On This Day In History - 28th April A Day For Vital Games Promotion Secured 2012
Tuesday, 28th Apr 2020 11:30
Fast forward to 2012 and it was the last day of the season at St Mary's and the big time was about to return to Southampton FC if we kept our heads and beat Coventry City.
It was tight at the top of the Championship as the last day of the regular season dawned, Reading were up, but the 2nd automatic promotion spot was not yet decided, we had a 2 point advantage over West Ham, but our goal difference was only 3 better than the Hammers, meaning that if we lost and they won, then it could get tight and even come down to goals scored.
They were at home to Hull City who were mid table with nothing to play for and we hosted Coventry who were already relegated to League One
All the stops were pulled out to fit as many Saints fans into this game as possible and this meant that this would be the record attendance for St Mary's, Coventry did not have their full contingent and the segregation netting was reduced to the bare minimum meaning 32, 363 were present.
The nerves in around 31,500 of the crowd were jangling as the game kicked off, it needed something to calm those nerves early doors and who else but Billy Sharp on 16 minutes, he had been the hero of the end of season promotion push and supplied the goals as other floundered a little, it is a disgrace that this would be the last League match he would start for Saints and that back in the Premier League he would be forced out after playing only 14 minutes off the bench in the 2nd game, perhaps if his replacement had not been Emmanuel Mayuka it could have been excused, Sharp has scored goals in the 8 years since his departure and finally made it to the Premier League this season where he scored more goals on the opening day than Mayuka did for Saints ie 1.
If that goal settled the nerves then 3 minutes later we were starting to relax after Jose Fonte scored a second to put us in the driving seat and now controlling the game we were not so desperate to score.
Shortly after the break Jos Hooiveld made it 3-0 and when on 63 minutes Adam Lallana scored to make it 4-0 and the news from Upton Park coming through they were only winning 2-0 the celebrations started to begin.
In the final 10 minutes as the Hull consolation goal at West ham confirmed there would be no landslide there and the clock ticked down on a miraculous Coventry comeback even the most superstitious in the crowd accepted that we were heading back to the Premier League.
The final whistle prompted a massive pitch invasion and Rickie Lambert and others were chaired off the pitch and took the applause from the directors box as the fans partied in the stadium and then long into the night in the pubs.
Photo: Action Images
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