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On This Day In History 31st March Part 2
Tuesday, 31st Mar 2020 14:15

Here we take a look at three games played on this date that between them produced 12 goals, but which teams scored them, find out more here.

On this day back in 2007 Saints promotion challenge had come firmly off the rails with only a single point in the past four games and in the longer term 8 out the last 9 games was relegation not promotion form.

So a trip to fellow promotion chasers Wolverhampton Wanderers was not one that looked like having a happy ending, so as Saints fans boarded the train up to the West Midlands that morning the mood was not one of optimism.

Little did we know though that this was going to be one of our great away victories and the return trip home was going to be one of party mood not the desolation of the last couple of months.

Kelvin Davis had been dropped a couple of games earlier for Bart Bialkowski and the Polish keeper would play a big part in not just this game but Saints revival in the final six weeks of the season.

Saints lined up

Bart BiaƂkowski
Chris Makin
Alexander Ostlund
Pedro Pele
Darren Powell
Jermaine Wright
Danny Guthrie
Rudi Skacel
Drew Surman
Leon Best
Marek Saganowski

The game started as predicted with Saints on the back foot and Wolves dominating, possession and territory, but then in the 24th minute there started a pattern that would continue for the rest of the game, Saints broke forward and scored, Marek Saganowski heading home and we would score again in the 27th minute with a Breen own goal and then another Saganowski effort made it 3-0.

It had been mainly one way traffic towards Saints goal so far yet we were leading, on the stroke of half time Wolves had a lifeline being awarded a penalty, but Bialkowski guessed right diving to his left to keep the spot kick out and the score still 3-0 at the break.

In the second half Wolves fans were still hopeful, Saints with 8 first team players out were spending much of the time in their own half, but the pattern would remain the same, 10 minutes after the break Leon Best made it 4-0 and even the Saints supporters were beginning to believe they might just win.

For a while the game had some sort of normality, Saints holding firm and making sure that they didn't give the home side a lifeline, when Wolves did get chnces Bialkowski was in inspired form to keep them out, it was just not the mome sides day and this was confirmed with 11 minutes left Andrew Surman made it 5 and then 4 minutes later Saganowski again to complete his hat trick and the scoring.

Wolves fans were heading for the exits by now and could not believe what they had just seen a game they had completely dominated yet they had fallen to their biggest home defeat since 1968 when they were beaten by Liverpool and the same scoreline.

Ironically Saints had also hit 6 at Molyneaux in 1976/77 season, but had then conceded twice themselves.

But 5 years later on 31st March 2012 it was not to be such a happy day for Saints, there had been some ups and downs since that win at Wolves and things were now on the up as we travelled to Blackpool.

A large number of Saints fans made the trip, many staying for the weekend but they were not to be given anything to celebrate.

Up to this game we had looked certainties for the Championship title, 8 wins and 2 draws in our previous 10 games we feared no one, but this was the day we came off the rails, 13,499 at Bloomfield Road including around 3,000 Saints fans packed into one half of the side stand.

Initially things went well and when we were awarded a penalty it looked like business as usual, but with no Rickie Lambert, Billy Sharp took it and saw his spot kick saved and then suddenly the game turned, Stephen Dobbie scoring from the spot for the home side on 22 minutes and then again on the half hour.

Nigel Adkins brought on Steve De Ridder for Richard Chaplow at half time but to little avail and Blackpool scored again shortly after and there was no way back for Saints.

This started a mini slide with 6 games left and our form was patchy but we did enough to get over the line.

Two years ago we headed for West Ham United full of hope that the Mark Hughes would be our saviour after the win at Wigan a fortnight earlier that put us in the FA Cup semi finals.

A big Saints contingent went up thinking that the Hammers were in an even worse place then ourselves, West Ham played things right, they let us have plenty of the ball and then punished us on the break, 53% possession for us yet not one shot on target, West Ham had only 2 more shots on target than us but scored from 3 of them.

They were 2-0 up by 17 minutes and put any lingering hopes of a comeback out of the question by scoring right on the break to make it 3-0.

Many Saints supporters had seen enough, and went home without seeing the second half, a gutless performance from a side that lacked leadership on and off the field, of the 18 on duty that day only 9 are currently available for selection, with 6 out on loan and only 3 gone permanently, this game epitomises all that went wrong a couple of years ago and why we continue to be dragged down by that legacy today.

Photo: Action Images

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