Sunday, 18 April 2010

Yeovil Town 0 - 1 Saints

Even if Saints fail to reach the play-offs this season, as seems likely after Huddersfield Town's win on Friday night, no one can fault their determination to make it happen, which was again demonstrated as the side managed to grind out a fourth straight win away to Yeovil yesterday.

Yeovil Town 0 - 1 Saints

After a red-blooded encounter at Huish Park, in which Morgan Schneiderlin was red-carded for the second time this season and assistant manager Dean Wilkins was sent to the stands, Pardew praised his side's spirit for 'seeing us home.' The two thousand travelling Saints fans, perhaps in possession of unrealistic expectations after Tuesday night's trouncing of Bristol Rovers, had to wait until three minutes into stoppage time for Lee Barnard to head home from Papa Waigo's cross.The decisive moment had been preceded by a scrappy game, which had seen the hosts grow in confidence after a strong Saints start went unrewarded. Both sides had clear one-on-one chances in an open first half, but, as Saints grew frustrated, chances for Yeovil multiplied in the second. Saints' frustration was encapsulated by Schneiderlin's dismissal twenty-one minutes from time for a petulant bout of afters. Knowing only a win was enough to keep the fading play-off dream alive, Pardew, who had already replaced Antonio with Lee Barnard at half time, threw caution to the wind with ten minutes remaining, sending on Papa Waigo and David Connolly to leave four strikers on the field.

A game which finishes with Ricky Lambert in centre midfield and Papa Waigo at right back is always going to be remembered as an unusual one, and Saints were left brutally exposed as they risked all for the winner. But Yeovil, despite some fine counter-attacking play, were unable to capitalise on a couple of four-on-three opportunities in the final moments, and were left to rue their inability to finish as Lee Barnard pounced in front of the jubilant Saints faithful.
Though not the most deserved of Saints wins, it keeps them in the hunt with four games to go. Winning their game in hand at home to Oldham on Tuesday night would close the gap to five with three to play. Like the Premier League title race this year, this one looks set to go to the wire.

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