Goliath swatted David away with unexpected ease at Sixfields on Saturday, but there was romance nevertheless in the chilly Northamptonshire air. It was just of the filial rather than giant-killing kind.
Fourteen years ago this month a 17-year-old Jamie Redknapp left his father's protective embrace when he moved from Bournemouth to Liverpool. Last week Jamie returned to his dad's command and he marked his second appearance under him with the goal which cemented Harry Redknapp's first win as Southampton manager.
It had been thought that Southampton, struggling in the Premiership, would be vulnerable against Northampton Town, League Two promotion contenders. Instead, the game underlined the old maxim about form being temporary, class permanent. Redknapp Jnr said he hoped it would also provide the confidence boost Southampton need in the Premiership.
"It's taken a bit of weight off our shoulders," said Jamie. "You can get used to not winning just as you get used to winning. Now we play Newcastle and Liverpool. They're very different challenges but we'll still take confidence from this. People will say it was only Northampton but these can be difficult games as results elsewhere have proved. I wasn't really looking forward to it."
Dad agreed. "These teams raise their game. I know. I got done here with West Ham. It would have been a disaster if we'd lost. Confidence would have been at an all-time low."
Saints' superior ringcraft was evident from the start with Kevin Phillips going close in the opening minute. The former England striker went on to give a masterclass in forward play. He scored Saints' first goal with a smart volley from Peter Crouch's knock-down, put Crouch through for Southampton's second, then led the counter-attack from which Redknapp put away his pass for the third. That killed off Northampton whose hopes had been raised by Lee Williamson's instant equaliser, a 30-yard shot. Antii Niemi looked at fault for that but redeemed himself with sharp saves from Scott McGleish, Eric Sabin and Trevor Benjamin.
Redknapp came off soon after his goal. One of the advantages of playing for his father is that he knows his long-term health is not in jeopardy. He seems to have been around for ever but is only 31. However, his body has endured more surgery than most and playing twice a week every week is not on the agenda.
"I feel good and I still feel I have a lot to offer," he said. "I'm really enjoying it. It's great waking up on matchday knowing I'll be playing rather than on the bench."
Goals: Phillips (29) 0-1; Williamson (30) 1-1; Crouch (41) 1-2; Redknapp (53) 1-3.
Northampton Town (4-4-2): Harper; Chambers, Westwood, Willmott, Jaszczun (Sabin, 67); Low (Bojic, 76), Rowson, Williamson (Hearn, 67), Smith; McGleish, Benjamin. Substitutes not used: Bunn (gk), Galbraith.
Southampton (4-4-2): Niemi; Telfer, Davenport, Lundekvam, Higginbotham; Prutton, Delap, Redknapp (Oakley, 56), McCann (Cranie, 83); Phillips, Crouch (Ormerod, 88). Substitutes not used: Jakobsson, Smith (gk).
Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).
Booked: Southampton: Crouch.
Man of the match: Phillips.
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