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  • "You can always look back on a season and pick out the games that a good keeper has won points for you. It is normally the odd point when you scrap a draw or two point when you turn a draw into a win. Kelvin certainly won all three at Leeds."
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Kelvin up there with Saints' keeping greats

Kelvin Davis

Kelvin Davis

First published in Sport Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Reporter

SAINTS are a club that have been blessed with some impressive goalkeepers during their history.

From Peter Shilton and Tim Flowers through to Paul Jones and Antti Niemi, there have been some fine custodians of the number one jersey in recent memory.

Going back further, there are plenty of others to have worn the shirt with great distinction too.

Yet it is hard to imagine that any of them could have produced a single performance better than the one Kelvin Davis managed against Leeds.

The 35-year-old turned in a display of near-complete goalkeeping excellence at Elland Road, securing a 1-0 victory that Saints had absolutely no right to achieve.

Leeds should have won at a canter.

Such was their dominance, a two or three-goal margin of victory wouldn’t have been unjustified.

Yet they were denied even a solitary point by the sheer individual brilliance of Davis.

As one supporter quipped after the match, Leeds threw the kitchen sink at Saints, but Davis saved that too.

Immediately after the match proved too early for the club captain to label it the best performance of his career, but he admitted it was a serious contender.

It will be tough for any other display to match up with this one.

Davis’ point-blank reaction save from Luciano Becchio in the first-half kicked off a dazzling array of stops.

He made a stunning double save from the striker early in the second half, scrambling back to his line to deny the forward what appeared to be a certain goal.

Davis ranked that as the best of the lot, while Rickie Lambert said it was the best save he had ever seen – although the gloss was taken off slightly with replays suggesting Becchio’s initial shot was actually heading just wide.

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But that did nothing to detract from the reflexes of Davis, who minutes later flung up a hand to tip Danny Webber’s fierce drive over.

Having been unable to beat him up high, the Leeds forward slammed his next effort from 18 yards as low as possible.

But there was Davis again, diving down to his right to get a hand on it.

And when he couldn’t get there, Davis was helped out twice by his crossbar in a wild goalmouth scramble in the dying minutes.

It was cruel on Leeds, but no less than the Saints keeper deserved.

It remains to be seen just how crucial a performance this was from Davis – but there was certainly a feeling afterwards that it could be a defining display and result in the context of the season.

It says a lot about Davis that he was as keen on praising his teammates after the match as he was in talking about his own display.

But this was a night when the spotlight was rightly his.

It is now nearly three years since Davis sacrificed the opportunity of Premier League football by turning down West Ham to remain with League One Saints.

How fitting it would be if he is rewarded for that choice by being able to lead Southampton back into the top flight come the end of this season.

See today's Echo for FIVE pages of Saints v Leeds coverage.

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