Draw in the Snow
Saturday, 4th February 2012
Match Report :
The Sky late kick-off game was played in driving snow, on a very slippery surface and although Saints had by far the most possession, Birmingham were the ones who fashioned the possible game winning chances, but were denied by two excellent Davis saves.
Watching on TV, when it is difficult to even spot the yellow (high visibility indeed!) ball against the white snow. I am sure that all sorts of research has been done, but I can't help feeling that orange balls are easier to spot on the TV screen.
Anyway, returning to the game, the first thing which surprised me was that the line up was exactly the same as for the Cardiff game on Tuesday. Saints new signing, Billy Sharp was on the bench with Bart, Harding, Hammond and Do Prado. No room for Tadanari Lee, but maybe he will get a full game on Tuesday in the FACup replay against Millwall.
In a largely uneventful first half, Saints were in almost complete control for the majority of the half and according to the BBC stats, had 61% possession. The trouble is, they did very little with it and Myhill in the Birmingham goal was hardly troubled. The only thing of note that I can remember about that first half was Fox getting booked for the most innocuous tackle I can remember. This was to have a significant impact later in the game ...
Half-time arrived and a lot of talk on the TV about whether the second half should even go ahead. In truth it was never an option, as the conditions appeared to be no worse than during the first half and neither manager seemed to want the game halted.
The second half started with Birmingham upping their game considerably. Davis made two good saves from Marlon King and the Senegalese N'Daw. Saints didn't manage the ascendancy they had achieved in the first half and Myhill continued to be untroubled in the Birmingham goal.
It seemed to be a case of both teams being more concerned with NOT losing, rather than looking for the winner, although Adkins did make a positive change in predictably bringing on Billy Sharp for his debut, at the expense of Connolly.
You got the distinct impression that a winner was only going to be found by someone making a mistake on the snow covered pitch and when Fox tackled Burke and the ref must have ben the only person that could see anything wrong with it. He flourished a second yellow, followed by a red and Saints were down to ten men. There followed a rapid reorganisation, but in truth Birmingham now looked as unlikely to score as Saints and the game petered out into a goalless draw.
If you had asked me before the match if I would have been happy with a draw, then the answer would have probably been yes, but I was not happy to see West Ham pull off a win against Millwall earlier in the day with ten men. The gap is now four points, but Saints are still second in the table, on a day when it could have be worse, had Cardiff not lost at home to Blackpool. There will be lots of twists and turns to come this season, but we need to get back on the winning trail as soon as possible.
Attendance : 17,904
04 Caldwell Booked
08 N'daw Booked
17 Rooney (Elliott - 66' )
13 Fox Dismissed after an earlier booking
08 Cork (Hammond - 81' )
42 Puncheon (Guly - 73' )
22 Connolly (Sharp - 51' )