The plan was simple, seal Southamptons fate whilst ensuring our very own playoff place.
But unfortunately Burnley could only only stick to half the deal as the draw means that The Saints will play their football in league one on minus ten next season, but The Clarets will have to wait until the final game before they can cement that playoff place.
The Saints were playing for next season and desperately needed a win if they were to bounce straight back, and that was definetly reflected in the atmosphere
as the home fans packed out the stands and tried to make it as intimidating as possible for Burnley and their 2,000 travelling fans.
As expected The Saints were fired up and they came at the Burnlet defence straight from the off, and a neat pass from Wright-Phillips set up who bared down on goal and unleashed his shot, which was deflected over for a corner.
Not long after Southampton had they well craved lead. Paul Wotton returned the earlier favour and slipped in Bradley Wright-Phillips down the right hand side, who then cut inside and hit his shot which then deflected off a Burnley boot and looped over the stranded Brian Jensen.
The start from The Clarets simply wasnt good enough and this was recognised by manager Owen Coyle who changed things around almost immediately after the goal as he pushed Robbie Blake up front and switched to a 4-4-2.
Despite this Southampton remianed the better side and should have doubled their lead. Simon Gillett recieved the ball in what looked to be an offside position, but the flag stayed down and Brian Jensen was forced into making a save.
Jensesn had to be alert again when Bradley Wright-Phillips easily broke through the Burnley defence once again and beared down on Jensen’s goal in a one on one situation. thanfully the big Dane was alert and made yet another save.
A rare Burnley attack showed the main reasons why Southampton are where they are. The danger looked minimal as Paterson was out on the right, but clumsy Southampton defending felled the young striker and the referee was in no doubt to award the penalty. The outcome was also in no doubt as penalty king Graham Alexander stepped up and hit home his penalty straight down the middle.
The goal didn’t do much for the pattern of the game as The Saints continued to play out of their skins, and just two minutes before the break they had the lead back.
Work on the right hand side from Lloyd James left the Burnley defence for dead as he broke into the box, he then fired low across the six yard box to Euell who powered his shot towards goal onley for Jensen to make a great point blanck save, however the ball fell kindly for McGoldrick who couldn’t miss.
How can a defence that was so solid for 90 minutes against Sheffield United look so frale against Southampton?
Coyle gave the players the hairdryer treatment at half time and replaced a lacklustre looking Eagles with Jay Rodriguez, and Burnley came out for the second half with alot more purpose and looked alot brighter.
Elliot had a chance cleared off the line after great work from substitute Rodriguez, and McCann saw a header saved at point blanck range as The Clarets looked for the all important equaliser.
But Burnleys defensive frailties looked adament on spoiling the day as they reeared their ugly head again. Jason Euell looked as though he was going no where, that was until a lapse in concentration from Williams allowed him to skip past with ease. Williams then pulled back Euell as he entred the box and the referee once again had no hesitation in correctly awarding a penalty.
McGolrick stepped up, but his weak penalty was easily save by Jensen who guess the right way.
Minutes later Southampton were left to pay as the referee awarded a free kick out on the left hand side. Blake took the free kick and swinged in his cross perfectly. The defence were unable to clear and Carlisle swung his foot and blasted the ball into the Southamton goal to bring The Clarets level for the second time.
Burnley could, and should have won the game just seconds later as Rodriguez missed a gloreous chance. Awful defending from Southampton allowed Jay to bear down on goal and to his right Paterson was unmarked and bellowing for the ball.
Rodriguez chose to ignore Paterson and went alone, his initial shot was saved but the ball came back to him but he couldnt get his shot away properly and the ball eventually ended up in the hands of the goalkeeper, much to the anger of Martin Paterson.
The final whistle went and therefore sealed Southamptons fate that next year. The Southampton fans were understandably upset but that is no excuse for what happened next. The Saints fans ran onto the pitch and steamed towards the Burnley fans, but luckily the stewards were able to prevent them from breaking into the away end.
That didnt stop them throwing missiles however, smoke bombs, flares, and glass bottles were all thrown into the away end as the Southampton fans took their anger out on the Burnley fans. Somebody should have told them that it was The F.A. that took the points off them, not the Burnley fans.
Thanks to those mindless fans Southampton now have another F.A. probe hanging over their head.
As for The Clarets, it all comes down to the final game of the season, and a victory against Bristol City would ensure that Burnley will be in the playoffs come the final day of the season.
Southampton 2-2 Burnley