"What if?" was the prevailing sentiment around St. Marys this evening, as Saints were held to a costly draw by a run-of-the-mill Derby side
Saints 1 - Derby 1
Still far from safe, Saints entered their tenth-from-last game of the season knowing that nothing other than three points would be enough. Saints fans' hopes may have been artifically inflated by their recent wins but with time running out, tonight was an ideal opportunity to push on. However, in a tightly contested game Saints could not deliver the performance required, providing a result which piles on the pressure for Saturday's fixture against QPR. There is still hope, but a similar failure then really would send Saints into the wilderness.
Saints goal - which came, luckily, via a Derby defender - raised hope of an undeserved win, but the visitors were able to level minutes from time. They remain in touching distance of their rivals, and still have a game in hand, but tonight's was not a game to inspire confidence. The most worrying thing, in view of the fact that a win - however undeserved - would have lifted them marginally away from the trouble, was the nature of the performance. The lack of flair and passion displayed in such an important game explains the boos that came at the final whistle and the deep sense of frustration that rancours amongst Saints fans tonight.
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