Sunday, 28 December 2008

Respectable point does little to ease relegation fears

A series of four defeats has finally taken its effect on Saints' league position, with Jan's side plunging into the relegation zone today. Ironically the descent came on a (rare) good day for Saints, as they battled well to a 1-1 draw at home to league leaders Reading. However, victories for Doncaster and Forest saw them leap above Saints.

Plymouth 2 - Saints 0
Saints 1 - Reading 1

Today's hard fought point at home to Reading came on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Plymouth on Boxing Day. That was Saints' fourth successive loss, piling the pressure on Jan Poortvliet and those who appointed him. Despite beating Reading a month a go, few expected anything from this game given Saints' home record this season. However, though the Head Coach may have been slightly bendy with the truth when he said he would have chosen to play Reading today, it is true that Saints' brand of passing football is more effective against clubs who play in a similar fashion. That most other such teams, such as Reading, achieve success with it, is the problem for Jan as he looks to steer Saints away from relegation. David McGoldrick's second half goal looked like the winner until trademark poor Saints defending saw them squander the lead. However, it was a good point, and a hell of a lot better than a fifth straight defeat.

Few other sides will take four points from Steve Coppell's side this season, but that will count for little in the final reckoning if Saints cannot reverse their horrific records at home and against lesser teams. The New Year will herald little new hope for Saints' fans given their side's league position and the complete absence of potential to strengthen the squad. However, achieving such a result today (and at home!) is slight cause for optimism.

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