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On This Day In History 9th April
Thursday, 9th Apr 2020 11:30

A few exciting games played over the years on this day that affected both our promotion and relegation chances, were you at Leyton Orient in 2011 or Crystal Palace a year later ?

But before we get to recent history lets got back 43 years, I can't believe it was that long ago and as I write this at the same time back then I would have been at the old coach station at Bedford Place getting on a National Express coach, not a scheduled service, but one of their football specials and the destination was Bristol Rovers.

After a brief stop at Warminster when half of the coach went into the pub and the other half marched up and down the high street letting the locals know they were there, we arrived at Eastville around 12.30 and some had never seen a ground like it.

I had been a year earlier so knew what to expect but It was basically a dog track that was also used for speedway, so the terraces were a long way back from the pitch and the open end was basically a big curved terrace with a motorway flyover nearly crossing over the back of it.

Goals from Peter Osgood, Trevor Hebberd and the winner on 67 minutes from Ted Macdougall gave us the points but although we went into the top 10 we were never going to get into the top 3.

1982 saw a trip to Old Trafford and we needed a win to keep us up there in the mix for a top four finish, strangely given that United were also in that mix only 40, 038 were in attendance mind you we only took up about 1,000 fans ourselves, we played in front of a bigger crowd at Manchester City that season.

A goal from McGarvey on the hour settled the game.

1987/88 was a landmark day for not just Saints but football as it was the day that Alan Shearer made his full debut, the sands of time have erased memories a little many would say that Shearer scored this hat trick on his debut, but that was not the case, he had already came on as sub twice in the lead up to the visit of Arsenal, so this was his home debut but to be pedantic it was his full debut not his first ever game.

Whichever way he scored three times with a Mark Blake goal sandwiched in between as Saints won 4-2 against the Gunners.

In 2005 we travelled to Blackburn Rovers themselves only just above the relegation zone, with us 4th from bottom, but after looking like we were pulling clear a couple of games earlier this was the start of the rot, Harry Redknapp was clueless and his lack of passion was affecting the team, a goal down at the break we were in it, 13 minutes after we were 3-0 down and many Saints fans left soon after this to make an early start for the long journey home, Redknapp's time at St Mary's was the worst spell by any manager we have ever had, some might not have got results but at least they cared.

06/07 was a vital game in that we were chasing the play offs, Sunderland came to St Mary's and scored two goals in the last 13 minutes to cancel out a Marek Saganowski strike.

In 2011 things were starting to get interesting again as we started to wind back in Huddersfield in 2nd position, Oriend did their best to accommodate as many Saints fans as they could get into the ground giving us the whole of what used to be their main stand, officially we had around 4,000 present but many had bought tickets in the home section in a crowd of almost 8,000.

Rickie Lambert just before the half hour put us in the driving seat and Lee Barnard sealed the win in the final minute, suddenly Saints fans were starting to believe.

A year later we were back in London again this time at Crystal Palace on Easter Monday and a full complement of Saints supporters were there to see us get back on track after gaining only a single point in the last two games, they saw a goal from Rickie Lambert give us the win.

With six games to go we were still chasing the hope of Europa League qualification when Newcastle came to St Mary's, Shane Long opened the scoring after only 4 minutes and Graziano Pelle make it two, shortly after the break Wanyama hit the third before Andros Townsend gave the Toon army a consolation goal to cheer.

Photo: Action Images

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