On This Day In History - 28th April A Day For Vital Games 2018 Safety Still In Sight
Tuesday, 28th Apr 2020 14:30
Two years ago on the morning of 28th April we looked dead and buried in the relegation battle, Bournemouth arrived at St Mary's hoping to shovel more earth in the grave, but we still only had one foot in it and not our entire body.
It did not make good reading if you scanned the Premier League table on the morning of 28th April 2018, with 4 games left we were still 4 points behind Swansea City sitting 4th from bottom and 6 points behind West Ham , Palace and Huddersfield, this would be a crucial day and we could be all but relegated by the end of it.
The visiting Bournemouth fans were in good voice pre match singing about sending the Scummers down, this was their chance to try and experience a local derby, something they have never really had, but we didn't care about them, only about getting three points.
In five attempts Mark Hughes had yet to steer Saints to victory in the Premier League and we were now truly in freefall, in his 5 games before he had been sacked Mauricio Pellegrino had notched up 5 points to keep our heads above water, Hughes had managed just a single point with the only good news being that had been at Leicester in the previous league game.
But we seemed to have found a new spirit in the team, like relegation battles of the 1990's suddenly a good team poorly managed made it's own motivation and this proved to be the case, the Cherries had the bulk of the possession but we were getting more opportunities and on 25 minutes Dusan Tadic opened the scoring firing home from 15 yards.
But just as we thought we were getting into the break in the lead we shot ourselves in the foot again, we left a man totally unmarked at the far post from a corner and he equalised, Mark Hughes was understandably livid, these lapses of concentration had haunted us all season and indeed continue to do so. This was their first chance on target.
But we came out again for the second half full of determination again, the lead was restored on 54 minutes when a Bournemouth defender tried to chest down the ball and let it run ahead of him, in nipped Tadic again and we were back in front.
The last half hour saw Bournemouth push forward and play like their lives depended on it, but the Saints fans were up for it as well and showed the club from across the New Forest what support is about, it isn't manufactured as they try to make out we are their rivals, it isn't built over night, it is a solid thing over 125 years old and about pride in the City as well as the team.
Saints fans just refused to let their team be overwhelmed and spurred them on to throw everything in the way of the visitors onslaught as nerves jangled.
But it still took a superb save from Alex McCarthy right at the death to save the match and ultimately Saints Premier League status.
Bournemouth fans slinked home after seeing what proper support is all about, whilst Saints fans headed to the pub not only to celebrate but cheer on Chelsea in the 5.30 game who were at Swansea and scored in the 4th minute but not again to jangle Saints nerves a second time, but they hung on and we were now just a point behind Swansea with 3 games left and one of them was down in Wales.
Photo: Action Images
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