AS this week marks the 20th anniversary of the last Premier League game at the Dell – the Echo looks back at pictures of the last floodlit match played on the sacred turf.

The date was April 2, 2001 when Saints hosted Ipswich on the historically important date for the club.

It was all set up for a grand occasion with Ted Bates receiving the Freedom of the City on the pitch.

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But the gravitas of the day may have become too much for the Saints as they took a 3-0 thumping.

The new England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson made his first visit and caretaker manager Stuart Gray received a magnificent and heartfelt ovation in the wake of Glenn Hoddle's walk-out in favour of White Hart Lane – then it all went flat.

Saints just did not play. They were outfought, out-thought and outclassed by a very efficient Ipswich side.

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And yet this was the same group of players which had not conceded a league goal anywhere since New Year's Day and had not let one in at home since November 25, 2000. Another clean sheet would have equalled Arsenal's Premiership record of eight successive shut-outs, but it all went horribly wrong.

Beforehand all the talk was of a late push for Europe, but afterwards fans slunk out grateful that they already had enough points for safety. 

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Such are the fickle fortunes of football.

Thankfully the last Premier League and friendly matches at the Dell played out in very different ways. More to feature on those matches in the Daily Echo this week.

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The pictures in the gallery above show the action, Ted Bates being honoured, the fans and more.

What are your memories of floodlit games at the Dell? Share them with us in the comments below.

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