Writer: Abe Hawken
Date:Wednesday October 29 2008
St. Mary's Stadium
Clinton Morrison's 75th minute equaliser denied the Saints their first win since September 30th. David McGoldrick's fourth league goal of the season ended the South coast side's 365 minute goal drought, yet it was not enough for the vitally needed three points.
The home side started brightly, with the first opportunity falling to Andrew Surman in the second minute, but he dragged the ball wide of Westwood's goal.
The Sky Blues pinned the home side back with a free kick which the Saints fragile defence were able to head clear. Another Surman chance came and went as he tried to get on the end of McGoldrick's cross with Westwood equal to it.
Coventry`s recent signing Freddy Eastwood had his first attempt comfortably saved by Kelvin Davies in the 8th minute.
The home side went close again in the 17th minute, with Rudi Skacel (back in the Saints set-up) picking out Jason Euell in the six yard box. The ex-Charlton man, playing his first game since the dramatic 3-2 win on the last day of last season couldn't generate enough power in his header to trouble Westwood.
Chris Coleman's men had a goal disallowed in the 25th minute with Gunnersson's powerful strike being ruled offside. Southampton continued to pressure Coventry's defence with another chance falling to Adam Lallana, whose back post header was comfortably saved by Westwood in the 18th minute.
Paul Wotton had to scramble back to clear the ball off the goal line in order to prevent Clinton Morrison from chipping Kelvin Davis in the 34th minute. Four minutes later Morrison wasted a glorious chance to put the away side one up before the break, but the linesman flag saved the ex-Crystal Palace man from embarrassment.
The Saints created their best chance of the first half in the 39th minute. A fast break away ended with McGoldrick acrobatically attempting to put away Euell`s cross, but the Saints striker was too close to Westwood.
The first half ended with both sides creating chances, yet the failure to convert resulted in a goalless 45 minutes at St. Mary`s.
The second half began with both sides unchanged. The first attempt of the second half fell to the away team, with Rudi Skacel failing to clear. Some panic defending got the ball away safe with Wotton and James clearing after the second attempt.
Coventry`s skipper Elliott Ward nearly put the ball into his own net in the 55th minute, but the experienced defender was able to scramble the ball away for a Saints corner.
Jason Euell continued to boss the midfield, with his through ball to Lallana just being cut out in the 59th minute.
The home side continued to dominate with Poortvliet`s boys stepping things up a gear. In the 68th minute their hard work paid off with David McGoldrick slotting home from 6 yards thanks to a delightful diagonal ball from Lloyd James.
Chris Coleman immediately responded to the goal as he made two changes, bringing on ex-Saint Leon Best to replace Freddy Eastwood in the 69th minute. Three minutes later the Welsh boss replaced Doyle with young bright striker Robbie Simpson.
These tactical changes paid off with Clinton Morrison`s powerful close range strike sailing pass Davis after getting on the end of Beuzelin`s through ball in the 75th minute. Things were all level and this forced Jan Poortvliet to make a change. Jake Thompson was replaced by on loan from Millwall, Ryan Smith in the 77th minute.
Four minutes later Poortvliet brought on Under-21 Czech international Tomas Pekhart to replace Adam Lallana.
Goal scorer David McGoldrick continued to cause havoc for the Sky Blues, yet his late tired effort sailed past Westwood`s goal.
Both sides created chances with Rudi Skacel having an effort well saved by Westwood two minutes before time. On loan from Tottenham, Tomas Pekhart created a chance for himself as he turned well in the box to create enough space, only to see his shot blocked on the line with Westwood beaten.
The last action of the match saw hometown boy Andrew Surman being substituted for Bradley Wright- Phillips in the dying minutes of the game.
Referee Fred Graham brought the game to an end with both sides disappointed with a point. The result of match leaves the Saints stranded in 22nd place, with their next match being a tricky away day to Preston North End.
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Date:Wednesday October 29 2008
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