SAINTS 2 - MILLWALL 0

Daily Echo: STARLET: Debutant David McGoldrick. STARLET: Debutant David McGoldrick.

JUST a few short weeks ago it was pointed out to the Saints squad that plenty of them still had a lot to play for.

How they have responded.

Following the dismal defeat at Sheffield United on March 25, the anger was clear to see in George Burley.

Not only that but also disappointment as it appeared his side had virtually switched off for the summer.

They were heading for a relegation battle.

At that stage - with Saints just six points ahead of the drop zone - he proved what a cute operator he was by saying the right things at the right time.

He warned his players their performances weren't good enough and reminded a few others they won't necessarily be around next season unless things improved.

It had the desired effect, and then some.

Yesterday's 2-0 win over Millwall made it four league wins in a row for the first time this season - indeed for the first time in the league since February 2001 - and pushed the team into the top half of the Championship table.

It might not mean that much when push comes to shove, but it's another milestone on the Burley road to recovery.

And now he even has the luxury of playing a couple of youngsters and still getting a win.

Gareth Bale didn't look like a 16-year-old making his first team debut.

The young Welsh left-back was composed and in control. You got the impression he could offer plenty more getting forward when he gets himself a bit more confidence.

David McGoldrick, the 18-year-old who has scored 39 goals for the reserves and under-18s this season, also started up front.

He found the going a little tougher but still showed a few glimpses that suggest he's one for the future.

Of the others with points to prove, Chris Baird was again outstanding.

He started at right back but was quickly moved into the centre when Darren Powell was forced off.

Baird was superb in both positions and, with his form of late having kept Alexander Ostlund out of the side, he is stating a real case for a new contract to be offered this summer.

Saints were dominant for the majority of the match against a rock bottom Millwall side that played a fairly one dimensional game.

They took the lead after just 13 minutes through Kenwyne Jones.

McGoldrick fed Jones through on goal only for Matt Lawrence to come across and clumsily bring the forward man down.

Like Rasiak at the weekend, the penalty winner took the spot kick himself.

Jones, making his first start since that dismal loss at Bramall Lane, looked confident and sidefooted his penalty low and to the keeper's left, sending Colin Doyle the wrong way.

Jones should have doubled the lead on the half hour mark when he got clean through again.

He made the right decision in trying to lift the ball over Doyle but got it slightly wrong and the ball went over.

Millwall didn't threaten at all in the first period, leaving the only other highlight of the half being physio Jim Joyce.

After a clash of heads he and the Millwall physio both raced on but the Lions man was winning the race to get there first, much to amusement of the St Mary's fans.

Once the treatment was over, the Northam End embarrassed Joyce with a chorus of 'Jimmy, give us a wave.' He duly obliged before heading back sheepishly to a standing ovation from the subs and coaches on the bench.

The second half saw Millwall make a couple of chances, the best seeing Ben May head against the bar.

But it was Saints pushing on for a killer second, eventually resorting to playing three up front.

Claus Lundekvam had a header cleared off the line before Jones' follow-up was turned over.

Ricardo Fuller missed a great chance on 64 minutes when he shot wide after being played through on goal.

But he made no mistake deep into injury time, scoring the second with virtually the last kick.

Every Millwall player, including Doyle, had gone up for a corner.

Saints cleared the ball high into the Millwall half and Fuller chased onto it, raced clear and sidefooted the ball into an empty net for his fourth goal in as many games.

It's just another example of the sort of response that Burley wanted.

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