Saints scrape past Scunny
St.Mary's Stadium, Southampton
It was birthday boy Grzegorz Rasiak who won the 3 points for the Saints in a far from convincing win against relegation threatened Scunthorpe.
Scunthorpe took the game to saints right from the first minute, despite saints kicking off the home side almost fell behind within 10 seconds, Idiakez was robbed off the ball, Paterson then unleashed a superb 35 yard shot which required a full stretch save from Kelvin Davis, he pounced on the rebound quickly to ensure saints didn't fall behind within 15 seconds again.
3 minutes later again it was The Iron on the attack, having worked a clear goalscoring chnace it was Andrew Davies who made a fine sliding tackle to save a certain goal. The resulting corner was also superbly cleared by the saints new boy Andrew Davies who was superb, Wayne Thomas was all over the place, he failed to clear and the ball fell to Hayes, he was one-on-one with the keeper and had the option of cutting it back to a team-mate only for Andrew Davies to make another important challenge.
Saints did have a golden chance, Rasiak showed good skill to put through Inigo Idiakez, with the goal at his mercy he placed the ball well over the top.
Saints started to take control after 20 minutes, Wright-Phillips dragged a shot wide which came directly from a Davis goalkick, Jason Euell shortly blasted over.
On 25 minutes the breakthrough, Vignal and Surman linked up as he darted into the Scunny penalty area, he pulled the ball back sure enough the Polish hitman GRZEGORZ RASIAK found the net.
The only thing keeping The Iron out was fine defending from Andrew Davies, yet again turning in a superb performance, faultless throughout, making up for the lack of balance in the midfield, Saints are missing Safri in the holding role where he has been ever present for saints this season, Saints were happy to hit Scunthorpe on the break, playing like an away side, which maybe is a good sign as Saints tend to play better away.
Burleys men for through to half time with the lead in tact.
HALF TIME: Southampton 1-0 Scunthorpe
After 51 minutes saints made a change, Viafara who was left out replaced Idiakez who was lacking in match fitness, a centre midfielder for a centre midfielder, a straight swap? No! Burley chose to put the right winger Hammill on the left, Left midfielder Surman in the middle, and holding midfielder Viafara on the right. This could have been vital, saints balance in the middle of the park was all out, leaving Davis and Davies holding out for the win.
Despite this saints should have had a penalty on 55 minutes, Vignal crossed to Rasiak who was about to header goalwards, but the the Scunthorpe number 14 cleared the ball with his arm, it was raised well above shoulder level, a blatant penalty.
St.Mary's was getting restless and should have seen another penalty but again the red who had a poor game failed to point to the spot, Hammill mazed into the area, he was brought down in the box but still got his shot off, the ref signaled advantage and the rebound fell to Wright-Phillips who tapped into an open net, only for the flag to be raised. Yet the ref failed to give the penalty after playing the 'advantage'.
Saints then should have had another penalty, Stern John was bundled from behind, yet the ref again failed to point to the spot. Then came the chants from the St.Mary's faithful: 'You're not fit to referee'.
The linconshire side almost rubbed salt into the wounds, Matt Sparrow released a fine shot which may of had Kelvin Davis beaten but it clipped the bar on its way over the top and into the stand.
Saints showed guts to hold off a Scunthorpe onslaught towards the end, Davies and Vignal making fine blocks.
A heart-in-mouth situation Viafara was booked when he brought down a Scunthorpe forward 25 yards out, the free kick was heading towards the top corner but for a worldclass save from keeper Kelvin Davis.
Saints get the points but Scunthorpe can take heart from the way they played on the day.
Saints will certainly need to work on set-peices and fitness as it's clear Burley's side lack in thos departments.
Kelvin Davis 9.5
Jermaine Wright 7
Andrew Davies 10
Wayne Thomas 5
Gregory Vignal 7
Adam Hammill 7
Jason Euell 5
Inigo Idiakez 6
Andrew Surman 7
Bradley Wright-Phillips 6
Grzegorz Rasiak 8
Jhon Viafara 7
Should have played in the middle but added pace inti the midfield.
Stern John 7
Did his best to get involved in the game.
Dave McGoldrick 6
Didn't have enough time to make an impact on his league return to the side.