Writer: Stef C
Date:Thursday December 29 2005
Saints narrowly lost at home to promotion chasing Sheffield United last night.
Although the result was disappointing, it didn't ruin the sense of optimism among the fans that a new era is underway and the events of 2005 can finally be put behind us.
It somehow still annoyed me last night seeing Harry on Match of the Day repeating the same old excuses he used at Saints; openly bemoaning the squad he has available; hearing him blame everyone but himself for Pompey's humiliation against Arsenal; publicly ridiculing his inherited players for not being able to speak English or understand his instructions, and his blind faith in the 'honest' players that played under him previously.
So although George Burley hasn't been able to produce miracles overnight with our injury ravaged squad, his attitude has still brought a breath of fresh air to the club. Our fans have certainly shown their backing for the new manager in the last two games and Burley has clearly appreciated the support they've given him, he said:
'The crowd were tremendous, and of course you want to get it right for them,'
In the first half a young Saints team looked to have done that, taking the game to the visitors and playing some excellent crisp football.
With Theo Walcott rested Nathan Dyer took his chance to impress, so much so that Burley likened him to Kieran Dyer when he was breaking through at Ipswich.
Saints had several opportunities in the first half, the best falling to Kenwyne Jones in only the 7th minute, and Rory Delap after a goalmouth scramble on the half hour.
In the second half Saints inexperience showed when a poor back pass from Cranie let in Webber, who cleverly played in the veteran ex-saints striker Neil Shipperley to slot home.
Burley introduced Theo Walcott for Brett Ormerod on 62 minutes but Saints couldn't find a break through and the match finished 1-0.
Apart from the result, Burley was happy with the progress made in the game:
'We had our chances, we had a couple cleared off the line. The performance was way better than at Watford (on Boxing Day)'
Unfortunately our injury list went from bad to worse though. Darren Powell suffered a reoccurrence of his hamstring problem and had to be substituted in the second half. Nathan Dyer also picked up a dead leg in the match and has little time to recover, before Saints face Cardiff at Ninian park on New Years Eve.
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Date:Thursday December 29 2005
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