What a season that was!
So it’s farewell to not just League 1 but also the JPT and rounds 1 & 2 of the F.A. Cup. Actually I thought L1 was better than its detractors make out, and don’t expect the football to be in any way superior in the Championship, with its big centre forwards and even bigger centre halfs. It would have been nice to have emerged as champions, but we ended up just 3 points adrift of a club that seemed to have the title sewn up as early as March – and with a better goal difference than BHA as well.
Statistically, the turning point for us was the home defeat by Brentford on December 11. Only Manchester United have toppled Saints at home in 2011 and only Notts County have taken League points off us at St. Mary’s since that Brentford game. The visit to Dagenham on January 3 was the first fixture on the road in 6 weeks and the away record for 2011 was P: 15, W: 9, D: 3, L: 3. Overall there were 12 away wins and only 7 defeats, plus 3 at home in an indifferent start to the campaign. The only game the team lost despite scoring was at Carlisle, so every other goal contributed to a win or at least a point – and we really cut down on points dropped through draws.
Rochdale ‘doubled’ the Saints but everyone else was beaten at least once. Milton Keynes can claim some superiority, by 4 goals to 3 with the points equal, and Carlisle and Tranmere can claim parity. The rest were second best to greater or lesser extents. All in all a good season, I’d say!
That only leaves the Man of the Match summary. This isn’t intended to reveal a player of the year, as it’s nice to reward individual performances that were above expectation, and also involvement in moments that turned a match. Anyway, the results were:
1st. Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert (both 7)
3rd. Lee Barnard (6)
4th. Morgan Schneiderlin, Richard Chaplow (both 5)
6th. Alex Chamberlain, Danny Butterfield, Dean Hammond (all 3)
9th. Kelvin Davis, Dan Harding, Guly Do Prado, Jonathan Forte, Jose Fonte (all 2)
Rest: Ryan Dickson, Aaron Martin, Jason Puncheon, David Connolly (all 1)