Saints’ comparative success or otherwise this season is likely to be determined by tight games against similar sides.

After narrowly avoiding relegation last time out the aim is for a more serene campaign without the stress of constantly looking over the shoulder for weeks, even months, on end.

That’s not easy to achieve.

The league’s top seven are likely to take their seemingly inevitable places over the coming weeks as the games played start to reach double figures.

Maybe one will fall out of there, most likely Everton, but chances are they will cement their spots in one order or another in due course.

That leaves the other 13.

For some there will be real success. Eighth place or better, and possibly a place in Europe.

For three others it will all end in relegation.

And, what’s more, the margins are very fine.

The Premier League is packed full of good sides with experienced and competent international footballers. Picking a winner or loser over a season is difficult, and over a single match is even tougher.

It is almost certainly not the odd shock result against a top six or seven team that will produce a successful season, but instead consistency against those teams outside of that bracket.

With that in mind the game against Brighton was important, as was the win over Crystal Palace before the international break.

Given Saints have away games at Liverpool and Wolves up next before a visit from Chelsea before the next fortnight off they needed points on the board. They got one but it should have been three.

To fail to win at home, again, and from two goals up is beyond frustrating. Struggling to win at St Mary’s – that’s one in 14 top flight games at home now – and more points lost from a winning position is starting to become a worrying trend.

It needn’t have happened either.

It would not have been a win to match the razzmatazz of the fireworks, light show and flames of the pre-match entrance – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s wonder goal aside – but it was gritty, had moments of quality and no little spirit which was to be commended.

Mark Hughes’ unchanged team for the third consecutive league match brought welcome stability while the combinations down the spine of the team showed signs of gelling together.

But in a game tightly contested mistakes at both ends in terms of missed chances when dominating the first half and conceding goals when needing to see the game out were punished. It’s what makes the difference.