since 1878

Southampton (1) 1 - 0 (0) Ipswich Town

Coca-Cola Championship 2006-07

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Referee: R Olivier

Manager: George Burley

St Marys Stadium 15:00

Attendance: 27,974

Manager: Jim Magilton

Match Number: 3197


 Saganowski (1)


BelmadiPele (76)
SaganowskiWright-Phillips (83)


 Belmadi (47)
 Gary Roberts (90)





















Match Report

Quick-fire Saganowski puts Saints back in touch with automatic promotion places

Marek Saganowski's goals after just 53 seconds was the difference as the Saints ground out a 1-0 win over Ipswich at St Mary's.

The Polish striker made it two goals in two games for him and ensured another valuable three points for George Burley's men as the race for promotion reaches the home straight.

There are now 11 games left for Saints this season and this win, albeit a rather scrappy one, erased memories of defeat to Coventry in midweek and put Burley's team back on track.

Saints got off to the perfect start with a goal after just 53 seconds.

Djamel Belmadi's quick turn inside drew a foul on the right wing and Gareth Bale stepped up to take the free kick.

He whipped it in dangerously at head height and picked out Saganowski who steered his header into the far top corner to give Saints a 1-0 lead inside a minute.

Ipswich managed to steady the ship after that early setback and with a formation that was almost 4-4-1-1 were actually able to hold the ball up and look like a reasonable side.

But every time Saints poured forward they looked like they could create a chance.

Ipswich created their first chance on 19 minutes when a corner came back out to the left wing and a cross picked out Alan Lee just outside the six-yard box but under pressure he headed over the bar.

The bumper St Mary's crowd were getting anxious as Saints' dominance of the game lessened.

It was an even contest, if a rather scrappy one, being played out in the middle third of the pitch with both sides struggling to carve out openings.

Saints did manage one on 25 minutes when Jermaine Wright found Belmadi in the area but his first time went straight into the ground and at keeper Lewis Price, who took a comfortable catch.

Price had to be on top form to keep Saints out on 27 minutes though.

Andrew Surman saw Kenwyne Jones running through on goal and chipped the ball into his path. He showed strength to hold off Jason De Vos but his low shot across the keeper was brilliantly saved one-handed by Price diving to his left.

Gary Roberts skied a shot from the edge of the area for Ipswich two min-utes later as they reminded Saints they were still a threat.

Ipswich had a. glorious chance to level the scores on 37 minutes.

They broke forward in numbers and a cross from left found Sylvain Legwinski totally unmarked at the far post but he put in a poor header that never threatened the target.

Saints were rocking and Kelvin Davis pulled out a brilliant save to keep his side in the lead when George O'Callaghan was played in by Dan Harding. Diving to his left he managed to keep it out from eight yards out.

Jones had a shot from distance moments later that Price got his body behind to block and shortly after the first half ended with Saints leading 1-0.

Belmadi became the first player in the book two minutes after the restart after tugging back Richards.

Saints started the second period on top as well, looking determined to find the second goal that would give them a more comfortable cushion.

Lee gave Saints another problem with his physical presence when he won a header in the area but he couldn't get any power behind it and it was an easy catch for Davis under his crossbar.

Saints so nearly got that second goal on 56 minutes.

Jones found himself through on goal with just the keeper to beat but smashed his shot against the post and saw it rebound out.

But much like the first half the game got bogged down in a battle in the middle third of the pitch with both sides vying for control but struggling to dominate the match.

Jones had a third chance to score a second goal for Saints on 63 minutes but this time it was a little harder with a shot from 12 yards out under pressure and it flew over the bar.

Ipswich made a double change on 69 minutes with Jaime Peters and Jonathan Walters coming on for Richards and O'Callaghan.

Walters went up front alongside Lee as Ipswich changed to a more traditional 4-4-2 system in a bid to try and find an equaliser.

Saints' again almost snatched a goal that surely would have sealed the points on 71 minutes when a I corner broke to Saganowski.

He had to slide to meet the half volley in the area but Price was aware of the danger and had charged off line to pull off the save low down to his left.

But Ipswich were not lying down and Davis pulled off another good stop a minute later when Walters powered an effort goalwards but the Saints keeper reacted quickly to turn the ball away with a one handed reflex stop.

Saints made their first switch on 79 minutes with Pele replacing Belmadi.

John Viafara broke away moments later with a powerful run down middle of the pitch but blazed his shot well over the bar.

As the game moved into the final ten minutes Ipswich were committing men forward to try and find a goal and, while Saints were on back foot, there was also plenty of space for a counter attack.

Ipswich made their final change with six minutes remaining with Danny Haynes coming on for Lee while Saints responded immediately with Bradley Wright-Phillips replacing Saganowski.

Surman hit a volley from 20 yards wide on 89 minutes as Saints took the pressure off their backline playing high up the pitch in the Ipswich half.

Gary Roberts was booked in injury time for a pull back on Viafara as Saints did a good job of running the clock down.

And in the end it proved to be enough as Saganowski's early goal gave Saints another much needed three points ahead of a tough month of fixtures in March.

Adam Leitch (The Pink)

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