Saints 1 Blackpool 0

WHOOPS: Jason Euell about to see his penalty saved by Blackpool keeper Paul Rachubka.

NIGHTMARE MISS: Andy Morrell blasts over the bar.

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

FOOTBALL can be a very cruel game - but just occasionally it can be very kind.

It was certainly very kind for Saints against Blackpool.

On the back of a three-game winless streak with no goals for and rounded off by a 5-0 thumping at Sheffield Wednesday, Saints were desperate for a result at home to Blackpool.

When you need a result, it was the kind of game you would have handpicked.

While the division may be competitive, you want to play a team scrapping around the bottom, coming to grips with the league after a promotion - and you want to play them at home.

It was a great chance for three points and a good performance.

eserved but are very welcome for Saints. They looked edgy and short of confidence but hopefully the result will put that right. They were due a bit of luck and have had it, so lets hope they follow it up now.

Adam Leitch

As it proved, Saints got the three points without a good performance.

In truth, they didn't deserve to wine. Even the most ardent fan would struggle to argue that a draw wouldn't have been a fair result.

Saints got lucky.

They were due a bit, make no mistake about that, and it does even itself out over a season.

But when you get awarded a dubious penalty and miss it, see your opponents have a goal that should have stood disallowed, hit the post and miss several great chances, you know it's your lucky day.

In the end, the three points is all that matters and George Burley's team put themselves back on the edge of the play-offs.

In the same way as the record books never share hard luck stories, they also don't say when you have had a stroke of luck and ultimately they will show Saints won 1-0 and took the three points.

With Christian Dailly's loan spell coming to an end, Burley could do with a bit more luck - getting some centre halves fit and keeping them that way.

In general, the team looks like it needs a bit of confidence.

It looked nervy defending the lead and there was little of the footballing swagger we have been accustomed to.

It is understandable after recent weeks and hopefully that will be corrected now a bit of pressure has been lifted.

Saints almost fell behind after three minutes when Andrew Surman's pass was intercepted by Bartosz Slusarski, who skinned Dailly.

Kelvin Davis wasn't sure whether to come or stay and was duly rounded. Slusarski hit the target from an acute angle but Rudi Skacel got back on the line and turned it wide.

Saints got lucky again on 31 minutes when Andrew Davies' attempted clearance hit Slusarski and bounced straight into the path of Andy Morrell in the area. He shot across Davis but saw his shot hit the post and rebound out.

But on 35 minutes, Saints capitalised by taking the lead.

Bradley Wright-Phillips laid the ball through to Stern John in the area. He took a touch to control and clinically buried his shot across Paul Rachubka into the far corner.

The woodwork hitting was evened up six minutes after half-time when John brought down a cross from the right and slammed a volley goalwards from 12 yards only to see it hit the underside of the bar and bounce back out.

Just three minutes later Saints had another golden opportunity to make it a comfortable win when they were awarded a penalty.

Jason Euell was sandwiched between two defenders in the area and referee Iain Williamson gave a very dubious-looking spot-kick.

Euell stepped up to take it, hit it cleanly but just off centre and at a saveable height. Rachubka guessed the right way and swatted it out.

So cue a very tense finish, Saints struggling to hold the ball, defending too deep and surviving by the skin of their teeth.

Davis had to save from Gary Taylor-Fletcher before the most controversial moment of the match.

Danny Coid burst down the right and was clipped by Skacel just outside of the area.

He managed to keep his footing and whip in a cross from the by-line that Taylor-Fletcher headed home.

However, Williamson had been far too hasty with his whistle and, unbeknown to many, had awarded the free kick for the trip by Skacel. The goal was ruled out and Blackpool were furious.

They had only themselves to blame moments later as Phil Ifil played Morrell onside but incredibly, with all the time in the world to control and volley, he blasted over the bar.

Adam Hammill could have added another right at the end but lifted over Rachubka and over the bar.

It didn't matter, though.

Saints had ridden their luck and got the vital three points.

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