Writer: Stef C
Date:Sunday December 18 2005
Before the match Dave Bassett and Dennis Wise were in the fortunate position of having only to beat Norwich to surely see them handed the vacant management position. After beating a weak Luton team last week, Rupert Lowe and a growing number of fans were willing to give them a try, if they could record back to back wins.
By the time Saints had lost 3-1 on Saturday, to a Dean Ashton hat trick, and produced a woeful performance at Carrow Road, it was obvious again we need a fresh start and the search for a manager should be widened.
The management duo chose to start with only strikers on the bench and no defenders. Saints are short of cover in defence at present but this still seemed a dangerous tactic. Saints did take the lead early in the match, when David Prutton created a neat opening for Belmadi to score from 12 yards in the ninth minute.
That early promise was dashed for Saints fans, as Norwich took control and the Saints midfield reverted to speculative long balls forward.
On the half hour Ashton nodded in the equaliser and it was only the heroics of Antti Niemi that kept Saints in the match. Just after half time Ashton got his second with a powerful header. He rounded off his hat trick with a fine volley. The Saints defending was reminiscent of the 4-3 match the sides played out at St Mary’s last season. To be fair to Bassett and Wise, the injuries to Lundekvam and Svensson were a major loss at the back and the suspended Quashie was also greatly missed in midfield.
Without a world class display from Niemi the scoreline could have been worse. As Bassett admitted:
'For me Antti was our best player today and I found it very hard to really find an outfield player who had a good game today and that is unusual. We had so many players that came second today and that normally does not happen'
For Saints fans this season just gets worse, were desperately in need of a new manager to come in before the busy Christmas period. Someone who can install some new ideas and faith in the club before its too late to rescue our sorry season.
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Date:Sunday December 18 2005
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