The good times returned to St Mary’s last night as another record-low crowd roared Saints onto their first home win of the season. It has been a long time coming, but consecutive wins have seen Saints shoot up the table to a position of mid-table security.
Saints 2 - Norwich 0 (Robertson, McGoldrick)
There were many strange moments last night, not least when the announcer felt the need to quote a Blur lyric in front of 15,000 people ("Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as Parklife") during the half-time shootout. Stranger still were many of the referee's decisions in an exciting match which saw both sides miss a bundle of simple chances. But both decisions and missed chances seemed to even out in the end as Saints were able to preserve their third clean sheet in four league outings, largely thanks to the outstanding efforts of Kelvin Davies between the sticks.
It would be unfair on Saints to give their 'keeper all the credit. But after dominating the first ten minutes and McGoldick hitting the post, Norwich seemed to be in the ascendancy. Saints were run ragged as Norwich piled the pressure on their inexperienced full-backs Joseph Mills and Lloyd James and a goal seemed inevitable. And, what a goal. During a rare foray into the Norwich half new loan signing Jordan Robertson received the ball in space outside the penalty area and delivered a cool, curling strike that looped beyond the diving 'keeper's reach to nestle in the top-right corner. What a debut goal. It was totally against the run of play, but Saints have been due some luck this season and the side was able to see the lead out to half time without too many nervy moments.
(Debut goalscorer, Jordan Robertson, on loan from Sheffield Utd. Nathan Dyer has gone in the opposite direction. Pic: Daily Echo)
The exciting, end-to-end football continued in the second half, with both sides going close before the moment that changed the match. The ever-dynamic Adam Lallana was brought down by Dejan Stevanovic just inside the area and the referee instantly pointed to the spot and brandished the ex-Skate with a straight red card. Glenn Roeder was left incensed on the touchline as his departing centre-half was treated to a special performance of "You Skate B******!" from the St Mary’s choir. David McGoldrick put the faithful's minds at rest as he coolly despatched the penalty. Both sides continued to go close in a frenzied St Mary’s atmosphere, but nothing was going to take the glass off this important victory and for all Norwich's missed chances, Saints could have easily had a couple more.
St Marys erupted at the final whistle after a truly moral-boosting night. With any luck, Saints can continue to push on up the table and put any relegation worries behind them. However, this is still going to be a long season with many twists and turns. Confidence is truly the key for this young side and consecutive league wins will have restored much of it. Maybe that stadium announcer had a point after all.
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