Football: Precious point for cautious Saints

Derby County 0

Southampton 0

Attendance: 26,557

PRESUMABLY, IT'S like this to be under-anaesthetised in the dentist's chair: partly numb, subject to indiscriminate bursts of pain, and only staying put on the dubious understanding that the whole thing might be for the greater good.

Southampton's vocal supporters endured what, for them, was the hideous tension of a profoundly ordinary game, but rejoiced in the gleaning of a rare away point which - combined with results elsewhere - might retrospectively turn their visit to Pride Park into a glorious season-saving memory.

Discretion being the better part of valour, Southampton plumped for a cautious interpretation of Matthew Le Tissier's late fitness test and allowed his thigh an extra week's recovery time. He is the luxury life- raft who needs to be absolutely water-tight for the choppy waters that lie ahead.

Marians Pahars, who tossed out last week's lifeline at the Dell, started instead; as did Ken Monkou in place of the suspended Claus Lundekvam. Top-scorer Egil Ostenstad was left on the bench in deference to James Beattie, as the Saints sought to increase their miserly total of only six away goals in the Premiership.

All of which team tinkering may or may not have contributed to a first half, which for the most part, was incoherent and inconsequential.

Southampton's greater need was suitably represented in the marginally heavier workload undertaken by Derby's goalkeeper Mart Poom (filling the gloves of the suspended Russell Hoult). But even he was only seriously inconvenienced once. Beattie, having flummoxed Jacob Laursen fired to the near post where Pahars inexplicably missed his kick with his fellow Latvian hopelessly marooned.

Necessarily, the start of the second half brought a mild improvement, not least from a hitherto passionless Derby for whom Stefan Schnoor became a prominent attacker together with substitute Rory Delap.

Even so, more than an hour had passed when Darryl Powell drew from Southampton goalkeeper Neil Moss his first save of the afternoon. Soon after, Paolo Wanchope steered a typically leggy shot wide of Moss's near post and Dean Sturridge caused the keeper to narrow another dangerous angle.

Meanwhile, Saints had been able to reintroduce John Beresford, who had been out of action since incurring cartilage damage on the season's opening day. His dubious privilege was to try to handle Sturridge whose appetite had obviously been sharpened on the substitute's bench and whose ferocious pace became a significant factor in a frantic finale.

He, Wanchope, Powell and Kevin Harper all threatened the goal which might have been fatal to Southampton's hopes of survival as the desperate visitors finished the game on the back foot.

But it didn't come. So, as Derby canter comfortably towards the end of their season, Southampton can still hope to avert the end of their world.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower