Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Saints share spoils

Newcastle Utd 1 - 1 Southampton

The Silver Fox recently marked three years in charge at St James' Park and this game saw him presented with a reunion of sorts, facing his old team including several of his old players. At the end, it was honours even, with one goal apiece and one member of each side's coaching staff in the stands.

With Dreamboat serving a one-match ban following his fifth yellow card of the season, Mr T was partnered by Vurnon Anita in central midfield, with Moussa Sissoko and Goofy down the flanks, supporting Loic Remy and Big Lad up front.

It was Newcastle who started the brighter, getting at the visitors, who struggled to impose their game and finding Mr T and Mini V on form. With Dreamboat missing, it was another Frenchman who sparked the game into life when Goofy latched onto Jos Hooiveld's miss before using quick feet to keep the ball from the flailing arms of visiting 'keeper Paulo Gazzaniga before tucking the ball into the Gallowgate net.

With Remy missing a good opportunity to add a second, when his shot was cleared off the line by Luke Chambers, we couldn't compound our advantage and went in with only a slender lead at the break.

While the Silver Fox opted to stick with the same team in the second half, his opposite number made a double substitution which saw current flavour of the month Adam Lallana brought off the bench.

As a consequence of his introduction, the visitors started to force their way back into the game. First, Steven Davis smashed the ball against the left-hand post, before a neat break saw the Saints spring the offside trap and Jay Rodriguez was left with a simple finish past Tim Krul.

Back came Newcastle who created a great chance for Remy, only to see our loan star fire wide when through on goal and despite the introduction of HBA we were unable to create any further chances of note.

With minutes to go, an accidental collision between Sissoko's hand and referee Mike Jones' face left the whistle-blower on the deck, thankfully with no repercussions for our powerful Frenchman. However, the delay in play allowed enough time for Morgan Schneiderlin to catch substitute Massadio Haidara with a heavy foul. Given Haidara's injury history, it was perhaps no surprise that the Newcastle bench were up in arms and there was a disagreement between the two benches which saw both teams' goalkeeping coaches sent to the stands.

Frustratingly for us, that was the last moment of note in the game, with no winner forthcoming. However, on the balance of the game a point was a fair result for both teams which sees us well placed as Christmas approaches.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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