Writer: Saint Aaron
Date:Sunday February 24 2008
Attendance: 6,035 (725 away fans)
Southampton made the long trip to Scunthorpe to take on the bottom side in the division, in Nigel Pearson's first full game in charge of The Saints!
Saints: Davis, Thomas, Davies, Pearce, Vignal, Wright, Viafara, Idiakez, Surman, Saganowski, John.
Saints lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, which saw Ian Pearce handed a full debut, Jermaine Wright played in right-midfield and Wayne Thomas played at right back. Mario Licka was named in the subs.
The game wasn't entertaining, but turned on 3 decisions, which left the Scunthorpe supporters fuming at the officals.
The game prooduced hardly any chances, it took 43 minutes for anything of note to take place, Martin Paterson went over, with which seemed little contact.
The Captain Andy Crosby took the kick, but forced a superb save out of Kelvin Davis, only for the ball to rebound off the post and to fall into the path of CROSBY who tapped home for Scunny. Kelvin Davis was again cursing his luck.
HALF TIME: SCUNTHORPE 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON
Only 10 minutes into 2nd half saw another turning point. Wayne Thomas won the ball from Matt Sparrow, a fustrated Sparrow then blatantly stomped on the saints big man. The referee finally produced a red card, to hand saints a man adavantage.
Both teams struggled to get forward on a small and tight pitch. Scunthorpe were putting men behind the ball at all times and never looked like wanting to score a goal.
Hammill replaced Surman just after the red card adding abit more flair to the saints attack. But still far from what we needed.
Saints weren't producing much, and on 70 minutes Wright-Phillips was sent on, he came on to add some pace on the wing, and replaced Wayne Thomas.
The next thing of note was the introduction of Mario Licka, he was frozen out in big parts in the Burley era, a flairy midfield player who has played little for saints, on the occasions he has played he has been impressive. Now was his chance to impress Nigel Pearson.
He did just that, passing the ball well and adding attacking instinct to the saints side, which made the game more open. His shot was going in before a superb deflection saw the ball go behind for a corner.
Saints got the reward they so badly needed. A Scunthorpe defender was pulling the shirt of Stern John, spotted by the linesman and a handful of supporters behind the goal. The ref stopped play and spoke to the linesman. After a brief chat the ref then pointed to the spot.
With Rasiak out on loan, Surman off the pitch and Stern John who missed his last attempt, who would take it? French man Gregory Vignal placed the ball spot. VIGNAL sent the keeper the wrong way and capped a fine performance with a goal! Sending the travelling saints fans crazy.
Vignal hadn't scored in the Championship before, his only previous saints goal coming in the FA Cup. He managed to keep his nerve with only 2 minutes plus stoppage time left.
Saints almost won it at the death, Licka pulling the strings in midfield and Wright-Phillips rounded the keeper, but could only force the ball into the sidenetting, from a very acute angle.
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Date:Sunday February 24 2008
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