Writer: Stef C
Date:Sunday January 1 2006
Saints ended an awful year with a fourth consecutive loss at Ninian Park on New Years Eve.
The last time we travelled to Wales, less than two years ago, it was in altogether different circumstances. Giant banners were hung from the bridges stating 'Wales welcomes Saints', people came out of their houses to cheer us on, and the streets of Cardiff were turned into a sea of yellow and blue.
This time the opposition was Cardiff rather than Arsenal, the locals certainly weren't as welcoming and the game was a Championship league game not an FA Cup final!
From the start Cardiff used their strong forwards to exert immediate pressure on our makeshift defence. George Burley had made six changes to the team that narrowly lost to Sheffield United and Cardiff didnt give them any time to settle.
Joe Ledley and Cameron Jerome put Cardiff two goals up within 8 minutes before Saints new look team had even settled.
Saints did come into the game after that but it was always going to be hard to come back from two down, in a scrappy game.
Dexter Blackstock gave us hope with a goal out of nothing on 25 minutes, but Saints couldn't force an equaliser despite putting Cardiff under pressure in the second half.
Burley remains confident despite losing his first three games as Saints boss and has had a tough start due to injuries and the amount of fixtures in the Christmas period.
'I had no defenders on the bench,' said Burley.
'I've had three games in a week since taking over the job so I am still looking at ways to improve the side.
'We have a number of players out injured and naturally we are disappointed to lose. But we must take whatever positives we can out of the game.
At least Saints worst year, probably ever, is now finally over and the home game at Brighton on Jan 2nd will represent a fresh start for the team. Lets hope we can get the year off to a winning start and Burley can push us forward in 2006.
Happy New Year.
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Date:Sunday January 1 2006
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