Friday, 19 October 2012

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 Preview

Who would want to be the general public right now? Yes that’s right,the best of British sport will descend on London's ExCeL arena for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year, after the golden year of sport we’ve had, how can you choose? Here’s a run-down of the major contenders to take the gong this year, and who I think has done enough to be the king or queen of British sport.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Jessica Ennis

The golden girl of Team GB, Jessica Ennis stole the hearts of the nation this summer after winning gold in the women's heptathlon at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The 26 year old from Sheffield dominated virtually every category she competed in, securing Great Britain’s first athletics gold in front of a packed home crowd. It was meant to be for the golden girl from the steel city.

Andy Murray

Possibly the favourite if the Olympics hadn't happened, Andy Murray banished a curse that has loomed large over British tennis for more than 70 years by beating Novak Djokovic in five thrilling sets to win the US Open. The Scot became the first British tennis player to win a grand slam since Fred Perry in 1936, whose last major tournament win ironically was the US Open. That wasn't it though for Murray who, before winning his first major, took to the grass courts of Wimbledon to grab a glorious gold medal for Team GB at this year’s Olympic Games.

Ben Ainslie

The final curtain call and his finest hour, Ben Ainslie called time on his illustrious career by winning a fourth gold medal in four consecutive Olympics. The 37 year old had to fight hard to retain his title though, overcoming fierce competition from Danish sailor Jonas Hogh-Christensen. The fourth and inevitably last gold medal makes him the greatest sailing Olympian of all time. 

Mo Farah

Arguably one of the biggest British athletics tales since Kelly Holmes in Athens 2004, Somalian born Mo Farah exceeded expectations to take double gold on the track at the Olympic stadium. Farah’s first gold came in the 10,000m final on what proved to be a ‘Super Saturday’ for British athletics. Seven day later, the 29 year old took his second gold after winning in the 5,000m final, capping off one of the finest achievements from this year’s games.

Bradley Wiggins

Never before has a cyclist won the Tour de France, an Olympic gold medal, and showed so much nonchalance in the process of winning them. Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France, doing so with such style and elegance. Two weeks later and he took Time Trial gold for Team GB, rounding off a sensational summer for 'Wiggo'.

David Weir

The poster boy for Paralympic sport; David Weir showed immense power, determination and spirit to take four gold medals in this year's Paralympic games. The British wheelchair racer conquered every field he competed in, including his last and most gruelling race, the Men’s Marathon.

Winner- Jessica Ennis

Why? Because she has been the poster girl for British sport ever since our Olympic campaign started all those years back. She has been at the top of female athletics, and in doing so, inspiring a generation. She dominated each and every event she appeared in this summer; crossing the finish line with her arms raised to the delight of her, 80,000 spectators and millions more glued to their television screens. Years of preparation and dedication came down to eight events and when her time came, she grasped it with both hands.  No wonder they call her the golden girl.
JESS BRILLIANT- An incredible display of athleticism, stamina and
fortitude, Ennis made a nation oh so very proud 
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year

Usain Bolt

It was meant to be; lightning had to strike twice and boy did it. Possibly the most photographed and watched moment of the entire summer games, Usain Bolt had an audience of millions at his mercy as he swaggered onto the track at the Olympic stadium in Stratford. The world’s media covered the spectacle as one the tightest 100m finals in Olympic history, as Bolt faced training partner and fellow countryman John ‘The Beast’ Blake and American veteran Tyson Gay. The doubters doubted but for the second time in four years, Bolt blew them all away with an electrifying performance. 100m gold, shortly followed by a 200m gold and obliterating the 4x100m relay world record. A talent that only swings by once in a lifetime.

David Rudisha

The Kenyan middle distance runner not only became the Olympic and World champion, but ran the fastest 800m of all time. Five of the eight runners in the 800m final ran personal bests, but Rudisha blew away the competition in spectacular fashion. Breaking away from the pack, he saved all his energy for the home straight where he made history. London 2012 was graced by one of the greatest middle distance performances of all time.

Michael Phelps

An all American hero who stamped himself into Olympic history, Michael Phelps once again proved himself on the biggest stage of all. The 27 year old swimmer added to his huge collection of medals, winning four gold and two silvers at London 2012. Now retired as the Greatest Olympian of all time, Phelps has 18 gold medals from 22 events over three Olympic Games.

Missy Frankin

Just 17 years old, American swimmer Missy Frankin set the Aquatics Centre alight at this year’s London 2012 Games. Winning four gold and one silver, she has already equalled the record of one Michael Phelps. Her domination might be short lived though, as Frankin is weighting up her career options in either Marine Biology at College or to take to the world of professional swimming.

Felix Baumgartner

Arguable and debatable candidate but without a doubt one of the finest achievements to be accomplished by any athlete. On the 15th October 2012, Felix Baumgartner travelled 24 miles to the edge of space in a pressurised capsule. Elevated to the stratosphere by a helium balloon which was no thicker than a tenth of a sandwich bag, Baumgartner stepped out of the capsule to the view of Earth and the surrounding darkness of space. “I’m coming home” said the base-jumper as he released his grip, stepped off the podium and plummeted back down to Earth. Within 40 seconds, Felix hit 800mph, travelled faster than the speed of sound and smashed through the sound barrier. The first man to do this through obscene conditions, one slight rip of the suit and the base jumper would have freezed instantly. However he overcame the odds and landed back down safely without any major issues, smashing records and making history in the process.

Winner- Usain Bolt

Do I choose between the fastest man in the world or the fastest man in the world? A man who can run faster on ground without a lion snapping at his backside or a man who jumped from the edge of space without soiling himself? It’s a hard decision but I think it has to go to Bolt. For the past four years he has been doubted on a biblical scale. Questioned to whether he has the gut to come back stronger and to prove himself once more and retain his sprint titles, something no sprinter has ever done before. Baumgartner’s got balls, but Bolt’s got to be the king of speed. Well, I mean without jumping from the stratosphere anyway.

BRILLIANT BOLT- Usain striking his famous pose, as he successfully
defended his sprint titles at London 2012
BBC Sports Team of the Year

Chelsea Football Club

Roman Abramavich and his European dream finally came true last May, as his side went on to beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, stealing the trophy from the German’s own backyard. In the end it was left to Didier Drogba to seal the deal for the Blues, affectively being his last strike in a blue and white shirt. Roberto Di Matteo took over from the soggy ruins of Andre Villas Boas, steadied the ship and ended up taking Chelsea to a Champions League and FA Cup double. Simply marvellous.

Ryder Cup

From the depths of despair to the euphoria of the good old fashioned smash and grab. Europe looked dead and buried going into the last day of play at Medinah Country Club in Illinois but just as the US begin to celebrate what looked to be an emphatic victory, the European charged started. Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Paul Lawrie were just some of the big names that managed to make a sensational comeback to hand Europe the Ryder Cup as they beat the US 13 and a half points to 14 and a half.

British Cycling Team

The outstanding success achieved by Team GB was phenomenal. However the British Cycling Team for the second Olympic games running pulled off an unbelievable medal haul. The Velodrome witnessed some incredible scenes as cyclists like Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Laura Trott and Victoria Pendleton all managed to score gold for GB. Outside the Velodrome and Bradley Wiggins repeated his brilliant form from the Tour de France and replicated it in the Men’s Time Trial, scooping his fourth Olympic gold.

Winner-Ryder Cup

This summer of sport has been simply extraordinary. To pick a team that has done better than one another is like finding a needle in a haystack. However this year’s Ryder Cup team shocked the golfing world by snatching the Ryder Cup in such late fashion. British Golf in general has done a marvellous job for itself this year with Rory McIlroy winning his second major in two years, but the triumphant last-gasp display by the Team Europe was simply outstanding.

RY BELIEVE IN MIRACLES- Team Europe staged an incredible last day
comeback to win the Ryder Cup
BBC Sports Coach of the Year

David Brailsford

The heartbeat of Team GB’s cycling squad; David Brailsford is part of the reason to why the success rate was so high this summer. You could find this man track side shouting instructions and motivating his team. An inspirational man, as he led the British cycling team to numerous gold medals over the past three Olympic Games, making them the most decorated cycling squad in modern history.

Roberto Di Matteo

Having gone from earning promotion with West Brom to the Premier League to being Chelsea caretaker manager after the departure of Andre Villas Boas, no-one expected much from the inexperienced manager. He stabalised the team and took them to the Champions League final from nothing. They defeated German giants Bayern Munich on penalties, and then travelled to Wembley to beat Liverpool and win the FA Cup final. Needless to say Roman will be considering Roberto’s long term future at the club after this astonishing double.

Winner- David Brailsford

It’s got to be Brailsford right? The man is a living legend amongst British cycling. All the dedicated and strenuous hours have been paid off to an unbelievable scale. Gold’s have rained handsomely over Team GB’s cyclists, and huge portion of this comes down to Brailsford’s wit, knowledge and years of experience he has both on the track and on the road. A man who deserves more recognition than he gets.

THE HOLY BRAIL- The heartbeart of the Team GB's cycling squad,
Brailsford congratulates Laura Trott on winning the women's omnium
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award

Fabrice Muamba

Any football fan remembers where they were the day when Fabrice Muamba had a cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane. I was in a pub watching England vs Ireland, the final Six Nations game of the tournament. It captiavated everyone, rendering everyone speechless and lost for words. The reactions to the spectators and players on the field painted a pain staking and dire situation. Luckily, despite his heart stopping for around 78 minutes, Muamba made a steady recovery and is alive to this very day. Retired from the incident, Muamba has campaigned and raised awareness for heart tests within professional sports to reassure this never happens again. An inspirational figure.

Mark Herzlich

I know what you’re thinking. Mark who? Mark Herzlich is an American football player who three years ago was told that he might not ever be able to walk again, let alone play football. At the height of NFL stardom, Mark experienced excruciating pains in his left leg. Consulting a doctor, he was given life changing information. He was diagnosed with an rare form of bone cancer and told that the chances of him walking properly ever again were very slim. Three years have gone by and where is Mark now? He is back playing Football for the New York Giants and last March, he and the Giants won the Superbowl. From rising talent to the depths of despair, Herzlich has overcome vast odds to come back and reach the pinnacle of his career. I guess whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

Kieran Behan

Kieran is an Irish gymnast who competed in this year’s London 2012 Olympic Games. He may look like you’re average gymnast but he was restricted to a wheel chair at the age of 10 after he was diagnosed with a benign tumour in his leg. The tumour was then removed and after 15 long and painful months in a wheelchair he returned to training and now at the age of 23, ha sbroken out on the international scene. He didn't make a significant impact at this year's Olympic games, but his story deserves all the credit and recognition it deserves.

Winner- Fabrice Muamba

The images at White Hart Lane will live long in the memory. Fabrice Muamba was effectively dead for more than an hour during the time between his collapse and admission to hospital. The fact his heart stopped beating meant that no blood was able to circulate through the brain, so the risk of permanent brain damage was high. Six months on and Muamba is alive and back to a ‘regular’ lifestyle, a truly fascinating and inspirational tale.

MIRACULOUS- An incredible story of survival and the support of
the human spirit, Muamba's incident at White Hart Lane brought the
world of football together.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award

Sarah Storey

A Paralympic tale that has spanned over twenty years, Sarah Storey began her career at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Games as a swimmer where she won two golds, three silver and one bronze. Four years later she won three golds, one silver and one bronze at the Atlanta Games. At the 2000 Sydney Games she scooped two silvers and one bronze then at the 2004 Olympiad at Athens, Storey won just a solitary bronze. In a need for a change, Sarah changed from Swimming to Cycling where she continued her Paralympic success story. She debuted as a cyclist at the Beijing Games in 2008 where she won two golds. Finally last summer at London 2012 Games, took her tally of gold medals into double figures as she scooped four golds, taking her overall tally to 11. She’ll be 38 years old by the time Rio rolls round but even at the grand age of 34, she is still hoping to defend her titles in 2016 at Rio.

Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris ‘the Power’ Hoy, a motivational character for any team. Sir Chris was given the prominent role of flying the flag for Team GB at the opening ceremony to last summer’s Games. Two weeks later, Hoy rounded off his career as Team GB’s golden legend. Two more gold medals to add to the four he already secured in his last two Olympics. Like Storey, he has made himself available for selection in 2016, regardless of the fact he’ll be 40 years old.

Winner- Sarah Storey

Domination in two sports over twenty years of competition, Sarah Storey’s story is one to be admired. 11 gold medals, 8 silver medals and 3 bronze medals from swimming and cycling is an unbelievable tally. She ]started her Paralympic career when she was 14 years old at Barcelona and even though her career isn’t officially over as of yet, her achievements and contribution to Paralympic sport is hard to beat. A true Great British heroine.

SUPER STOREY- 22 medals over 20 years, a remarkable accomplishment by
an incredible athlete.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Magical Messi Makes All The Difference For Barca

Special: Lionel Messi skips past Pepe and Xabi Alonso
Lionel Messi displayed a clinical show of attacking football to help Barcelona overcome a 1-0 deficit to beat fierce rivals Real Madrid 3-1 at the Bernabeu last night.

With Christmas fast approaching, Real were presented with a sackful of chances to gift them a huge three points in the race for the title.

However they were left to suffer from poorly executed opportunities, and it was left to the magical touch of Messi to capitalise on Madrid’s demise.

Before the game, pundits were predicting Madrid to finally overhaul Barca’s dominance in the El Classico.

Although Madrid surprising took the lead through Karim Benzema with 23 seconds played, the league leaders were no match for what was an unstoppable performance from the Catalan’s midfield maestros.

The match build-up was mainly structured around the football superstars that are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and yet again one player prevailed on the big stage.

It took 5 minutes for the world footballer of the year to turn El Classico on its head. Within 4 minutes of Benzema’s opener; Messi took advantage of a Sergio Ramos slip before gliding the ball past two tackles and forcing a great save from Casillas.

Messi’s inspired presence on the game got its first reward, when yet again he unveiled a combination of divine ball control and remarkable decision making to slot a marvellous through ball to Sanchez who complimented the assist with a great finish.

The Argentine narrowly avoided a red card come the half time whistle. A yellow card for dissent was shortly followed by a trip on Alonso. The referee looked certain to pull out an inevitable second yellow, but quickly pulling away from the pocket when realising that the man who conceded the foul was the greatest player on the planet.

If Messi was sent off, then we would have been looking at completely different story.

With Fabregas taking a centre forward role in the second half, Sanchez and Messi provided the former Arsenal skipper with exceptional pace and precision crossing down the flanks.

Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta formed the three in midfield, and they supplied the wings with great passing whilst also balancing the threat of taking long range shots against Iker Casillas.

Xavi then struck the jackpot when his shot from 25 yards took a freak deflection off of Marchelo, wrong footing Casillas who scrambled to crawl the ball away but to no prevail.

Real Madrid had a number of chances to bring the game back to honours even, the pick of the bunch coming from an unmarked Ronaldo header which unbelievably failed to hit the target.

The game was then sealed by exhibition counter attacking football from the Spanish champions, as an exceptional run by full back Daniel Alves was followed with a great in-swinging ball to Fabregas who was there at the back stick to head home the sucker punch goal.

Madrid remain favourites to take the La Liga crown as they still acquire a game in hand, however Barca still have the attacking power to spoil Real’s title surge.

Xavi: We Were Far More Superior To Real Madrid

Image text here

Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes that his side were too strong for Read Madrid at the Berbabeu last night.

Xavi, who has been with the Catalonian side since the age of 11, scored one of three goals that insured Barca took all three points to bring them level with Real Madrid at the summit of the La Liga table.

Real Madrid took the lead 23 seconds into the game when Karim Benzema tapped in from close range, but three goals by Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas sealed the victory on what was a dramatic evening in Madrid.

A much needed result for the reigning champions who have only taken 3 wins from seven away games this season, and Xavi believes that Madrid were no match for the visitors.

“We were very superior to Real Madrid today.”

"We wanted to be brave here. We know that you cannot win otherwise and the team played a great match in every department. We are far superior to Real Madrid."

The 31 year old also praised keeper Victor Valdes, who gifted the Spanish league leaders a goal when a misplaced pass to Daniel Alves fell to the feet of Karim Benzema who pounced in from close range.

“Victor Valdes has been very brave in spite of the initial error and was able to recover and play very well.”

"I am very happy about everything, for the victory, and the most important thing is that collectively we played a great game and we were very superior."

However his boss Pep Guardiola quickly brought his side back down to earth, and reiterated that Madrid are still favourites to take the crown despite yet another El Classico defeat to Barcelona.

“I am delighted with the performance [but] Madrid will recover.

“To win here, you have to play a very good game and we have done that. But there is still much to do and Madrid will again be the leaders if they beat Sevilla.”

“There are no champions in December.”

Real Madrid missed a hatful of glorious chances, including an unmarked Ronaldo header that could have given Real a much needed equaliser.

After the game, Jose Mourinho expressed the significance of Ronaldo’s glaring miss from 10 yards out.

“When it was 1-0 we could have easily gone 2-0 up and maybe under normal circumstances, Cristiano [Ronaldo] put it wide.”

There was a dramatic end to the first half when Lionel Messi, who had been booked earlier on in the game for dissent, tripped Alonso. The referee looked to pull out the red card that would of saw the Argentine sent off, before quickly pulling away from his pocket when seeing the guilty face of Messi.

With the game evenly balanced, Mourinho believes that the referee could have been more lenient towards his side and sent off the Barca talisman.

“I thought Messi could have been sent off, but until I see it again I won’t say more in case I’m wrong.”

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Match Report: Real Madrid 1-3 Barcelona

cesc fabregas xavi real madrid v barcelona

A rampant second half display by reigning La Liga champions Barcelona beat league leaders Real Madrid 3-1 on an entertaining evening at the Bernabeu.

Three goals by Sanchez, Xavi and Fabregas was more than enough to end Real Madrid’s 10 league victory streak, and cut the deficit down to equal terms at the top of the La Liga table.

A close range goal by Benzema was cancelled out by a Sanchez strike close to half time. With a deflected strike by Xavi straight after half time, a diving header by Cesc Fabregas sealed the Catalonian’s third away victory in seven games.

Real Madrid got off to the perfect start, after Barca keeper Victor Valde’s attempted pass to Eric Abidal fell to the feet of Di Maria whose shot was blocked, falling perfectly to Ozil whose volley was deflected into the path of Karim Benzema who poked home from close range.

Ronaldo then squandered the chance to put the league leader further ahead when a Benzema run down the left wing was squared to the Madrid talisman who selfishly shot wide instead of setting up Di Maria who was clear on goal.

Lionel Messi started to make his way into the game and a great run down the right flank forced a great save by stopper Iker Casillas. Barca looked the more likely to force the equaliser.

With the game closing in on half time, Barcelona got their reward. Lionel Messi capatalised on a Sergio Ramos slip, gliding the ball past two Madrid tackles and slotting a through ball to Sanchez who placed the ball past Casillas to give the Chilean his 5th goal of the season.

Shortly after the equaliser, Messi was punished with a yellow card after arguing with the referee over a Pepe foul on Sanchez. With the first half closing in, the Argentine could have easily been sent for an early shower, after a late challenge on Xabi Alonso caused the referee to reach for his pocket, before then pulling away from what looked like an imminent sending off.

The Bernabeu was then stunned, after a long range Xavi strike was deflected by Marchelo, leaving Iker Casillas wrong footed and scrabbling to crawl away the ball which inevitably rolled into the net.

With Barca leading at the Bernabeu, Cristiano Ronaldo was presented with a glorious opportunity to tie the match when an Alonso cross was headed wide by Madrid’s top goal scorer.

A sucker punch goal ruled out any hint of comeback, when a deep cross by Daniel Alves was met at the back stick by Fabregas who dived in to head in his 8th goal of the season, putting clear daylight between the two clubs.

Mourinho put on Gonzalo Higuain to boost Real’s attacking options and a Sergio Ramos cross evaded the stretching foot of the Argentian striker, preventing him from bringing Madrid back in the game.

With 90 minutes fast approaching, Barcelona kept a stern back lie as well as attacking with presence to earn themselves their first El Classico win of the season.

Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi

The eyes of the watching world will be on the Bernabeu tonight, as Real Madrid look to extend their lead to six points over Barcelona in this season’s first El Classico encounter.

The first meeting between the fierce rivals this season, Madrid lead Barcelona by three points at the top of the table with a game in hand. This game see’s the Catalonians arrive at Santiago Bernabeu at a bad time, as Real have scored 28 goals in their last six games at home.

Barcelona show exception home form too; with 9 games, 39 goals and none conceded keeping them hot on the heels of the league leaders.

However their away form isn’t one to savour, as they have only taken two victories from six games having suffered a surprise defeat to Getafe in their last venture from the Nou Camp.

Jose Mourinho goes into the game with just one injury concern, as centre back Ricardo Carvalho has pulled a ligament in his right knee furthering him to the sidelines after overcoming back problems.

Pep Guardiola has no injury concerns ahead of the crucial tie; however he will be looking towards one player in particular to continue his impressive scoring record this season.

Lionel Messi has, yet again, been a one man show for Barca this season with 17 goals, 10 goals ahead of second club top goal scorer Cesc Fabregas.

Although the world footballer of the year’s continued supremacy of Spanish football has left the world in awe, it has been Madrid’s talisman who has matched the Argentine step by step.

Cristiano Ronaldo has matched Messi with 17 goals this season, along with six assists this season. With his incredible form in front of goal resembling his performance last season, which saw the Portuguese winger strike 40 goals in all competitions, Ronaldo has played an enormous part in Madrid’s winning run which has seen them win ten league games in a row.

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has taken account of Madrid’s incredible form, and has seen a big difference from last season in Mourinho’s men.

“They are stronger than they were last year”, said the Spanish football manager.

“They know each other better, they have spent more time together and know what their coach [Mourninho] demands of them.”

“Above all they defend well, be quick in transitions and pay attention to factors like the circulation of the ball.”

“It will not be easy because they have a very intense game.”

Jose Mourinho has refused to speak to the media towards the build up of El Classico, leaving the media responsibilities to assistant coach Aitor Karanka who believes that Real will go all out to win.

“It’s not just a match like any other. But we are not going to change our way of working whatever the result is tomorrow.”

“We could have a lead of four, six or nine points that would not damage our principle. We have to go after the three points like we always do.”

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Match Report: Adkins Focuses On Next Game

Nigel Adkins Nigel Adkins of Scunthorpe United looks on during the Pre Season Friendly between Scunthorpe United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Glanford Park on August 4, 2009 in Scunthorpe, England.

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins has praised his squad for coming from behind to take three points against Hull City yesterday evening, but says that he isn’t interested in breaking any records.

Two second half goals from Adam Lallana and Guly Do Prado secured their 21st consecutive home win in all competitions. The last time they were defeated at home was nearly 10 months ago when Premier League champions Manchester United came from behind to win 2-1 to reach the last 16 of the Carling Cup.

However Adkins is ignoring the record books and focusing on Southampton’s serge into the Premier League.

"I'm trying not to look at records to be honest. It's great that we have got the momentum of winning games at home, and when that unfortunately comes to an end then we will take a look at the record books. In the meantime we will keep taking one game at a time and tonight I am delighted with a big three points.

He also applauded his side’s response to going a goal down, after going in at half time 1-0 down to the visitors.

"In the second half we have come out and what a great ten minutes that was.The crowd has got right behind the players and the players got the crowd going and that has got us two great goals and a good victory.”
“We've gone behind and then gone ahead and won, so it's a great three points and I'll analyse the performance tomorrow and as a team on Thursday morning and then move on.” Tonight I will take all the positives from it because we got a great three points."
Adkins changed around the tactics during half time, and with the introduction of skilful winger Steve De Ridder, saw a much more positive attacking display from his men.
"In the second half we have changed it and played with two wide players, we turned down several opportunities in the first half to put the ball into Rickie who was crying out for it, so that's why we made the change.
“That's what you can do when you have a squad because we have the impact off the bench to try and change things around.
Despite a stubborn and good performance by Hull City, their caretaker manager Nick Barnaby left Southampton bitterly disappointed.
"It's frustrating. We have to eradicate the silly mistakes. We're nearly there and we will get there. We need to work on some areas and have to iron out the mistakes. For 80 minutes I thought we played well but we were undone by 10 minutes of a lack of concentration."
Barnaby also criticised referee Oliver Langford’s decision to punish Robbie Brady with a straight red card after he caught Dan Harding late in a challenge with ten minutes remaining of the match.
"I don't think it was a sending off. I've looked at it again and I don't agree with the decision."

Match Report: Southampton 2-1 Hull City

saints hull

Southampton have extended their run of home victories to a record breaking 21 games, as they came from a goal behind to beat a resilient Hull City 2-1 at the St Mary’s Stadium tonight.

Two goals from Guly Do Prado and Adam Lallana was more than enough to see off the Tigers, after Robert Koren scored the opener towards the end of the first half.

Tributes were made to the late Gary Speed before kick-off, as a minutes applause was conducted in remembrance for the late ex-Leeds and Newcastle midfielder.

Saints started on the front foot, after snappy midfield play led to Morgan Schneiderlin wasting an opportunity to take an early lead when his shot from close range was spilled by Hull keeper Peter Gulasci but gathered quickly.

Hull put a lot of pressure on Southampton’s back four, with full back Liam Rosenior’s pace causing a lot of damage down the right flank.

With the half coming to the end, the Saints had a number of chances to break the deadlock, with Guly Do Prado squandering several headers wide of the target.

However Hull’s patience and hard work paid off, when a fine cross from Tom Cairney was met by the head of Slovenian international Robert Koren, who slotted the ball into the top corner to claim his 4th goal of the season.

Southampton returned to the field after the half time interval looking fresher and more determined. Looking comfortable on the ball, they threatened Hull’s defence immensely and within three minutes of the restart, they got their reward.

The introduction to crowd favourite Steve De Ridder proved influential, as an early cross by the Belgian winger was headed on by Lambert, falling to the fluorescent boot of Guly Do Prado who made no mistake in blasting the ball high into the net from 12 yards out.

The equaliser gave the Reds the confidence boost they strived for 48 minutes, and they looked like a side capable of attacking with intent.

The winner was in sight for the league leaders, and an adventurous run by Saints full back Frazier Richardson was complemented by a fine cross, and who else to fly in but Adam Lallana whose precise header found the bottom corner.

Hull pressed for an equaliser, and goalscorer Robert Koren curled a shot just wide of the post to scare the home supporters.

The final 20 minutes proved to be a tense period for the Southampton faithful, but on the 79th minute a high tackle by Hull midfielder Robbie Brady on Dan Harding meant the youngster was heading for an early shower. A straight red produced by referee Oliver Langford, the Saints gained control of the match to see out the stubborn visitors.

A hard earned victory meant that Southampton would remain at the top of the table, as West Ham beat promotion contenders Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside. The defeat meant Hull City would drop three places to 10th, losing vital points as they push for the play-offs.