Saints V Huddersfield The Verdict Monday, 13th May 2019 11:44
A flat ending to the season as Saints threw away the lead yet again and lost the chance to jump above Burnley in the Premier League table.
It looked like it would be a stroll in the sunshine for Saints as they took on relegated Huddersfield Town at St Mary's, but if the fans thought that all they had to do was turn up to see a certain victory it seemed the players thought the same.
The game was lively but lacked clear cut chances, Huddersfield were clearly determined to finish their two year tenure in the top flight with a flourish but were still no real danger to a Saints side who lacked the motivation needed to overcome them.
A wonder goal from Nathan Redmond just before half time broke the deadlock and it seemed that there would now only be one winner.
But 10 minutes in into the second half with Saints looking comfortable after a James Ward Prowse shot almost made it two rebounding off the bar can a mistake from Angus Gunn that gifted the Terriers an equaliser, a back pass across the penalty area looked simple for the keeper but he took a heavy touch allowing Pritchard to nip in and win the ball and fire into an empty net.
A bad mistake, but to be honest it happens to the best of keepers and I would rather it happen to Gunn so that he can learn from the error in a meaningless game like this rather than in a match of importance next season, mistakes happen hopefully he will be a better keeper for the experience.
Huddersfield deserved it for their persistence if not for their previous inability to be able to test Gunn.
You hoped that this would be the catalyst to stir the game into life, but the last 35 minutes saw little aside from a Charlie Austin shot that went an inch wide that looked to win the game for either side.
Indeed the only thing to hit the back of the net of the Chapel End goal was the bizarre sight of a pitch invader in the final minutes.
But that was it and all that was left was for the manager and players to thank the fans for their support and look towards next season.
For some players waving at the fans it could be their last goodbye, newly blonde bombshell Charlie Austin looks likely to leave and he might be joined by one or two more from the 18 on duty for this game.
All in all there is no point in analysing this game too much, it told us little that we don't already know, we are at least a striker and a central defender short of a good side, get the right people in next season and it could be an exciting time, but for the moment we just need to appreciate the good work that Ralph Hasenhuttl has done and realise that although this season ended a little tamely, it has still been a lot better than last year in that we were clear of relegation well before the final day and the season before in terms of entertainment.
There are good times ahead, it is now time to stop harking back to the past and what might have been, that cannot be changed, we now need to look to the future and what we can now achieve under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Boringly disappointing. Can't remember when I 've seen so many misplaced passes/ blocked shots ot missed opportunities. Ralph has a job on his hands during the summer, and undoubtedly the list of those who are " surplus to requirements" grows longer after every game.
Ralph achieved his target and knows clearly who has to go and what we need. Let's hope he can get enough new talent in to make next season a far better one.
Nick is quite right not to bother analysing this one. It does emphasise our lack of quality. Even at a stroll you would think we would beat a side who kicked off with just 15 points. The fact we weren't surprised that we didn't says it all. I am looking forward to the summer!
I think I’ve been waiting for this season to be over since about October!! Just getting it over with and staying in the league, whilst having to deal with a number of our former players enjoying success at the top level has been hard to stomach. We definitely need a Koeman still clean out in the summer. I am very nervous that we won’t get the investment we all crave. It would be a disaster not to. We’ve got far too many average players and lack some real quality. We certainly have the management team for the job now.
People in Tesco supermarket in New Milton were still grumbling about it this morning. None of them expect to see any changes this summer and most suggested that "they're not to bother going next season".
Probably sums up how many fans are feeling after that display of ineptitude and piss taking!
Strange logic at S F C in my opinion. Each additional place in the final league table is worth two million pounds or there abouts. Yet at West Ham last week we fielded a team minus regular fit first teamers. Yesterday the first teamers were back in and we played like it was a practice match. The club bombards supporters asking them to buy a season ticket at an average of say £500, so that one missed addition league place is the equivalent of four thousand season ticket sales. Makes no sense to me or am I missing something?
Reference yesterday's performance.The number of fans ( of which I was one ) leaving the ground before the end to avoid the lap of player appreciation spoke volumes.
Clearly there is much to be done in the close season. I just hope that the owners don't travel the same route as they did with Mr Koeman or Brighton won't be the only team looking for a new manger because I suspect Mr Hasenhuttl won't be around.
Finally Nick, thank you for all your efforts during the season.Many of your comments I've disagreed with but I respect your point of view. It's also extremely pleasant that unlike other sites fellow contributors have not resorted to name calling of bad language, long may it continue.
Truly awful game. I never walk out before the final whistle, but left that one well before 90. It was end of season meaningless football at its best. I love a relegation fight, for the drama and excitement (see Spurs win and a half a dozen other games since March etc.). But when it's all over and nothing to play for............ yawn.
Big summer for Saints. I don't want mid table boredom but a push into the top 7-10. With Hasenhuttl and some backing, we can hopefully make that jump next season.
SaintBrock, it is sad to see that so many people in New milton "dont expect to see any changes" why would they think that, we have had a change of three of the most important men at the club in the last six months, in the Director of football, the Chairman and the manager so the evidence is that the owner is not afraid to change things.
If people get hacked off due to one lacklustre meaningless last game of the season then god help us.
Things have to change in the attitude of some supporters, they have to forget the past and look to the future, we are in a lot better shape than this time a year ago and have a manager who is vibrant and knows how to motivate, forget the past it is the future that counts
The picture of the pitch invader was merely accompanying the mention of him in the story, I didnt think it was much of a hoot myself, but he didnt have a knife and it was good natured, I would rather that have happened yesterday and perhaps the club learn from any short comings that allowed him to get on and perhaps stop something serious next season than it not have happened
I think many supporters are genuinely worried about this summer. I've said before that it will be a good reflection on Gao's true intentions for Saints moving forward. Unfortunately there are now several players who I hope never play for Saints ever again
Re the game - we didn't stay for the lap of appreciation. Maybe if the players had tried to entertain the fans during the game rather than just stroll around it would have been different but I think they just show content for those of us who have turned up during thick and thin to watch some real dross this season...and last season...and the end of the season before!
Final note - I also don't always agree with Nick but want to thank him for expressing his views and keeping this forum going. let's hope we have something to all be proud of next season.
Play down to the level of the competition. Only score one goal. Drop points late in the game due to lack of concentration. Do just enough to stay in the league.
At the end of the Bournemouth game players celebrated as if they had avoided relegation by their fight and determination when in reality they were relying on another team to do it for them. Once safe, they have been on holiday. They attitude seams to be "Safety is enough, no more effort needed." The exact same attitude during games in the season: "Oh, we scored a goal? Well, that should be enough then."
Ralph has a lot of work ahead of him this summer. Hope he gets the backing he needs.
I don't know Nick, but I echo others above in thanking him for his work over the season. I often don't agree, but that's the point. (If I had a criticism, Nick, it's not your continual disrespect for Yoshida, but your continual disrespect for the English language!)
I can see why some think that not much will change next year. For me it revolves around whether or not Ings is purchased at the mooted 18-20mil. That would put a big dent in a transfer kitty--and one that I personally think would be a mistake. We might still get a couple of new signings (RH seems to be reassuring us of that and nobody with eyes can deny we need at least one new striker and one new CB). But if we have to outlay 20mil on Ings, that probably won't leave much to spend. Whether or not we do buy him, however, I'm pretty sure the bulk of the changes will come from blooding some of the youngsters, a few of whom have appeared on the fringes this season already. That's what's behind RH's frequent attempts to revive the notion of the "Southampton way." All I can hope is that all the youngsters turn out to be of Valery's quality. To me that young lad was the player of the season.
Yes - I echo all those thanking Nick for such a good forum + thanks to all of you who contribute so much with comments. It doesn't matter that we don't agree - it would be boring and rather pointless if we did.
As for whether I am looking forward to the summer - I am at the moment and at least there will be lots of comings and goings. Of course the whole Gao situation is a puzzle but I am hoping for the best. Three or four good purchases and we could be up in the 7th to 10th race. Before the rather flat end to the season Ralph's points average was challenging for 7th - even at the end it was 12th I think. So there is hope!
Thanks, Nick. I visit this site regularly and enjoy both the articles--for what it's worth it seems I tend to agree with you about most things (apart from Yoshida) more some other commenters on here--and the comments. It can be difficult to find sites whose commenters don't abuse one another for sport, making things miserable for the rest of us, but I'm happy to have found one here. Long may it continue.
Many people are worried about the summer ?..I don't say worried..maybe "concerned" For 60 years I've waited for ..I don't know what to happen during the close season, and think ...after a good season- can we keep this up and do better next year?....or following a a bad season (and now we've had two in a row)....let's hope it's not going to be worse.
Ralph has managed to create the nucleas of a new side ..mainly using players that Mark Hughes continually ignored ...but we still have two major problem areas. (1) After losing Fonte .and VvD within a year, we saw continued usage of Hoedt (who was always a disaster waiting to happen) .and Vestergaard who needed a long tiime to find his feet. Whilst Bednarek seemed to improve with every game, we were left with Yoshida and Stephens carrying the brunt of our backline, and both often shouldered the blame for a side that lost 25 points from winning positions. ..or was it 27(?) (2) Since we lost Pelle AND Mane, we've failed miserably to replace either of them. In hindsight...we should have let Austin go sooner, and kept Jay Rod and for once there was no U23 striker waiting in the wings. We all want Danny Ings to succeed, but he clearly hasn't found form and fitness after his last injury lay-off. As for goals ..there's some encouragement to see that we had 16 players on the scoresheet, but what I wouldn't give for a striker who scored 16 instead.
We're overloaded with midfielders, yet without finding a consistantly good combination. Don't know how long Bertrand will continue to play LB , at the expense of Matt Targett, and whilst Yan Valery maybe Ralph's "discovery of the season". there is no credible back-up should he be injured - if/when Cedric leaves. I do feel sorry for Jack Stephens, who was the shining light as captain of the U23's - but never really adapted to the higher level and was continually picked mainly because we had no other options.
One thing that few people have discussed - is whether or not Ralph can revitalise the likes of Clasie, Boufal and Carrillo who are still Saints players and will continue to be so -unless /until they are "rehabilitated" - or sold.
The goalkeeping situation will resolve itself , as (despite his schoolboy error on Sunday) Angus Gunn will remain first choice,, but McCarthy may go as having - got himself one cap for England - won't want to spend next season on the bench. Only a miracle will see Forster leaving, as no club would buy him on his history... or be able to afford his salary if he did go.
Ralph will also need to decide what he does about the youngsters we've had out on loan who - for the most part - he's never seen play. They are nearly all past the U23 stage, but few of them are likley to be seriously challenging for a first team spot.
So... am I concerned? No more than usual, but for me ..I'd like to think we sign one or two new names, get some more milage out of those who scarcely been in the picture, and all things considered ..a top half-finish next season would sound very good right now.