Second best Clarets can't stop the Saints from marching in

Last updated : 12 February 2012 By Tony Scholes

As is often the case in games like these you always consider whether it was a case of one team on top form or the other being well below par, and in this case I'd say it was probably a bit of both.

Lee Grant kept the score down during the first half

Certainly the Southampton fans leaving the stadium at the final whistle were enthusing at their team's performance whilst, in all fairness, there was very little for us to take out of it.

We didn't come close to matching the sort of form we've shown in recent away games and overall I'd say we were comprehensively outplayed in a game that was as one sided as any I've seen this season, even more so than the 2-0 home defeat against Middlesbrough.

When the second goal went in I feared an avalanche and so, if there are any positives to take from it, I was relieved that the final scoreline wasn't worse than it was.

I can at least confirm that the game was played in decent enough conditions. It was cold apparently, and did feel so on the feet, but the conditions were almost tropical compared to those suffered just a week earlier, and the tales of woe regarding those journeys home were still a topic of conversation.

It was good to see chairman Barry Kilby there. After a week of talk on his illness and all the positives and negatives of his thirteen years as chairman, I'm sure he'd have found it somewhat better to be able to sit and watch a game of football.

I'd reported that I didn't think there would be much in terms of team change but Keith Treacy was fully fit again and did come back in at the expense of Josh McQuoid who returned to the bench.

As for Southampton; they were stronger than in recent weeks with players coming back from injury and Billy Sharp making his first St. Mary's start since his move from Doncaster last month.

They haven't been playing anything like as well recently. They've lost their position at the top of the league and their immaculate home form has taken a hit. You wouldn't have thought so as they soon got their noses in front against us and never looked as though they'd surrender their lead.

We were only in the eighth minute of the game when the Saints marched into the lead. It was no surprise to see Guly Do Prado involved. He turned in as good an individual performance yesterday as I've seen from a player all season in the Championship.

David 'Bumble' Lloyd always refers to Lancashire bowler Saj Mahmood as Daisy due to his inconsistency - some days he does and some days he doesn't. Guly is apparently this kind of player but he was definitely on one of his does days yesterday.

He played a short ball to Frazer Richardson. Treacy should have done more to prevent the cross but in the end it was easy for the Southampton full back to get in the cross. Adam Lallana met it whilst David Edgar stood off him. It was poor defending from the Canadian and his reaction as the ball went into the net confirmed he was taking the responsibility.

It could have been 2-0 almost immediately as Kieran Trippier was beaten. Thankfully Lee Grant, whose saves in the first half of this game at least kept it as a contest, did really well to get down to his right and save the shot.

From the resulting corner, Dean Marney, who for me was one of our better players in the first half before picking up an injury, headed off the line. It was getting tough now and you sensed another goal might come.

We weren't in this game but then we did soon get our solitary shot on target. From a free kick, Marney played the ball to Treacy who hit a shot from around 25-yards towards the bottom corner. Kelvin Davis saved comfortably in the end but it was a decent effort from the winger.

Grant made another save to deny Sharp his first Southampton goal but that wasn't much longer in coming. Soon after, Southampton gathered the ball in their own half. For some reason Edgar had gone and positioned himself on the right hand side of midfield. With players getting back to cover, Southampton got the ball forward and when it came in to the middle it was Trippier and Ben Mee trying to defend.

Who got the touch? Southampton say Sharp and Burnley say Mee. It hardly matters as the touch took the ball past the stranded Grant. It was 2-0 and the game was all but over. Having seen it again there is no doubt that Sharp gets a touch. He's officially been credited with the goal and I think that's right.

Sharp, confirming he'd got a touch, said: "It was a scrappy goal, but if I get it I'll be delighted, although if it goes down as own goal then I can see why."

It may seem that I've signalled Edgar out here. Throughout the game he generally did well. He got plenty of blocks in and he certainly won more than his fair share of headers. However, for different reasons he was very much at fault with the two goals.

By half time there had been no further damage but 2-0 was a mountain to climb and it soon became evident it was one far too high for us on this day.

Marvin Bartley and McQuoid came on at the start of the second half for Marney and Treacy. Nothing much changed initially but then we did have a period in the game when we got forward and put Southampton on the back foot for a while.

It was more that we huffed and puffed a bit. We never really threatened and I don't think the home side would have been unduly worried. It didn't last long in any case and then the game sort of petered out although not without quite a few alarm bells ringing at the back, considerably more than I needed to get me out of bed for the early start.

They contrived to miss the lot of them apart from one when substitute David Connolly saw his effort ruled out for offside after Grant had only parried a shot.

That was about it and it ended at 2-0. If anything that scoreline flattered us. We were outplayed just about throughout the game, every bit as much as Ipswich were at the Turf at the end of November when we won 4-0. Yesterday's scoreline could have easily been that.

Southampton did look a good side. They don't play too much football. They are very direct and rely on their two full backs, both of whom impressed, to get a lot of balls into the danger area, and once they'd stopped Trippier getting forward they were also easily able to thwart much of our attacking intent.

Richardson and former Claret Danny Fox, along with the hugely impressive Guly, were their best players. Will they go up? I backed against them a few weeks ago but having seen them yesterday I might just revise that.

It was a bad day all round, I even just missed seeing one of my old heroes Brian O'Neil ahead of the game.

The away run was bound to come to a halt at some time and it's quite some time since we left an away game with nothing having considered that we deserved nothing. It's going to be another tough one at Reading on Friday and  that means we really need to start getting some home points, starting with Barnsley on Tuesday.

The teams were;

Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Frazer Richardson, Jose Fonte, Jos Hooiveld, Danny Fox, Guly Do Prado (Dean Hammond 78), Morgan Schneiderlin, Jack Cork, Adam Lallana, Billy Sharp (David Connolly 64), Rickie Lambert (Tadanari Lee 90+2). Subs not used: Aaron Martin, Jason Puncheon.

Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee (Zavon Hines 74), Ross Wallace, Dean Marney (Marvin Bartley 45), Chris McCann, Keith Treacy (Josh McQuoid 45), Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Brian Easton.

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

Attendance: 24,099 (including 1,040 Clarets).