Nigel Pearson’s first full saints game at St.Mary’s saw him take on one of Burley’s former sides, Ipswich Town.
He has certainly stamped his authority on the side. Naming players which had been frozen out under Burley such as Mario Licka. Youngstar Cedric Baseya and David McGoldrick was on the bench. There was on place in the 16 for Bradley Wright-Phillips and Andrew Surman was out injured.
Saints started the game with belief and where by the far the better side in the contest. Mario Licka was causing havok down the left flank, Vignal was overlapping well and offered saints width.
From a Bywater punch Idiakez almost scored with a delightful chip, which beat the keeper and unfortunatley cleared the bar.
Marek Saganowski felt he should have had a penalty on 15 minutes, when he felt he was fouled by Harding in the goal mouth. The fans and the Northam Stand and players lead the appeal but the ref said no penalty.
Saganowski had a shot deflected behind for a corner but Licka’s kick was too high for Stern John at the back post.
Saints were probing, Licka was dropping into pockets and was linking up with Vignal really well, whilst Andrew Davies was looking solid at the back yet again!
The first real save was from Saints Keeper Kelvin Davis. A 20 yard shot from Sumolikoski forced the Saints Stopper to get down and make the save.
Just before half time Stern John turned and took a shot, which seemed to deflect off Marek Saganowski.
HALF TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 0-0 IPSWICH
6 Minutes into the second half Saints got the break they so badly needed, Viafara played it infield to Stern John who was in the area he was tackled and almost pulled to the floor but somehow managed to stay on his feet, STERN JOHN picked stayed on his feet to smash the ball into the back of the net to send St.Mary’s crazy!
But the joy was short lived, 4 minutes after Saints took the lead some brilliant individual skill from David Norris drew Town level. Although a good goal, cutting in and chipping over the defender before slotting into the net. The attack should have been prevented on the half-way line. Nevertheless, it was a well taken goal from the former Argyle man.
Saganowski was replaced on 66 minutes of David McGoldrick.
The next majot chance came when Licka chipped into the box to give John a free header which he couldn’t keep down. The ball went just over the bar, but in truth he should have done better.
Shortly after McGoldrick met Viafara’s cross and stole a yard on the defender, he’s shot beat the keeper and hit the sidenetting.
Idiakez let fly from 25 yards but his shot forced a top save from ‘Boo Boy Bywater’. From the corner the ball was cleared to Idiakez again who had a shot from almost the same position, this time it flew just wide of the post.
Viafara got himself into a shooting space on the corner of the box which ended up in the crowd.
Idiakez had a free-kick come off the wall and behind for a corner.
Then the board went up and signalled 3 minutes of stoppage time which both teams played out.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 IPSWICH TOWN.
On the whole Saints supporters will be pleased, the side showed Passion and belief, and the fans backed them till the death. Nigel Pearson was unable to give a post match interview because he had lost his voice. He was ferocious and passionate in the dug-out.
Kelvin Davis 7
Had a couple of saves to make against his former club.
Jermaine Wright 7
Had a steady game at right-back.
Andrew Davies 8
Forver a rock at the heart of the Saints defence.
Wayne Thomas 7
Only played because Pearce was out injured. Had a steady game but still not as good as what we expected.
Gregory Vignal 8
Linked up well with Licka and offered something saints haven’t had at Left-back since Bale left.
Jhon Viafara 6
His recent performances haven’t reflected his potential.
Youssef Safri 7
Another good performance from Youssef as he supported the play.
Inigo Idiakez 8
Was superb throughout, lets hope he can stay fit.
Mario Licka 9
Making his first senior start in over a year. He showed why is so rated amongst some supporters who has seen him playing in the reserves. Burley froze him out of the side for ages. But his hardwork and commitment has paid off.
Marek Saganowski 7
Was foiled by the offside trap on many occasions. He runs were timed perfectly but the linesman still put up his flag.
Stern John 7
Not a great performance by the Trinidadian but he still got Saints off the mark for the month.
David McGoldrick 6
Replaced Marek Saganowski on 66 minutes.
He looked sharp but not capeable of making runs behind the Town defence.
Came on for the last kick of the game. Replacing Stern John. Nice to see him get on the pitch as a first teamer after good performances for the reserves and youth teams. He will be a real asset and many have touted him as the next big thing down on here at Southampton.