Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Four games, fifteen goals - what have Saints been up to?

Apologies for the lack of action on these pages of late - I realise I have ignored a glut of Saints action. Before a quick catch-up, however, just a word to the wise for those who think that supporting Saints is tough. Having been taken to a Bradford game by a season ticket-holding friend on Saturday, I have a new empathy for those supporting other clubs who have had a tough few years.

Administration, relegation, player unrest - we haven't had the easiest time. But compare that to Bradford - who have had three demotions since their halcyon Premiership days in 2001 - and we can't complain. At least we now seem on the up; it is quite the opposite for the Bantams, languishing in League 2 nowhere land with a third of the season gone. Their stoppage time heartbreak against Accrington Stanley on Saturday - a disallowed goal, missed penalty and hit post - summed it up.

Us Saints fans, on the other hand, can look ahead with confidence after our revival under Pardew this year, with recent results taking us to a point from safety and the verge of a Wembley appearance.

Saints 2 - Charlton 1 (JP Trophy)

St Marys was again in fine voice for this midweek cup tie, as goals from Wayne Thomas and Ricky Lambert took Saints to the JP Trophy area semis - and to within three good results of a cup final. We may not be there yet but a potential day out at Wembley and even silverware - the third tier may not be so bad after all.

Saints 1 - Brighton 3

There are three potential factors to explain Saints' off-day the following Monday against local rivals Brighton. Cup success may have gone to their heads and forced them off the boil. The arrival of Brighton's new manager Gus would certainly have had an impact. More likely, however, it was Saints' annoying habit of losing on TV that led to their first defeat since October.

Saints 2 - Norwich 2

A return to form in their last home game saw two brilliant Saints goals secure a point against the Canaries. An Adam Lallana strike in the first half was added to by a David Connelly wonder goal in the second, but both of which were levelled after poor defending. Pardew was left frustrated his side could not get a third in a game they deserved to win, although satisfied by the quality of a pulsating game which he labelled "worthy of a higher level."

Hartlepool 1 - Saints 3

Perhaps the most important result of the lot came tonight as Saints made the long trip north. Hartlepool are making a good fist of things this season, but that did not stop a brace from goal machine Adam Lallana seeing off the north-easterners, Ricky Lambert getting the vital third.
The result leaves Saints a point from safety and poised to continue their long climb up the league. Cup wins aside, November looks unlikely to replicate the golden success of October, but if Saints can continue to get results and keep moving up play-offs remain a possibility. And that, believe it or not, would top an appearance in the Johnstone's Paint Final.

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