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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