It was hardly the finale to January that Saints fans had dreamt of.

When supporters awoke yesterday morning there was perhaps a tinge of anticipation and expectancy. It was a big day for the club.

There was every chance that by the time it came to slumber again that everybody would know a lot more about what awaits Saints for the rest of the season.

The first big question mark surrounded whether Saints could pull off a dramatic deadline day deal for Quincy Promes. The answer was that Spartak held out and it didn’t happen, leaving the meaningful January business as the sale of Virgil van Dijk and the capture of Guido Carrillo.

Saints now know what they have to work with for the remainder of the season.

Then of course there was the small matter of a game against Brighton.

The two clubs are certainly relegation rivals and it felt like a match Saints really needed to win to have any realistic hope of extracting themselves from a few months of purely battling the drop.

Anything less and the script was written for a tense finale to the campaign.

And, so, that is the way it is to be after a 1-1 draw.

It could have been worse, Brighton did lead at half time, but it also could have been so much better.

The fixture list is starting to look ominous for Saints now with the winnable looking home matches rather thin on the ground.

If there was the suspicion that Saints really needed four points from the Brighton and West Brom double header, the equation is now quite clear heading to The Hawthorns at the weekend.

Saints can take comfort from the fact there are so many teams embroiled in this fight, but still with just four league wins in the season it needs a turnaround.

For Pellegrino, too, the pressure is well and truly on again.

The match itself was what you might have expected. Both teams knew how much was on the line and didn’t want to lose, but in truth it was probably there for the taking had either been a little braver, or perhaps confident, or maybe incisive.

The impetus on that front really was on Saints.

Brighton almost got the ideal start as within the first minute Glenn Murray’s flick-on gave Pascal Gross the chance to square the ball to Jose Izqueirdo just inside the area but he skied his effort.

Up the other end Oriol Romeu produced the same end result with a header from 12 yards after a James Ward-Prowse corner.

Brighton got the lead on 14 minutes from the penalty spot.

Izquierdo laid the ball off to Solly March, who twisted and turned in the box and was brought down by the trailing leg of Wesley Hoedt, giving referee Mike Dean little option.

Murray stepped up and coolly sent Alex McCarthy the wrong way.

Saints had the greater pressure in the remainder of the half but chances were hard to come by.

Ryan Bertrand hit the side netting with a surprise shot from a difficult angle, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s persistence almost paid dividends as he closed down Brighton keeper Matt Ryan whose clearance hit the Saints man and deflected back against the crossbar.

Bertrand might have done better two minutes before the break after a cute cutback corner from Ward-Prowse gave the left back a chance to shoot first time unmarked from just inside the area but he put over.

Brighton’s only other notable first half attacking moment saw Murray’s near post shot saved by McCarthy.

It felt as if Pellegrino had to do something positive at the break, and while in the past he has been criticised for refusing, this time he acted.

On came Sofiane Boufal and Guido Carrillo for Romeu and Tadic and Saints went with virtually a 4-4-2, and the unusual sight of two strikers pretty much in tandem up top.

It was more of a slow burner than a dramatic immediate impact, but it was at least trying something different.

Jack Stephens, fresh from a first Saints goal in the FA Cup win over Watford, might have levelled things up when he had a free header eight yards out nine minutes after the restart but he put wide.

However, he was on target and equalised on 64 minutes.

Ward-Prowse delivered a dangerous low inswinging left wing free kick and Stephens produced a wonderful piece of improvisation to make the deftest of flicked connections as the ball went through his legs in the six yard box and diverted it into the bottom corner.

It was really only Saints who were pushing for a winner with Brighton seemingly content to try and head back home with a solid point.

Hojbjerg hit a solid shot from distance straight down the middle but it was fielded by Ryan.

Steven Davis did likewise deep into stoppage time but again Ryan was there and the game duly ended in a draw that was clearly far more satisfactory for Brighton than it was for Saints.

This is likely to be a tense few months now.