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Saints V Newcastle United The Verdict
Sunday, 10th Apr 2016 08:46

A good win for Saints but it was a strange one as well, leaving a feeling that the win should really have been more comprehensive than it ended.

Saints could not have had a better start against Newcastle, Shane Long scored a great opening goal after only three minutes with a mazy run that started with a little bit of good fortune and ended with a clinical finish.

Long seemed to be at the heart of everything going forward and he was at the centre of the attention when he latched on to a short back pass from Taylor and nicked the ball ahead of the keeper who duly clattered him. The referee had a decision to make, although it was outside the area and not a goal scoring chance, it was an awful challenge and worthy of a red card, the ref go it totally wrong in awarding a corner with Long needing treatment having almost somersaulted in the challenge.

When Graziano Pelle added a second after more shocking defending by the visitors all the talk at half time was of how many Saints could get in the second half and could it be another Sunderland game ?

The answer was that after Wanyama effectively put the game to bed 10 minutes after the break and Long had departed shortly after to be replaced by Ward Prowse, Saints barely broke sweat and although they had plenty of chances the cutting edge was missing and the game petered out to a tame finish.

When Andros Townsend scored a screamer with 25 minutes to go it gave the visitors hope, but they never looked like getting into it, but perhaps it made Saints a little more cautious and that meant that they had one eye on making sure that they didn't give the Geordies another goal rather than all out attack.

It also meant that Ronald Koeman had to be careful with his second two substitutions, Romeu for Clasie was a neccessity to give fresh legs in the centre of midfield, but you had the feeling that if it had still been 3-0 then we might have seen more attacking changes at that point, Jay Rodrigues needed a little run out at the end, so there was no time on the pitch for Charlie Austin. (Editors Note. Due to being in the pub before the match and for several hours afterwards, the match reviewer was unaware Charlie Austin had been injured in the warm up)

So Saints fans left St Mary's feeling a little flat, at half time there had been great expectation of a rout and that didn't materialise.

We threatened, Mane looked lively, but we just lacked the drive we had in the final half hour against Liverpool and never seemed to get out of first gear, Newcastle were poor and after the early goal we seemed to know we could beat them without having to move up a gear and that meant that it was never the goal feat or spectacle that it could have been.

But that should not deflect from the fact that this was a good three points for Saints and has got them a little nearer West Ham United and Manchester United, although the latter do not play till Sunday afternoon.

But with Chelsea losing at Swansea and Everton drawing this win has pushed us to the brink of another top ten finish and that is a great achievement.

So Saints take another step forward and now need to keep the momentum going next week by gaining a rare win at Everton

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derbydog added 09:04 - Apr 10
Charlie Austin was not available, having been injured in the warm up. Great to see JayRod back
1

SaintNick added 09:17 - Apr 10
I realise that now lol, thats the trouble with having a few beers after the match you don't find out these things till much later
0

Zambucco added 12:03 - Apr 10
Slightly worrying that the warnings about Austin and injuries are starting to have a ring of truth about them. Although it's not rare to get injured in the warm up.
1

A1079 added 12:07 - Apr 10
Good assessment Nick and I didn't know about Charlie Austin either - and I don't have the excuse of being in the pub. He sure is injury prone with incredible ease. We are maybe seeing why others were reluctant to take the risk with him and why he was so cheap by todays standards.

I agree with you. In the end it seemed flat and reminded me of the first half of the season when we effectively got a win in the first half and faded in the second. We were so on top you felt we would really take the sword to Newcastle.
1

halftimeorange added 13:18 - Apr 10
It seems to be a regular calculated pattern of Ronald's to send one player out each game to run all over the pitch in the first half, burn himself out early in the second and be substituted with a more containing type. He does it regularly with Davis and Clasie. I wonder why this is as the nett result seems to be a loss of impetus. Although JWP actually came on for Long yesterday, Clasie soon went off and we became sterile and looked vulnerable and not for the first time. Newcastle were there for a good hiding and we all went home feeling that we hadn't quite done the job properly. I guess this part of having higher expectations these days.
3

Consigliere added 19:51 - Apr 10
As he usually does, Consortium 11 put his finger on this match in his Guardian blog - it was like clubbing baby seals to death, there were so many targets that we missed most of them, save for the occasional decent whack which put the little blighters out of their misery. Make no mistake, the 'Toon is done for (and the Jordies in the pub I met before the match thought that a spell in the Championship might actually do them a bit of good) but Saints will have to do better if we are to make a European place. That being said, you can, as the old cliche has it, only play the team that is put out in front of you and it was a workmanlike job with outstanding performances from Long and Mane, who worked tirelessly throughout. Pelle can be a lazy bugger sometimes and he drives the crowd mad with his whinging but there is no doubting his talent and it was a well-taken goal from him. However as Leicester have proved again today, its a team game and individual superstars are a luxury we can do without. So, a solid rather than an inspiring performance. I thought we actually played better against Leicester last week, but would I swap the result? Of course not. Onwards and upwards.
1

IWOZTHERE added 21:17 - Apr 10
We did enough with plenty in hand. Just need some fresh ideas on crosses....When we dominate we put in loads of deep crosses for so little reward?
1

SaintBrock added 09:02 - Apr 11
We made very hard work of winning a very easy game. With Liverpool thrashing Stoke it seems unlikely we'll have the spirit to finish ahead of them if this lacklustre performance was anything to go by. What disappoints most is that we seem to have lost that discernible style of play that characterised the mythological "Southampton Way" for the last couple of years or so.

Looks like we'll have to settle for 8th, no European football and the prospect of our best players looking elsewhere yet again this summer.
0

schatfield added 16:25 - Apr 11
how do you know that Austin was injured? He was on the subs bench I thought (was named on there on all the match reports)
0

legod7 added 17:57 - Apr 11
schatfield, everyone in the Kingsland North were aware of it.
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