Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saints preserve us

Newcastle Utd 4 - 2 Southampton

After our excellent victory against Metallist on Thursday, the challenge for our rejuvenated side was whether we could finally follow up a Europa League match with a home win. For the Silver Fox there was an additional incentive to push for a win, with his record against former employers this season decidedly poor.

To aid our quest, the Silver Fox made seven changes to Thursday's starting XI, with Rob Elliot taking over from the injured Tim Krul in goal, and Mathieu Debuchy and Goofy restored to the starting line-up alongside Saylor, Spidermag, Davide Santon and fit-again Mr T.

It was Elliot though who was first to feature, picking the ball from the net after only three minutes of his Premier League debut, as Morgan Schneiderlin was allowed to drift into the box and then turn on a loose ball to fire home with Saylor too far away after Mr T had failed to track his initial movement. Not the Frenchman we'd hoped would be first scorer on French Day.

Thankfully, though, despite conceding the early goal, we're now made of sterner stuff and sure enough we forced our way back into the game as we came to terms with the Saints' pressing game by utilising Dreamboat's vision and range of passing to find Moussa Sissoko and Goofy down the channels. With Debuchy marauding down the right to good effect, our first chance to draw level went to Goofy, whose slightly miscued shot fell to Papiss Cisse, only for the ball to just run away from his swinging foot and slice wide.

It was Goofy who featured again minutes later when he latched on to Dreamboat's diagonal pass, before driving at the full back and shooting low. The ball pinged back off 'keeper Artur Boruc's leg straight into the path of the onrushing Sissoko, who tucked home the loose ball from inside the six-yard box. With minutes left in the first half, Elliot fired a long free-kick forward, Spidermag did well to hold off his marker but missed the ball, and it fell to Cisse who swung a leg and smashed a powerful dipping volley over Boruc and into the net for a truly stunning goal.

With Sideshow Bob departing at half-time, nursing a back injury doubtless exacerbated by a first-half bicycle kick when attempting to clear his lines shortly before Cisse's strike, the Silver Fox brought on MYM. Our new centre-half was quickly into the action, conceding a free-kick for a high foot. From the resultant free-kick Rob Elliot did well to fling himself across and turn Rickie Lambert's shot round the post. Moments later, though, the Saints broke down our left, with Davide Santon upfield and Lallana's cross was smartly finished by Lambert to bring the visitors level.

With Lambert spurning a further chance, the game was very much in the balance. Thankfully, though, we were the next to land a telling blow, with Dreamboat's diagonal freekick met full on the volley by Debuchy and his first-time cross blocked by the hand of substitute Daniel Fox, leaving Chris Foy no option but to award a penalty. With Big Lad on the bench, the responsibility fell to Dreamboat and the part-time Journal editor made no mistake, sending Boruc the wrong way as he stroked the ball home to restore our advantage.

Fox's afternoon was to get worse, as his attempted clearance from a good Santon left-footed cross ricocheted straight off his defensive partner Jos Hooiveld and into the Gallowgate net.

The result saw us climb above both Southampton and 5under1and up to the heady heights of 14th on 30 points (six points clear of the drop).

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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