Football: Saints are soft touch for needy

Southampton 0 Wimbledon 1

SOUTHAMPTON lost their third game to a relegation-threatened side in four weeks on Saturday to make the remote prospect of qualification for Europe ever more unlikely.

While the responsibility for Wimbledon's winning goal must be borne by the usually dependable Paul Jones, one wonders whether there is something in the Saints' collective psyche that is rendering them incapable of inflicting defeats on sides in trouble.

The Dons had not scored for over five and a half hours before the start of the game, and until the 38th minute, when Jones ran out of his goal and fell over attempting a routine clearance, they had shown few signs of ending the drought.

Carl Leaburn, surprised to find himself gifted the ball, remained composed to score from a tight angle.

"We have had to work out tactically how we can win games 1-0 and have carved out a lot of valuable victories," said Joe Kinnear, the Wimbledon manager.

It is fortunate for Kinnear that his side's defensive record away from home is the best in the Premiership, having conceded only 15 goals in 14 games on their travels. "The missing ingredient is a striker who can score 15 goals a season," said Kinnear.

Wimbledon gave a tight defensive performance but there was little attacking or creative play from anyone but Michael Hughes. Nonetheless, the Dons deserved the points, and the win leaves them six points clear of the bottom three and with a game in hand on five of the seven teams below them.

As Wimbledon prepare to meet Everton at Selhurst Park today, Kinnear feels that his young side is more than capable of staying in the Premiership. "Our destiny is in our hands. The pressure builds up on people but you've got to keep your head."

Dave Jones, the Southampton manager, admitted his team had underperformed, but did not seek to blame his goalkeeper's error. "The keeper has been fantastic and has made one mistake and got punished for it.

"There are lots of games where he has kept us in it to be fair," said Jones, who has built a side who can appear, albeit sporadically, to have great potential.

However, while the Saints have beaten Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Blackburn in recent months to reach mid-table, they have now lost to Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and Wimbledon in the past month.

"We just didn't perform to the best of our ability today," said Jones. It is tempting to believe that his team may know only too well what fighting relegation is like, and either through relief at not being involved, or sympathy for those more deeply embroiled, they were simply not committed enough.

Goal: Leaburn (38) 0-1.

Southampton (4-4-2): Jones; Benali (Monkou, 82), Dryden, Lundekvam, Dodd; Beresford, Richardson (Williams, 57), Palmer, Hughes; Ostenstad, Hirst (Davies, 57). Substitutes not used: Gibbens, Moss (gk).

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Thatcher, Blackwell, Perry, Cunningham; M Hughes, Roberts, Earle, Ardley; Gayle (C Hughes, 69), Leaburn. Substitutes not used: McAllister, Clarke, Euell, Heald (gk).

Referee: M. Reed (Birmingham).

Booking: Southampton: Lundekvam.

Man of the match: M Hughes.

Attendance: 14,815.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power