Date: 9th May 2018 at 4:43pm
Written by:

Writer: KRAZYB

Southampton travelled to Swansea last night with more than a little trepidation. A last minute equaliser by Everton in dubious circumstances could have caused a massive loss of the confidence that recent performances had given the players.

With the loss of Mario Lemina after he felt a tightening of his hamstring in the first half of the Everton game and the subsequent loss of Maya Yoshida after he was sent off in the same match for two yellow cards, the build-up to this one was already less than perfect.

Then, just to add insult to literal injury, we had the fiasco of the Marriott Hotel cancelling the teams booking before they travelled. Quickly sorted, and it caused no undue stress.

The Swansea stewards acting like little Hitlers though and attempting to try to stop the Southampton team arriving at the Liberty Stadium before the Swansea team had was another bone of contention. Mark Hughes ignored them and led the players and staff on foot the short walk to the ground.

Just another stupid annoyance so petty and unnecessary. If anything it would have added to the determination of the team to take the three points available back to Southampton.

After a tense first half which saw Southampton have the best scoring chances, the opportunity of seeing a goal fest seemed unlikely. Charlie Austin was the main threat but he failed to offer a real threat to the Swansea goal.

Swansea had worked hard during the first 45 minutes and pressed Saints at points without really threatening. Saints had shown more quality in their sweeping movements, occasionally opening the Swansea defence up. The fact that Saints had had a problem scoring throughout this season was evident once more as we strove to get the opening goal.

The start of the second half saw Ayew cut in from the left and let fly with a superb strike that seemed to be heading for the top left corner of the goal. Alex McCarthy again showed his worth by flying across the goal to get a hand to the ball and tip it over the bar.

McCarthy was commanding his goal area and often came out to some dangerous crosses to clear the concern. This helped add some confidence to our weakened defence.

Shortly after, Redmond was substituted and replaced by Long. Jan Bednarek received a head injury and was subbed by Manolo Gabbiadini. A brave move from Southampton manager Mark Hughes and how well it worked out.

The 72nd minute saw a corner sent deep into the Swansea box and that was headed back towards Austin who volleyed it goalwards. It was blocked and reacting first to the loose ball, Gabbiadini hit it home with the help of a deflection.

Saints led and the final change was made when Dusan Tadic was replaced by Sam McQueen as Hughes tried to shore up the defence. Swansea pressed but Saints held firm and also made a few sorties that threatened a second goal for us.

The final whistle was blown and we had the much needed, valuable, victory earning three tremendously important points. Closer to safety and only a calamitous last day could see us relegated.

It is possible but Saints have a ten goal advantage for Swansea to overcome if they are to overtake us.

In my eyes the transformation in how our team is playing now against how they were under Pellegrino is astounding. This team now plays like a team, and above all like one that cares.

I think we are safe.

 

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