Southampton 2 Liverpool 0 - I should have gone to Cardiff

Posted by Sparrow5 on March 16, 2004, 08:33:25 PM

A 4pm kick off for Sky. A joke, is all I can say. This game is never going to be a classic, no matter what. But the Sky cameras must be excited about today because new Saints boss Paul Sturrock takes over.

This is his first game. Which generally means a goal start for Southampton. New man, home crowd atmospheric, they will have their goal lead, no doubt. On the coach down, we get lost. We have been heading on the wrong motorway for an hour without realising it, and we are heading towards Cardiff.

We wish.

Eventually we turn ourselves round and get down to the south coast (for the third time this season) for about half two. Straight off we head in the ground and dad's mate Mike inexpicably puts £2 on Carragher for first goal. I opt for the generously priced 10/1 on Kewell. A good bet. I then find out Kewell is on the bench. Damn. 2 quid down the drain. But in the warm-up, surprise starter Cheyrou gets injured and Kewell replaces him. Right-ho. I really think he will score first if Southampton don't take advantage of their positon.

Ever since the Marseille goal went in, and then the following morning Kirkland breaking his wrist in training, this game has had a bad feeling on it. I expect a dour game, and a home victory. There is a minute's silence for the train bombings in Madrid, which is impecccably observed, and the game kicks off. We have a lot of the ball, and are slowly probing away at the Saints, creating not much but still having the ball.

Southampton are just booting it anywhere, and aren't keeping it like I expected. This should be easy although it does look like they have set out to keep Stevie closely marked. He still has a chance though, which he should score, curling the ball just over and wide from a good position. Kewell produces a fantastic save from Niemi low down. Owen also misses a sitter, a one-on-one, and that is it from us. They have rarely been in our half, and they have had one chance through Telfer, and that's it for a particulary dull first period.

The second half, well, I'd rather forget. But I have to have a rant. Michael Owen, even though low on confidence, still should score one of the two golden oppurtunities he manages to miss. Firstly, the ball reaches him at the back post after a Niemi parry, and he has an open goal. He hits the ball in. Thank you! Whoa, wait! Why are the Southampton fans waving and cheering? Because the ball has not gone in.

Somehow, somehow, he's hit the foot of the post and about six Southampton bodies scramble it clear. Michael, how? How did you miss? My dog could have scored. Then, five minutes later, Kewell tumbles in the box. OK, there wasn't that much contact but it probably was a penalty. Oh why, why does Owen have to take it? Someone, anyone, even the dodgy Dudek, should take this penalty instead of Owen.

Owen steps up, looking shaky and nervous, and hits a weak kick straight at Niemi. Who expected the net to rustle? Certainly not me. I sit down, unable to watch the ground rocking at being 1-0 up at home to Liverpool. Oh, did I forget to mention? They undeservedly scored right at the start of the second half, a Biscan mistake, where he jumps at the ball on the halfway line, where it was about an hour ago, misses the ball and it lets Beattie in who plays a one-two with Phillips. The return ball reaches Beattie again (offside, like) and he chips it over Dudek and in.

You always sense that despite all our pressure, and our chances, few and far between, that brave, firm, strong Southampton have another in them, and you could tell that this was coming: Kevin Phillips, who is quite a good and likeable player, hits a shot, half-heartedly defended by Riise, Hyypia and Biscan, and it loops off one of our defenders legs', who I don't care, and over Dudek and into the net, for 2-0.

It's awful and it's over with 5 minutes to go. By the bitter last, by the time our superb fans have finished YNWA, we hear a lot of Houllier abuse, which is right. A woman during the game took offence, for some odd reason beyond me, of some fella who was having a go at the defensive and negative tactics, poor team selection etc., and she turned round and I caught what she said: 'Arsehole'. I don't understand why she possibly still backs him. If she does. It's a sorry end to the match.

The rain falls over the dark Hampshire sky. I feel empty. Sad. This season means nothing. What can we hope for? A win at Man U, or at still unbeaten Arsenal? That's the only thing. Pathetic, isn't it really? As much as I'm prepared to say. The End of the story. Over. No more. No more hurt.

© Sparrow 2004

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