THERE was enough sub-plots in the Danny Wallace testimonial game to fill a novel - the return of Gordon Strachan, Ian Branfoot watching from the stands, Matt Le Tisser v Antti Niemi - but last night was all about Danny.

The galaxy of stars who turned out for him, not to mention the fans who cheered every touch and chanted the names of their heroes, was testament to Danny's impact on the club and what these kind of matches have traditionally been about.

And while there was a fun element to the game, it never descended into a farce and the football was always entertaining to watch with heroes of yesteryear doing battle with the current crop of talent.

Fittingly, the first decent chance of the evening fell to a Wallace, Rodney, whose flicked header was kept out by Niemi, making his first appearance since being awarded the player of the season trophy.

He was greeted by chants of 'we've got the best keeper in the world" from the Saints faithful.

Many of the biggest cheers of the evening on the field were predictably saved for Matt Le Tissier, who delighted the crowd with his showboating from the off.

His waistline may have expanded beyond all recognition but there was no mistaking his genius on the field - still as wonderful as ever.

The first goal of the night came from a current Saints star - David Prutton.

Hot on the heels of his first goal for the club at Charlton on Saturday, the midfielder rifled home from 25 yards after nine minutes and almost looked embarrassed to have done so.

There was an unlikely moment of skill on 19 minutes from the least known player of the evening, Sean Bennett, who won a reverse auction to take his place amongst the superstars at St Mary's.

He flicked the ball up on the edge of the area and his half-volley was turned wide by the most theatrical of stops from Saints' goalkeeping coach David Coles - Niemi probably won't spend too long asking for advice on how to smile for the cameras on the way down as Coles did!

There was also one Saints legend in a suit and on the bench for the night with Lawrie McMenemy having to make the difficult decisions on who should play for the All Stars XI -- and he gave the crowd what they wanted when the Northam End demanded 'Lawrie, give us a wave.'

If ever you wanted a battle of the legends, Le Tissier v Niemi from the penalty spot was it.

After Rod Wallace was brought down by the Saints keeper, there was only one man to take the spot-kick for the All Star XI .

And Le Tissier, with his left foot, found the top corner of the net to make it 1-1 with 23 minutes gone.

Le Tissier again came close with a spectacular long range effort just after the half-hour mark which Niemi turned over the bar - proving he, too, can smile for the cameras!

There were a few contenders for miss of the night and, after Coles had superbly caught Prutton's shot from distance and released Micky Adams, Cyrille Regis put his name forward as the top contender with a cheeky back flick which trickled wide of the post from five yards.

At half-time there were plenty of changes for both sides which gave things an interesting twist.

But the biggest introduction of the night, after Danny Wallace, was reserved for Gordon Strachan who entered the fray on 58 minutes.

It was the former boss's first visit to St Mary's since he quit the manager's job in February and he got a standing ovation - exactly a year to the day since he led Saints out in the FA Cup final in Cardiff.

The whole ground stood to a man to applaud him and chant his name while every time he touched the ball he was cheered - a sign of how loved and revered he still he is at the club.

The first goal of the second half came for the All Stars on 64 minutes.

Jimmy Case played in Regis and this time the former England man made no mistake in firing home past Alan Blayney to put his side into a 2-1 lead.

But Saints were level minutes later when a flicked near post corner was headed home at the far post by Brett Ormerod.

After Ormerod again went close, Strachan almost gave the crowd what they wanted after 72 minutes with a long distance drive that took a deflection and spun just wide.

Moments later he was through again but couldn't quite convert in a goalmouth scramble.

Chances continued to come for both sides with Saints hitting the bar and, with five minutes left, a Strachan diving header was just kept out by Blayney's legs.

But rather fittingly on an evening like this, the game finished with honours even.

And so it was Danny Wallace who took the plaudits - he was rightly the real winner on the night.

SAINTS: Antti Niemi (Alan Blayney 45), Paul Telfer (Dennis Rofe 82), Darren Kenton (Mike Williamson 45), Fitz Hall (Graham Baker 45), Stephen Crainey (Dave Puckett 45), Fabrice Fernandes (Yoann Folly 45) (Steve Williams 68),, Steve Williams (Chris Baird 25), David Prutton (Sean Bennett 76), Leandre Griffit (Steve Baker 45), James Beattie (Brett Ormerod 32), Sean Bennett (Aaron Davies 45).

ALL STARS XI: David Coles, Viv Anderson (Paul Parker 32) (Ray Wallace 65), Mark Wright (Kevin Moore 58), Kevin Bond (Russell Osman 45) (Rueben Agboola 75), Denis Irwin (Francis Benali 45), Matt Le Tissier (Jimmy Case 45) (Jimmy Ball 80), Jean Tigana (Clayton Blackmore 58) (Tim Flowers 87), Paul Ince (Gordon Strachan 58), Nick Holmes (Micky Adams 25) (George Lawrence 45) (Rod Wallace 79), Mark Hughes (Cyrille Regis 41) (Ian Baird 65) (Remi Wallace 88), Rod Wallace (Luther Blissett 41) (Steve Moran 65).