Saints take the points as Clarets miss chances

Last updated : 22 March 2015 By Tony Scholes

Both goals were bad ones as far as our central defenders were concerned; for Shane Long's opener, Michael Duff inexplicably dropped back onto the line leaving the Saints' striker unmarked and onside whilst Shackell could do no more than turn a left wing cross into his own goal.

That second goal, just before the hour, ended the game as a contest with Burnley offering precious little in the last half hour, but had the opportunities been grabbed during the first half we might just have been looking at a second away win of the season.

A trip to Southampton is one of the longest days out in any season so I decided to shorten my day having had a mishap with my alarm. Instead of having time to get ready and watch a bit of the cricket at the same time, I was rushing to be out of the house in time, the scheduled departure of 7 a.m. coming just four minutes after the 'I've overslept' panic set in.

The delay was short and the journey down wasn't a difficult one, the only hold up coming on the M42 which cost us no more than five to ten minutes. We were in Southampton not much after 12 and got ourselves something to eat before the walk down to the stadium in biting cold weather.

Another impressive performance from Scott Arfield in midfield

The team news came through during that walk. There were no changes to the starting eleven, which was only to be expected, but on the bench there was a return for Marvin Sordell with Stephen Ward, who had missed training during the week, not making it.

Not much happened in the opening minutes of the game other than a shot well wide of goal from Southampton, but then home goalkeeper Fraser Forster saw his afternoon come to a premature end. It was right in front of us and he seemed to slip before Sam Vokes caught him with Forster immediately signalling that he was in some trouble.

Referee Roger East stopped things right away. As he made his way to Forster he clearly reassured Vokes that he was not concerned with anything he might have done.

Eventually the England international, after almost five minutes, was stretchered from the pitch with what looked to be a serious knee injury. He received a standing ovation from all sections of the stadium, that including the Burnley fans who he was closest to as he first left the pitch.

Having seen it again on television, you can clearly see what's happened with his knee and you can also see that the collision with Sam is Forster accidentally tripping him.

On came 38-year-old Kelvin Davis, a former team mate of our manager and someone who has played against us many times in the past. He was coming on for his first Premier League action since New Year's Day 2014 and his only games since have been in the FA Cup against us, Yeovil and one of his former clubs Sunderland, all last season. Interestingly, the last goals he conceded at St. Mary's were the three we scored in the FA Cup tie 14 months ago.

When the game did finally settle down it was the Clarets who were getting the upper hand and Southampton more than once had Davis to thank for them remaining level. He saved well from Sam Vokes and Danny Ings as we created openings against a home defence that is usually a mean one.

It wasn't one way stuff and they did have a few situations at the far end, but it was Burnley who were the better side and twice I think we might have had penalties.

On first look from behind the goal, the challenge on George Boyd does look to be a foul. Referee East said no but television pictures have shown that it is, although it is certainly no easy decision for the referee.

The second shout is an easy one for assistant Andy Garratt who just doesn't seem to want to know as Ings is forced to the ground in the six yard box.

We had a couple of efforts blocked but then Southampton had a little four or five minute spell and they took full advantage of it with the opening goal although it had a considerable amount of good fortune to go with it.

A cross from the left wing was eventually headed out by Jason Shackell, but only to Nathaniel Clyne lurking outside the box to the right of goal. HIs ball back in deflected off Ashley Barnes, then Pelle, before reaching Shane Long who made no mistake. With Duff on the line, Kieran Trippier tried to get to him but to no avail.

Even then we might have gone in level. Again Vokes and Ings saw efforts saved by the impressive Davis and, right on the whistle, Boyd fired a shot just wide.

So we went in for the half time break a goal behind but we'd offered enough to suggest we'd every chance of getting back into the game. Unfortunately, overall, we'd already seen our best football of the day.

It was a very quiet opening to the half; we didn't create much at all but there again neither did they other than a Long shot from distance that flew wide, and with still over half an hour to go they got their second and ended the game as a contest.

Again it came from the left wing. Some good work led to a ball coming into the six yard box. It was met by Shackell who could do no more than turn it into his own net.

We'd a mountain to climb now and in truth we never got to first base. At no stage in that half hour did Southampton look anything but comfortable and it was evident long before the end that the Clarets would not get back into this one.

My worries were that we might concede more to give us a result that would look as though we'd been hammered. Thankfully that didn't come but we couldn't, by the final whistle, have any complaints about the result.

The game could so easily have been won by us in that first half and you can look at it two ways; that Davis had a blinder or that we failed to take our chances. Rarely critical of his players, Sean Dyche suggested that, on this occasion, we should have put the chances away and too often shot at the right height for the goalkeeper.

With each defeat it leaves us with one less game to get the number of points that are going to be required to stay up, but we certainly offered enough in the first half of this game to show there is plenty of fight left in us yet.  We just need to take our chances and hope that there are no more freak own goals.

We weren't, over the ninety minutes, always at our best, but there were some good performances and none more so than that from Scott Arfield. I know we all had concerns when Dean Marney suffered his serious injury recently and there is no doubt I'd be more confident of survival if he was fit and in the team.

But Arfield, having settled into the role, is now playing well. I thought he was outstanding last week in the win against Man City and again yesterday he played very well.

We needed some good news from elsewhere. We heard soon after leaving the ground that Nigel had lost the plot again after Leicester's latest defeat and we were just pulling into the motorway services on the way home when Diafra Sakho scored West Ham's late winner.

This afternoon it's been finger nail biting stuff but eventually with good news from the KC Stadium and Loftus Road.

There is a two week break now before North London's top two visit us on successive weekends. This Burnley team still has a lot to play for and we can still get ahead of some of the three clubs above us.

If only one of those efforts had gone in or East had pointed to the penalty spot.

The teams were;

Southampton: Fraser Forster (Kelvin Davis 14), Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte, Toby Alderweireld, Ryan Bertrand, Dusan Tadic (Victor Wanyama ht), Morgan Schneiderlin, Steve Davis, Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle, Shane Long. Subs not used: Maya Yoshida, Florin Gardos, Filip Djuricic, James Ward-Prowse, Eljero Elia.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Scott Arfield, David Jones, Ashley Barnes (Ross Wallace 82), Danny Ings (Marvin Sordell 88), Sam Vokes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 74). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Steven Reid, Michael Keane, Michael Kightly.

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire).

Attendance: 30,864.