Writer: Stef C
Date:Sunday January 22 2006
St Mary's Stadium
Saints on field performance was undoubtedly affected by off field events again, as they were comfortably beaten by Joe Royle's Ipswich Town - just a day after Theo Walcott's much publicised transfer to Arsenal.
Theo's fellow academy scholar Nathan Dyer was rested and Marian Pahars returned from injury to partner Dexter Blackstock up front.
Marian's appearance and performance were one of very few highlights of the afternoon.
The line up had a severe lack of width as Saints played with essentially four central midfielders, Nigel Quashie played out of position on the left flank.
After only four minutes Ipswich were ahead, when Alan Lee latched on to Owen Garvan's chipped pass and slotted past Paul Smith.
The goal failed to spark Saints into life and they struggled to find any rhythm throughout the match.
Things got worse in the second half when Saints only real creative midfield outlet, Belmadi, picked up a knock and had to be replaced with David Prutton.
With ten minutes remaining Ipswich doubled their lead, when lone striker Alan Lee smashed in a shot from Scott Barron's pass.
It was only a fantastic save from Paul Smith that denied Lee his hat trick, as Ipswich easily contained Saints to pick up an important away win.
During the match a large section of the crowd had protested loudly against chairman Ruper Lowe and several hundred stayed at St Mary's to protest outside after the final whistle.
It's easy to see the fan's frustration with the result and performance today, most fans understand Lowe had no choice with the sale of Walcott but the problems we see at the club today go much further back than the sale of our star player.
Lowe must listen to the fans concerns by talking to them directly and giving Burley at least the funds from the Walcott sale to rebuild, as the squad is desperately in need of fresh impetus and ideas.
George Burley said after the game he is currently trying to bring in some new faces:
'We had an experienced team out there but there are areas that clearly need changing.'
'I have had a good look at the squad in recent weeks and performances have been disappointing so we have to try and bring in a bit of quality'
Southampton: Smith, Kenton, Powell (Hajto 65), Lundekvam, Higginbotham, Delap (Jones 63), Oakley, Quashie, Belmadi (Prutton 57), Pahars, Blackstock.
Subs Not Used: Bialkowski, Ormerod.
Booked: Powell, Quashie.
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Date:Sunday January 22 2006
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