Thursday, 20 November 2008

Home Defeats leave Saints a point off drop-zone

Consecutive home league defeats against Preston and Wolves have landed Saints back in the relegation mire ahead of their trip to Reading today.

Saints 0 - Preston 1
Saints 1 - Wolves 2

Given Saints' form on Sky this year, they were hamstrung from the start of their televised match against Preston. And that disappointing result was followed by defeat at the hands of promotion-chasing Wolves on Saturday. Two easy first half goals were enough to secure victory for the visitors, their men allowed to float into the box unmarked on both occassions. Despite hitting the post in the second half, Saints never looked like getting anything from the game, especially after the dismissal of Jason Euell.

Points are going to be hard to come by during a tough set of fixtures during December and many pundits are predicting Saints to be firmly stuck in the relegation zone come the start of the year. After a brace of poor results a tough trip to promotion-chasing Reading awaits Jan's boys today, and the Dutch Head Coach will have to pull off a few tactical changes if Saints are to get anything from the game.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Saints' escape drop zone after Deepdale comeback

Following the disappointment at Swansea last weekend, four points from two games this week have seen Saints clamber out of the relegation zone. The points, as usual, were secured in a characteristically unpredictable fashion. A one-goal lead at home to Coventry was squandered in midweek, before a heroic fightback against Preston yesterday saw Saints claim the three points at Deepdale.

Saints 1 - Coventry 1
Preston NE 2 - Saints 3

After a sequence of poor results, another record-low crowd at St Mary's witnessed Tuesday night's encounter with Coventry. And the course taken by the night proved all too familiar as a dominant Saints side failed to convert their possession into chances. There were plenty of scares for the team too, with the inexperienced defence again grateful to the heroics of Kelvin Davies between the sticks. However, Saints hopes were lifted in the second half as David McGoldrick coolly slotted home an opener. But the night quickly resorted to type, with Kamikaze defending allowing Coventry through for an equaliser, leading to a final score which will have done little to restore future attendances at the Mecca.

Perhaps Saints should play all their fixtures away from home, for it is around the country that they have accumulated the bulk of their points tally this season. The fact that St Marys is proving to be a fortress for no one but themselves at the moment was again demonstrated on Saturday, with the side coming from two goals behind to win at Preston. In a game that seemed to be following a familiar pattern, Saints came in two goals behind at the break. From then, however, it proved a different story. Jan Poortvliet's introduction of Bradley Wright-Phillips and debutant Oscar Gobern lit the blue touch paper for a dominant second half performance by Saints. Fellow debutant Alex Pearce kicked things off, heading in from a corner on 64 minutes (how rare have goals from corners been for Saints this season?) and Surman struck the equaliser four minutes later after work from BWP and Gobern. The team waited until stoppage time to conclude the triumphant fightback, McGoldick converting after beating two defenders.

Although this has been a season of false dawns, the scale of this comeback should inject the side with some confidence and hopefully they can kick on from here. If Saints start producing such heroics at home we will be alright this season. We should all hope so- and here's to an unbeaten November.

Which team will fill the third relegation spot?

Four games left. Will Saints survive?

Would you be in favour of a return for Rupert?