Saints' slim survival hopes took a further massive hit tonight, as Mark Wotte's side crashed to yet another woeful home defeat against Sheffield United. Coming on the back of an average point against Swansea at the weekend, Saints fans, who have suffered long this season, were offered no sign of the end in sight on another horrible night at St Mary's.
Saints 2 - Swansea 2
Saints 1 - Sheffield Utd 2
Having played a game more than their rivals, Saints now lie three points adrift of safety. Andrew Surman's ninetieth minute leveller offered hope, but a lame Saints outfit could not even hang on for a point, with Jamie Ward punishing an exposed back line in stoppage time. Again, the side lacked width and penetration and could not capitalise upon the first-half dismissal of Darius Henderson to secure their second home win of the season. Whether that will ever be secured is now a matter for serious debate, as "home advantage" has only applied to Saints in oxymoronic terms this season.
The appointment of Mark Wotte looks more misguided than ever and, unless he can pull off what would now certainly constitute a miracle, the pain looks likely to continue down into League 1 and financial oblivion. It is a wonder that supporting the same club can provoke such contrasts of joy and misery within just the space of a few years. Another record-low league crowd attendence - which cannot be blamed upon the snow - again demonstrated how fans have lost faith in the side. As Rupert Lowe prepares to take the club to their second relegation in four years - and the previous regime is far from blameless - he must be wondering whether football is really worth it. It is a thought he would have in common with thousands of Saints fans tonight.
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