Saints ended the season in style at St. Marys this afternoon, coming from behind to secure a comfortable win over already-condemned Southend. Post-match comments made by manager Alan Pardew, however, raised the prospect of an uncertain few weeks ahead for the club.
Saints 3 - 1 Southend
Despite the blistering run of form that followed their JPT success - which means Saints would have made the play-offs and been just three points from an automatic promotion place were it not for the points deduction - Chairman Nicola Cortese has maintained an ominous silence on his manager's future in recent weeks. Despite a season widely regarded as successful, Cortese is understood to be unhappy at the balance of results since over three million pounds was spent on the squad in January - and if that is not the case, he has not said anything to alter that impression.
Pardew's comments after the win effectively threw down the gauntlet to Cortese to come out and back him in public. He seems keen to stay at Saints despite reports of interest from a higher level, but his patience will surely be tested if he continues to have to work in an environment he may not feel is supportive. Today's win was certainly useful in demonstrating that only the points penalty stood between Saints and greater success this season.
The win was also important as it secured a couple of impressive goal landmarks for Saints players. After falling behind in the second half, a Rickie Lambert brace - taking his League tally to a colossal thirty for the season - won the game before a third was added by Adam Lallana minutes from time - his twentieth from midfield this season.
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