duo help Blues past Saints

25 August 2009 10:12
City looked like being on the wrong end of an upset on Tuesday night after Adam Lallana fired Saints into a second-half lead.[LNB]Lallana, who has been with Saints since he was 12 and witnessed at first-hand their slide from the Premier League, via administration, to the foot of the third tier, struck with a superb curler to leave the Premier League visitors sweating.[LNB]But two goals in three minutes from Bowyer, 32, and 35-year-old Carsley - Blues' first goals from open play this season - saw Alex McLeish's side safely through.[LNB]McLeish made seven changes to the side which drew with Stoke on Saturday, but injuries throughout the squad meant this was no weakened line-up and also meant he could only name five substitutes.[LNB]Hong Kong billionaire Carson Yeung is apparently close to completing his takeover of the club, and his promise of £5million to spend before next week's transfer deadline could come in very handy on this showing.[LNB]Few eyebrows were raised when Southampton won this fixture 2-0 at the same stage of last season's competition, when both teams were in the Championship.[LNB]But the clubs have moved in opposite directions since, with City enjoying a solid start to life in the Premier League and Saints floundering on minus eight points at the foot of League One - some 60 places below.[LNB]Yet it was Southampton who made the livelier start, with youngster Lloyd James hooking a shot over the crossbar and recalled City keeper Maik Taylor foiling Marek Saganowski as the Polish striker raced through.[LNB]Chelsea loanee Jacob Mellis fired wide from the angle and £1million frontman Rickie Lambert missed his kick when well placed with the hosts making all the early running.[LNB]They also had a decent penalty shout waved away when Mellis appeared to be fouled by Franck Queudrue.[LNB]But Christian Benitez, the Blues' £7million record signing, exploded into life in the 28th minute of his full debut with a rasping 20-yard drive which beat home keeper Kelvin Davis, but not his right-hand post.[LNB]The ball pinged straight back out to Gary McSheffrey, who could not control his effort and volleyed over.[LNB]At the other end Lambert shot straight at Taylor, but the visitors were by now looking more menacing and Chris Perry did well to block Bowyer's low cross with McSheffrey lurking.[LNB]Sebastian Larsson thought he had given City the lead with a curling free-kick but Davis flung himself across goal to make a fingertip save.[LNB]Davis also kept out a low shot from the Swede after he was teed up by Stephen Carr as the interval approached.[LNB]But it was Saints who took a shock lead in the 52nd minute through Lallana.[LNB]The young midfielder is a product of the academy which brought us Theo Walcott, Kenwyne Jones and Gareth Bale and is apparently also on the radar of a number Premier League clubs.[LNB]He showed why when he collected a loose ball 18 yards out after Larsson had been dispossessed and dispatched a superb curler past Taylor's despairing dive and into the top corner.[LNB]Birmingham attempted to hit straight back and Davis made another fine stop to deny McSheffrey from the edge of the area.[LNB]Saints had to readjust when Graeme Murty was taken off on a stretcher with suspected knee ligament damage following an innocuous-looking challenge, while City threw on James McFadden and Garry O'Connor.[LNB]Mellis almost doubled Saints advantage when he wriggled free down the right but Taylor kept out his angled shot with his legs.[LNB]And moments later, in the 77th minute, Birmingham hauled themselves level when Benitez played in Bowyer to clip the ball past the helpless Davis and into the net.[LNB]Davis saved another fierce shot from Benitez, but he could do nothing when Stuart Parnaby's low cross was sidefooted into the net by Carsley in the 80th minute.[LNB]Brum had to survive seven minutes of stoppage time, courtesy of Murty's injury, but the weary Saints by then had little left to offer.[LNB][LNB]

Source: Team_Talk