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On This Day In History - 5th April Part 2
Sunday, 5th Apr 2020 11:10

As I said in the first part April 5th seems to have more games than most played on this day, here is the second part of the look back as we head into the last 25 years.

Saints and Nottingham Forest were both battling relegation going into this game, Saints knew if they lost then they were as good as down, they started the day rock bottom with 27 points from 31 games.

12 Blackburn Rovers 31 8 12 11 33 32 1 36
13 Everton 31 9 9 13 37 45 -8 36
14 Derby County 31 8 11 12 35 47 -12 35
15 West Ham Utd 31 8 9 14 31 41 -10 33
16 Sunderland 32 8 9 15 29 48 -19 33
17 Middlesbrough 31 9 8 14 44 52 -8 32
18 Nott/ham Forest 33 6 13 14 28 49 -21 31
19 Coventry City 32 6 12 14 27 46 -19 30
20 Southampton 31 6 9 16 39 51 -12 27

As you can see from the table above if we had lost our position would be desperate, the game started well for us Jim Magilton scoring after only 7 minutes, this gave Saints confidence and drained that in the home side, we had the fire inside us and the desire to get the job done and we were comfortable as the game went into the final 5 minutes when Micky Evans seemed to put the game out of Forest's reach, but in the 89th minute they had a lifeline when Stuart Pearce scored a penalty.

This might have panicked us but all it did was spur us on and Evans scored again to make it 3-1, the Saints revival was on but it would be close.

1998/99 was a season that saw us achieve the Great Escape although looking back at the final table it doesn't look close, but on 5th April it was desperate when what was reported as "a careless lapse of concentration" cost us dearly for the only goal of the game.

With an FA Cup semi final only 8 days away this was always going to be a calm before the storm game when West Ham arrived at St Mary's, James Beattie scored on the stroke of half time and Defoe equalised in the 83rd minute, I can't remember a thing about this game, but I can recall the semi final a week later like it was yesterday.

2007/08 was the season when we first started to notice that the wheels had come off the bus, after the heartbreak of losing the play off semi final in 06/07 we thought this would be another season of challenging for a return to the Premier League, it soon became clear that all things were not well at St Mary's, MIchael Wilde had gambled all on a return to the top flight and spent money that he or the club did not have, now we were paying the price and when Bristol City arrived we had won just once in 15 league games and were 3rd from bottom and they were top of the table. it didn't look good.

But we caused a shock, ironically it was Stern John and Jason Euell who scored the two goals that gave us victory, ironic because they were the two players whose wages were pushing the club towards bankruptcy, they weren't bad players, they were just being paid a lot more than their true worth.

in 2009/10 things were looking up as Markus Liebherr rescued the club, but our first season back in the third tier of English football for 50 years saw us with a 10 point deduction, with 8 games there was a slight hope that we might be able to sneak into the final promotion spot, Leyton Orient arrived at St Mary's on Easter Monday, but it wasn't a bumper crowd only 21,559 turned up, we won 2-1, two goals from Adam Lallana cancelling out a goal in the 2nd minute that gave the visitors the lead.

A year later and a lot had changed and after early season turmoil we were chasing down the top 2, an FA Cup run had left us behind on games though and a midweek home fixture against Charlton Athletic was one of those, we started the day in 3rd place, 5 points behind Huddersfield but with 3 games in hand, we had to win this game, anything else might leave it a little too tight.

For those that look back at the past with rose tinted spectacles it should be noted that only 20,112 attended this game, less than had seen us play Orient a year earlier in what was a nothing game, a month later would see 11,000 more in the ground to see us clinch promotion, but a large section of the support seemingly had other things to do at this time.

It would be a comfortable 2-0 win with goals from Guly & Lee Barnard seeing us home, it would now go right to the wire, but we were up for the task.

Photo: Action Images

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