Point away to Saints
13th January 2007
In this match away to Southampton, Steve Cotterill made four changes to the side that lost to Reading in the FA Cup match on Tuesday night and gave debuts to the two new loans, Mike Pollitt and Eric Djembe-Djembe . The changes appeared to work as we put in a solid performance against the Saints with significant improvements in defence. This was a pretty dour match though and it was no surprise that it finished 0:0 . It was however a point won not two points lost against a team placed fourth in the League.
The talking point once the team sheet was announced was the omission completely of Mahon who was not even named on the substitutes bench. There were soon suggestions that maybe Mahon no longer featured in Steve Cotterill's plans and that he might be sold in the transfer window although the official statements suggested he was injured maybe even during the warm-up session.
Michael Duff as expected returned to the back four after his one match suspension and both new loan signings, Mike Pollitt and Eric Djembe-Djembe were given their debuts. The out of form Steve Jones and Gifton Noel-Williams were both rested and sat out the whole match on the bench and Lafferty was given the chance to sign up front with Ade Akinbiyi.
The Clarets line up therefore was as follows:
Pollitt, Thomas, Duff, McGreal, Harley, Elliott, J O'Connor, McCann, Djemba-Djemba, Lafferty, Akinbiyi.
Subs: Noel-Williams, Foster, Spicer, Jones, G O'Connor.
Eric Djembe-Djembe started the match on fire and pretty much remained 'hot' throughout the match becoming a strong candiadte for Clarets Man of the Match. He also seems to have a thirst for goal although he has not actually scored a League goal in the English league to date!
The other debutant, goalkeeper Mike Pollitt also put in a solid performance although maybe looked a little unsure at the start of the match.
During the first fifteen minutes, the Clarets seemed to be doing all the pressing and indeed had three corners over this period. In typical fashion however nothing came from these corners or the others later in the game. Steve and the lads still need to look at this problem and make them count!
It was to the Clarets credit that they managed to keep hot shot, hot property Bale at bay despite the rumours the young lad is so good that Real Madrid might be after him. It also took some time to get used to a Pele playing for the Saints but at least in this match he was not as lethal as the original Pele used to be. In this dour match, you would be forgiven for bursting out in song singing 'The Phantom of the Opera' in boredom every time you saw Claus Lundekvam. The lad, after cheekbone surgery was forced to wear a protective face mask in this game.
One controversial decision surrounded Darren Powell who appeared to swing his arm at Wayne Thomas. Clarets fans will recall the Thomas incident in the home match earlier in the season where he was sent off for a similar incident. How inconsistent though that this time the referee chickened out and only gave out a yellow to Powell despite protests from the Clarets faithful to have him walk. This was not a particularly bad tempered match though although Wade Elliott in injury time in the last few minutes of the match was yellow-carded for the fifth time this season and he will miss the next match against Norwich. The Saints also had a claim to a penalty and Southampton manager George Burley was furious with referee Tony Bates for not giving his side a penalty late on when John McGreal appeared to bring down Mario Licka. He said: 'McGreal took out Licka right in front of the referee and I cannot believe he did not give the penalty.' Yeah right!
All in all another creditable performance from the Clarets in a match where we deserved a well-earned point. The performance of the team appeared to please Steve Cotterill who did not feel the need to put on any substitutes at any time during the match. It was particularly good to see the new boys settle in so quickly and also to watch the improvements in defence most notably from Thomas.
Davis, Baird, Powell, Lundekvam, Bale, Licka, Wright, Pele, Jones (Wright-Phillips 46), Rasiak, McGoldrick.
Subs Not Used: Bialkowski, Ostlund, Lallana, Viafara.
Pollitt, Thomas, Duff, McGreal, Harley, Elliott, James O'Connor, McCann, Djemba-Djemba, Akinbiyi, Lafferty.
Subs Not Used: Jones, Garreth O'Connor, Spicer, Noel-Williams, Foster.
Booked: Harley, Elliott.
Ref: A Bates (Staffordshire).