• Bailey 45′ • Zemmama 77′
• Sharp 1'
Saturday, 21st April 2012
Match Report :
Saints just cannot do it the easy way, can they?
The team knew they just had to win one of their last two games and it wouldn't matter what West Ham did. The first bite of the promotion cherry came at Middlesbrough and there were about three thousand Saints fans in party mood at The Riverside Stadium to cheer the side on.
The 'Boro team also still had something to play for, knowing that they needed to win to keep in with a chance of the playoffs.
Within the first few seconds of the kickoff Lallana had picked out Rickie Lambert in the Middlesbrough penalty area and he passed sideways to an unmarked Billy Sharp to tuck the ball away. At that point I really thought that this was going to be Saints day.
Oh no. It's never ever going to be as easy as that.
That goal, although unexpected, was a cracker and they made it look so easy. It must have come as a hell of a shock to the few Middlesbrough fans that had bothered to turn up, given that most commentators had already written off their chances of the playoffs.
Gradually 'Boro played their way back into the game fashioning several chances. They got their reward right on the stroke of half time when Bailey latched onto a clearance from Hooiveld and his shot hit Chaplow on it's way past Davis.
So, the teams went in at half time level at 1-1.
I have no idea what was said in the dressing room, but Saints came out really fired up and took complete control of the game.
Ten minutes into the half Lallana went straight for goal, but was hacked down by Hines, who had already been booked. At the very least this was a yellow card offence and could be argued that it should have been a straight red. The referee, Mr.Bates instead waved Hines away and just awarded a free kick. There was a clear sense of complete disbelief amongst the Saints players and I think that this sense of injustice affected them for most of the rest of the half. Rather predictably the free kick came to nothing.
'Boro then came right back into the game again. With just over ten minutes left Fonte gave away a silly free kick, right in front of the Saints penalty area. Zemmama took the kick and curled an unstoppable shot past Davis.
Somehow the final moments of the game drifted past, without the 'Boro goal ever being under serious threat. So, Saints have it all to do on the final day of the season, next Saturday, at home to Coventry.
Unless of course West Ham slip up against Leicester on Monday night…..
Attendance : 19,002
02 Hoyte (Bennett - 40' )
15 Hines Booked
05 Zemmama Booked
10 Bailey Booked
17 Robson (Williams - 59' )
07 McDonald (Main - 59' )
06 Fonte Booked
12 Butterfield (Schneiderlin - 84' )
18 Chaplow (Guly - 61' )