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Burnley 1 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 2nd February 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Burnley The Verdict
Monday, 4th Feb 2019 09:41

It was a tale of two penalty decisions, Saints would claim that the referee got one right and another wrong, but the truth was sloppy defending cost us dearly.

Saints almost had the three points in the bag, the 4 minutes of injury time had been played with little incident and they just needed to clear the ball and the whistle would have gone, they didn't and three points were thrown away.

Saints got to grips with Burnley from the very start of the game and the longer it went on the more it looked like there would be only one winner.

But the same old issues came back and if a year ago the same result felt like a momentous win, this one felt like a crushing defeat.

Burnley will claim they should have had a penalty and having seen the replay they have a point, but they have a point because their player did what most seem to do these days, when the keeper goes to ground then the opposition player dives over him.

From this perspective I thing the ref got it right, yes there was contact, but the ball was long gone, a decade or so ago a player would just have jumped over the keeper, but not these days they throw themselves to the ground.

We shoud have opened the scoring with the lively Danny Ings in the first half but once he was off things got a lot harder to create chances, but we battled and looked up for the task.

Nathan Redmond put us ahead with a great goal from 25 yards and from then on we looked in charge for most of the game.

The arrival of Peter Crouch rattled us though, there was only one Burnley tactic from this point on and the nearer the final whistle loomed our defence started to waver.

WE seemed to struggle to clear cleanly Stephens should have cleared easily but didn't and the rebound to their man saw McCarthy make a reaction save to keep the scores level, then Stephens again was a yard off his man who volleyed against the bar and over.

The alarm bells were ringing, if Burnley were going to equalise it was going to be from our own failures more than skill on their part, like many teams before them they knew the weaknesses and the ball was slung into the box with frequency.

But it looked like we were just about home when the penalty was given, the first question was whether it was a penalty, the answer is yes, no one in the ground failed to spot the hand ball, what was Jack Stephens doing jumping with his arm up in the air like that ?

The answer could be he was fouled, but that is no excuse, replays are inconclusive on the foul and possibly Stephens reaction said it all, his team mates appealed, he just put his head in his hands.

This was a good performance in many ways it answered a few questions for Ralph Hasenhuttl, in my book the answers were as follows.

Match Gallery: 4 photos

McCarthy looks shot on confidence, he was uncertain coming for the ball both for crosses and off his line and for the Burnleypenalty shout he dithered then came and almost paid a big price.

We should have signed a central defender in the transfer window, we can get by with what we have got, but only just, there is a good reason why we keep conceding soft goals, there is a good reason why we concede late goals and there is a good reason we conceded goals that are both soft and late and its been happening for over two years now, it happened again on Saturday.

The squad is stretched to the limits we should have bought someone in in the window, Ings is likely to be out again for the next few weeks and we will miss him, we can cope but only just.

Their is good news, most of the team stepped up to the plate, Vestergaard looks to be getting to grips with the Premier League at last, Bednarek is getting better by the week, Matt Targett is a different player than Ryan Bertrand but he is worth his place in the team for the way he uses the ball.

Callum Slattery will be a player, he looked comfortable in the side and as he said after the game he played without fear which is more than can be said than for a couple of his team mates.

Nathan Redmond looks to be a candidate for player of the season and an England call up, there will be those who still can't find it in their hearts to admit it, but he is showing the potential we signed him for and has been for most of the season.

James Ward Prowse is starting to look like the player he looked like he could be Hasenhuttl has got something into his head, he plays like a man now and not a boy.

Overall this was disappointing, if we had held on then we would have taken a big step towards safety, four points ahead of Cardiff but just as importantly three ahead of Burnley and level with both Palace and Newcastle as it stands we could drop in to the bottom three if we lose on Saturday.

But there were many plus points as well, it was another game unbeaten in the League in 2019, this was a tough game, Burnley are on their own unbeaten run and are no pushovers, the actual fact we got a point there was good, but the way we dropped three was unacceptable.

But we march on and go into a big big game on Saturday, this game should be a sell out,if you are a Saints supporter and haven't got a ticket yet then get one, this is going to be about getting behind the team when it needs it's supporters, yes some will have an excuse, but most won't, this is a game that could shape the rest of the season and indeed the future of the club, No Excuses.

Photo: Action Images

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SanMarco added 10:23 - Feb 4
"We should have signed a central defender in the transfer window" and "The squad is stretched to the limits". May I add to that "the Pope's a Catholic" and "bears Poopey in the woods". Our forwards are injury prone and/or not very good at scoring and our defence is as it has been for a long time - dodgy. I hope that Ralph knows what he is doing because this COULD still go wrong.

Having said that I was encouraged by most of Saturday's performance - if we avoid too many more key injuries and suspensions I believe this performance shows that we SHOULD pick up enough points. Huddersfield are gone, Fulham are going, so if we can stay above Cardiff we should be fine - who have we got on Saturday I wonder?!

wessexman added 10:30 - Feb 4
Well, this article says it as it is. The club have gambled all on RH being able to get the most out of a limited squad. All of a sudden the club's transfer failures are there for all to see. Before the window, we had quantity over quality. Now we are running on a wing and a prayer. The Ings situation was entirely predictable.....any more long term injuries to key players could prove fatal. As the article says.....the Cardiff game is now as big as the Swansea game last May, if not bigger.

Wembley76 added 10:33 - Feb 4
Unfortunately, converting Stephens from a promising young right back to that of an unimpressive centre back hasn't (& doesnt) work well.
Overall, his defending (in a central postion) is often poor; ball watches, loses his man too readily and doesn't cover his full back or teammates adequately enough to be a first choice.
Sadly, he cannot get by on (positive) attitude alone.

vanmans added 11:17 - Feb 4
For all those people that thought we did not need new players in January Saturdays game showed that we did. Danny Ings spends more time out injured than being fit to play. We have needed a good goal scorer for the last two seasons. Jack Stephens is always getting caught ball watching and costing us points. I would like to see Stephens replaced by Yoshida next Saturday.

halftimeorange added 11:29 - Feb 4
We have all known for a long time that Stephens is the weakest link in a dodgy defence behind which, in McCarthy, we have another 'keeper low on confidence when it comes to dealing with high balls. The Barnes penalty call was equalised by the referee giving the handball but, neither incident should have happened if Saints had cleared the ball as they should have done. Ings is a cut above the rest in ability but is he really worth a lengthy and, presumably, expensive contract? Although goals have come from a number of players recently, if Redmond succumbs to injury we are in deep trouble. Well, we're in deep trouble anyway and next Saturday will be nail-biting at the very least and possibly unbearable if we're leading 1-0 in the 90th. Even if we survive in the EPL for another season the board will likely see the attendances slip further based on negative emotional experience. Watching Saints is a bit like Brexit. Since the problems began, nobody has really got to grips with them and if Ralph can't I doubt if anybody can.

saintmark1976 added 12:06 - Feb 4
Nick, you state"sloppy defending cost us dearly".Another explanation could equally be that we didn't capitalise on our one goal lead by scoring more and putting the match to bed. If we had done so then Jack's error would not even be mentioned this morning.To be honest if we still had VVD and Fonte playing behind our current midfield and forwards we would still be letting in goals.

The world and his wife can see that Ings suffers from an incurable long term injury problem as does Austin. Long has lost his scoring touch and Redmond whilst better this season is still unreliable at putting the ball in the net. The current manager is doing his best with a difficult situation but it's plain to see that the owners have no intention of backing him or they would have done so in the last window.It's all well and good asking the missing fans to turn up but why should they spend their hard earned when the owners won't even finance their own business properly?

A1079 added 12:29 - Feb 4
A good honest assessment Nick.

The points you are making though are the same points the fans have been screaming about for a good couple of seasons now. The boards failure to yet again support the manager in putting our frailties right, amounts to negligence and playing fast and loose with the teams progression and future, not just as a PL outfit. It is all the more bewildering given the effort, hard work and cost at getting us to where we are. It is a bit like doing a Risk Assessment and then ignoring the risks completely.

On a separate note. What has happened with our goalkeeping coaching because, whatever it is, it is not working. To have 3 goalkeepers who were or had shown a good level to now be either not fit to be played or so lacking in the basics and confidence suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with the coaching and training rather than the individuals themselves.

Cardiff is a big game now and yes, we need good support and to really be behind the team until the very end of the game and realise, that Cardiff will make it hard and physical. Collectively we need to be the 12th man. Lets hope the officials are good as well, as it feels that they seem to have too much impact on the outcome of games these days, and I am not just talking about Saints.

saintjf added 12:31 - Feb 4
A draw at Burnley is not a bad result as was the draw against Palace. Neither were what could be guaranteed 3 pointers. Both sides are tough to play against with their own relegation worries. Saints are tough to play against too. However as a side we are not obviously stronger than last season. The difference being the manager and the spirit he has created in the team. We have to hope that is enough to get across the line. In terms of players who might make a positive difference I would suggest that Armstrong shows some class but he is taking time to find his feet. Yes the Cardiff game is huge...

landerwal added 12:34 - Feb 4
Oh dear, same old theme, it's all the fault of the defence and Stephen's is the whipping boy. Teams who win consistently don't keep hanging on by their finger tips to a one nil lead. For example, Arsenal have let in five goals less than us but have scored twenty four more than us and are in 6th place. Manchester United have let in five goals less than us but have scored twenty two more and are in 5th place. The answer is simple, score more goals and Burnley's goal would have been a mere consolation. It's the trick that successful teams use.

bstokesaint added 12:43 - Feb 4
Once again we’re the laughing stock. I was watching the other full times coming in and just waiting for a goal flash at Turf Moor. We are shockingly predictable. Why on earth did we not do more in the window? Our naivety/stubbornness will be our downfall. It probably doesn’t need me to tell you that in the summer the predators will come in for Redmond, Hojbjerg and Bertrand, who will all want out (because let’s face it we don’t exactly show ambition) and then we’ll be back to square one. It’s just soul destroying.

1970 added 12:48 - Feb 4
A fair enough assessment Nick, there were some positives but the biggest by far was the luck we got especially slatteries tackle in the first half could easily of been red add to that the penalty in the first half which another day would of gone the other way and left Mc arthy in trouble,
Ralph says Slattery is like a new signing which we now know is his way of bigging him up but having watched him from u18 days his biggest asset was finding pockets of space unmarked and thus scoring for fun, he doesn't find any of those spaces now he is at prem level so for me he is no different than Steve Davis who was a great servant but lacked goals, but it is early days to judge him totally,
On another note we have only won twice at home all season so to win against Cardiff and fulham is asking a lot but I still cant believe the owners are happy to just scrape through a long season and finish fourth bottom amazing bit of business.

LoisDeem added 13:09 - Feb 4
The ref was very poor, and giving him any credit, he seemed to be constantly on the lookout to correct his previous glaring errors.
As for Saints, as a team they worked to get into a position just above backs to the wall, and it failed. Our dismal run at Turf Moor continues -why? Definitely two points lost, and hands up if you spotted an even more stupid penalty surrender by Cook in Cardiff a short while after. As usual, it's the unnecessary kind of exciting following Saints.
Prexit beckons while the other Ralph fiddles.

helpineedsomebody added 13:15 - Feb 4
1 total confidence in this playing system

2 the team is playing with confidence at last

3 the team plays the ball forward on the ground & through the middle players playing proper football

dont forget we had a new midfield for this game next week we will have them all back you will see the difference next week they will control the game & protect the back 5

6 the last 3 games are the most difficult difficult 2 play championship football palace had a extra man in midfield & rielly did control the game but well done saints

7 this new manager a breath of fresh air allways positive plus a very intelligent man who respects the fans if we can keep hold of him what a team he will build us top 4 manager.

8 sadly i lost my dad a few weeks ago 38 seasons never missed a home game he would be delighted how the team is doing now .
dad went from a council home to going up to whitehall to get promotion & believe me they dont promote fools there
i cant tell you how much he loved the saints



schatfield added 13:32 - Feb 4
I normally agree with your match reports, but you may be a bit naive on this one.....the penalty that wasnt given from McCarthy was a penalty all day long in reality. The penalty on Stephens was harsh, Crouch was like an octopus all over him.....Stephens didnt know what was going on. So i guess it evens out anyway....

Per the game we played very well against a tough Burnley side, who, like us, are playing well as an in-form team right now. Great to see Slattery in there too. Only drawback is the Ings injury.

schatfield added 13:34 - Feb 4
I meant to add, sorry to hear about your dad helpinneedsomebody....

GeordieSaint added 13:42 - Feb 4
I was sat in the Burnley end because my mate sorted free tickets and I was right behind the linesman. That was absolutely a penalty all day long and fundamentally the ref had an absolute mare.

I don't get the negativity around Stephens. Fair enough it was a soft pen but he didn't actually handle the ball, it was headed against his hand so it was pretty unlucky from that point of view. Throughout the game I though he was excellent, particularly his willingness to receive and distribute the ball. He is the main man in that system as he has a real pedigree with the ball, the way he can step out of the back three and create space by driving forward is instrumental to the way saints are playing.

I also can't understand the negativity from some posters. You would think saints had lost five in a row, not gone five without defeat. It is always disappointing to let in a late goal like that but any away point in the premier league is a half decent result and a draw was a fair outcome.

helpineedsomebody added 13:49 - Feb 4
thank you

SanMarco added 13:54 - Feb 4
helpinneedsomebody - I echo schatfield, deepest commiserations

helpineedsomebody added 14:04 - Feb 4
thank you

BoondockSaint added 14:27 - Feb 4
Sorry to hear of you Dad's passing helpineedsomebody.
I often think of mine while watching the Saints.

helpineedsomebody added 15:09 - Feb 4
thank you
my dad took me to my 1st match in 1961 at the dell all i can remember is 2 young lads running around the pitch
i live abroad now if i went on my own now i think i would have a few tears & its not the same without dad

simmo400 added 15:52 - Feb 4
Never was a pen he went to ground too early well done to the linesman for the spot. As for defending it was obvious that Vestergard should have marked Crouch from the last set play of the game. Simple really like for like at the final cross. Players fault.

SaintBrock added 16:33 - Feb 4
Another squandered opportunity in which the football on the pitch did not match the pre-match rhetoric (bullsh**?) of the new manager. At least to his credit the smile is gradually disappearing as realisation dawns

saint22 added 16:40 - Feb 4
Given RH jettisoned Hoed so quicjkly I am surprised he is preserving with Stephens though he has little choice having not bought a replacement in the window
Surely Yosh will step in this weekend?

1970 added 17:14 - Feb 4
May be you could come up with a poll or two providing we stay in the prem of how much money will be invested in the team in the summer :
such as 0-5mill
5-10 etc..
or maybe how many more players will leave in the summer window and then present the results to good old Ralph Krueger at the fans forum near the end of the season I'm sure we all have something to say

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