Writer: Abe Hawken
Date:Sunday April 26 2009
Attendance: 23, 927
Southampton will start next season in League One on minus ten points following the dramatic 2-2 draw with Burnley.
The Saints were handed a ten point penalty by the Football League on Thursday, but they would receive the ten points this season if they were able to beat the drop.
Knowing this, Mark Wotte's men had to get maximum points from the last two games; otherwise they would start next season in an inferior position.
However, yesterday's disappointing draw condemned the Saints to the third tier of English football for the first time in 49 years, and they will also start on minus ten points.
First half goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and David McGoldrick looked to give the Saints hope, but play-off chasing Burnley levelled twice with goals from Graham Alexander and Clark Carlisle.
Southampton started the brighter, with Wright-Phillips breaking the deadlock on 11 minutes.
Burnley were unable to clear Paul Wotton`s corner, and Simon Gillett was able to play in the ex-Manchester City man.
Brian Jensen in the Claret`s goal couldn't hold the 24-year-old`s shot, and the ball kicked up of the Dane to sail into the back of the net to give the Saints a deserved 1-0 lead.
Simon Gillett, starting his first game in a month following a traumatic knee injury then had a great chance to put the Saints 2-0 up, but the ex-Bournemouth man couldn`t find the net from a one on one situation.
Wright-Phillips was then played in beautifully by McGoldrick on 28 minutes, but the striker couldn`t double his account for the game, drawing a good save from Jensen`s feet.
Just two minutes later the Saints were punished for not taking their chances and a clumsy Jan Paul Saeijs brought down Martin Paterson and referee Mike Jones awarded Owen Coyle`s men a penalty.
Graham Alexander calmly stepped up and smashed the ball home to keep the Burnley play-off dream alive.
The drama continued just two minutes before the break, when Lloyd James` cross picked out Jason Euell, whose shot was saved by Jensen only to find the eager McGoldrick who pounced and struck the ball home for his 14th goal of the season.
The second half commenced with the visitors starting brightly and shots from Wade Elliott and Rodriguez were finely saved by Kelvin Davis in the Southampton goal.
On the hour the Saints were handed a splendid chance to seal the three points when Euell was brought down by Williams in the Burnley box.
McGoldrick stepped up confidently, only to fire a tame effort which was easily saved by Jensen down to his bottom left, to the joy of the 2,000 travelling fans.
Just six minutes later Burnley equalized again when Clark Carlisle volleyed home a Robbie Blake free kick to send St.Mary`s quiet for the first time.
Burnley nearly took the lead for the first time just minutes later, when Rodriguez was put through and Davis` had to save twice on the line to deny Burnley the lead.
The game ended in dramatic fashion with Kelvin Davis coming up for a free kick, only to fall down and sprint back to his goal to make sure the Saints took a point from what was a frustrating game.
The Saints have now accepted their fate, and will start the next campaign in League One, but also with the ten point deduction.
With League One beckoning, the main priority is to find a buyer, otherwise there will not be any football being played at St. Mary`s. Joint administrator Mark Fry has revealed that there are two very interested parties but is still in talks regarding the sale of Southampton Football Club.
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Date:Sunday April 26 2009
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|8. West Ham||26||10||9||7||8||39|
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