Saints 0 Wolves 0

HAVING A GO: Saints midfielder Jhon Viafara falls to the ground after firing in a shot last night.

HAVING A GO: Saints midfielder Jhon Viafara falls to the ground after firing in a shot last night.

First published in 07-08 Season Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Writer

IN recent weeks it has been suggested that at times Saints were a little too entertaining for their own good. It appeared last night they had listened.

The game with Wolves was the antidote to the recent goalfests we have seen involving Saints.

Not only was there no four or five goal thriller, there was little more than four or five chances to speak of.

The first half was a complete write off, the second at least a little better.

It was a game that never looked like coming to life and never did.

You have to try and take positives out of it, though, and the frugalness of the defence was definitely one of those.

Uneventful game in which both sides cancelled each other out with neither having the spark to create a goal. Saints battled hard but one point from two home games is a poor return and they have put themselves under pressure ahead of the weekend.

Adam Leitch

For the first time, we saw the centre back pairing of Wayne Thomas and Andrew Davies.

As long as those two can avoid the dreaded Saints centre half injury curse, they are likely to be the pairing in that position for the rest of this season and well beyond.

And, on first impressions, there is plenty to be optimistic about in that respect.

Both are accomplished players in their own right, both are good in the air with Thomas the more dominant step-out man and Davies able to sweep behind and comfortable on the ball.

In both of the full back positions the performances were steady if not spectacular.

Rudi Skacel added an element of defensive security in place of Gregory Vignal while Phil Ifil was his usual self on the right.

Both tried to get forward when they could but, in keeping with the evening, it didn't have too much end product.

As good as Saints were defensively, Wolves matched them.

And with neither side having a stand-out player to create a piece of magic in midfield or up front, defences were totally on top and the game ended up one to forget.

The timing is not great for George Burley's men - one point from two home games is not the return they would have been aiming for at the start of the week.

Also the weekend trip to Sheffield Wednesday will be a tough one.

It really is vital they try and go in to the international break with some sort of momentum which, at the moment, they appear to have lost.

They need to get that zip back in their passing - hopefully the return of Youssef Safri at Hillsborough - will provide that.

They need to hold the ball up better up front and to restore some confidence to stop themselves getting marooned in mid-table.

Running through the first half won't take very long.

The first incident of any note at all came on 20 minutes when Saints were awarded an indirect free-kick for a back pass on the edge of the six yard box.

Grzegorz Rasiak rolled the ball back to Skacel but his shot was blocked by the charging ten-man wall.

Other Saints efforts saw Rasiak's weak header comfortably taken by Wayne Hennessy, Jhon Viafara dragging a shot wide and Davies heading over from a corner.

For Wolves, Michael Kightly, Freddy Eastwood and Kevin Foley all had shots off target while Kelvin Davis made an easy save from Andy Keogh.

It would be nice to say the action picked up in the second period, but that would be somewhat over-stating the case.

Probably fair to say it wasn't quite as bad - but only just.

There was a 15-minute flurry of activity early on that raised hopes of a few goals.

Rasiak's opportunist shot from the edge of the area was saved by Hennessy diving to his left.

Viafara burst powerfully through the middle but blasted over while Jason Euell's blocked header led to an unsuccessful appeal for a penalty for handball.

Wolves had a spell themselves just after the hour mark and Davis had to save at the feet of Kightly while Seyi Olofinjana's drive was tipped over.

Eastwood also extended Davis with a low effort from outside the area which he dived to his right to turn wide.

But after that chance on 66 minutes there was little of interest until the closing stages.

Sub Andrew Surman cut in from the right of midfield and curled a shot just over.

At the other end, Jay Bothroyd got through on goal but again Davis was there down at his feet to make a brave save.

Euell and Christian Dailly forced Hennessy in to a couple of late stops but, in the end, the game got the result it deserved.

Let nobody say again Saints are too entertaining - or we might have more of this ...

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