Though Saints' season has been characterised by ups and downs, certain patterns and performance traits have held constant, as their last three matches have shown. While Sunday's Wembley win demonstrated their ability to perform under pressurised cup conditions, Thursday's draw at Brighton again highlighted their vulnerabilty away from home. And though Saints again conceded an early goal in today's game against the newly managerless Leyton Orient, Alan Pardew's side built on their impressive home form this season by coming from behind and getting the result at St Marys.
Saints 2 - 1 Leyton Orient
Just eight points now separate Saints from sixth place Huddersfield Town and Colchester, over whom they have a game in hand. They will need to improve significantly on this performance, however, if they are to win all their remaining games, which will surely be required if they are to have any chance of snatching sixth spot. A goal in either half from Adam Lallana was required to see off the O's on their first match back at St Marys following their cup final appearance. The first, a beautifully crafted goal curved in from just outside the area, drew Saints level minutes before half time after poor defending had let the visitors take an early lead.
The Northam End was in exuberant mood, and needed to be in the face of a sluggish Saints performance, in which only the individual brilliance of Adam Lallana shined through. His second half header was his eighteenth goal of the season, an amazing statistic that could see Championship sides testing the Southampton-born player's often-professed loyalty in the summer. Pardew paid testament to his star player, but also his side's achievement in grinding out an important win despite a poor display.
Next match: Saints v Charlton (Saturday 10 April)
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