The Saints Go Marching Down
May 4, 2009
Nottingham Forest ended a tense, nervous and at times, strenuous first season back in the Championship with a win at the City Ground over the already relegated Southampton. The 3-1 scoreline was certainly harsh on the visitors, but one that NFFC and it's supporters will take gladly as reward for a long and hard fought season.
Nearly 30,000 turned up and paid top dollar for the final game of the season, in a match that had nothing at stake. With Southampton's fate already decided and our safety guaranteed, it was hoped that a free flowing game of football would be played with both sides looking to go out with a win. In truth it wasn't the prettiest game you've ever seen, as both teams made too many poor passes in a game devoid of passion or purpose.
It was the Saints who started the better and had the lions share of possession in the first half and much of the second as well. Thanks to some sloppy defending from the Reds', they took the lead just after the quarter hour mark. Bradley Wright-Phillips found himself with the goal at his mercy and slotted a well stuck shot passed Smith. Earnie should have levelled for us, when faced with a one on one with the keeper. His effort unfortunately went straight into the arms of the well placed Davis in the Saints goal. That was about it for the first half, with the home side having few efforts on goal.
The second half saw Billy Davies try and shake things up a bit. He brought Garner on for Blackstock and not for the first time during this managers' tenure it had an impact. Although the Saints had control of the game, we looked a real threat when going forward. We were still a mess at the back, but at least we looked like we could maybe nick a goal.
I missed the equaliser, due to the exploits of the travelling Saints fans, who seemed for some strange reason to be determined to get on the pitch. Whilst I was busy watching them, I was being told Joe Garner had just scored the goal of the season. One person told me I had probably missed the greatest goal ever seen at the City Ground. In truth, from the highlights on Sky, it was indeed a tasty one and one that saw youg Joe beat the keeper with a delightful lob on the edge of the box. Who needs mates, when you have Sky Sports News, eh?
I went one better with our second goal and missed that as well. It was turning into a great day this and I was missing the best bits. Thanks to SpongeBob Squarepants and his mates in fancy dress, I missed Luke Chambers send a bullet of a header passed Kelvin Smith. According to my friends, this was possibly the second greatest goal ever seen at the City Ground. SSN revealed perhaps more truthfully, that is wasn't a bad effort at all.
The second goal stunned the visitors, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the 2,000 travelling supporters who were determined to go out and down in style. SpongeBob did his best to get arrested, but thankfully it seemed like he failed. He was still there celebrating when Earnie put the game beyond doubt in the second minute of injury time. Arron Davies had his shot deflected, but Earnie was able to pounce on the rebound and got his 17th goal of the season to send the City Ground crowd home happy.
The post match scenes were pleasing. No lap of honour, more a post match stroll, where the players returned the warm applause from both sets of fans. Breckin was afforded his moment in the sun by leading the team round the pitch. It was right that we didn't celebrate too wildly, as in truth the season has been a bit of a poor one. At least we survived, which at the start of the season was the aim. We did that and now we have to build. The final word on this game, goes to the Saints fans. They were a credit to their club yesterday and supported their team well. We know as well as anyone how horrible League 1 is and thanks to some very poor management from their board, they're about to find out for themselves. Good luck and here's to a speedy return.