Sharp Shooting Sinks Rovers at St Mary’s

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Doncaster Rovers were haunted yesterday by their former striker who netted twice in the second half at a sun soaked St Mary’s Stadium packed with over thirty thousand fans.

The weather rather set the tone for an extremely lethargic first half of football. There was a lack of pace and tempo with chances at a premium. The best chances fell to Frederic Piquionne who headed over in the eighth minute and El Hadji Diouf had a shot well closed down by Jack Cork.

Southampton’s best first half chances came through Rickie Lambert who had a long shot well wide and Billie Sharp misdirected a header wide of the post.

Doncaster’s hard work was undone by sloppy defending in the 58th minute where Sharp was allowed to bury a free header from a Danny Fox corner. From there it was clear who was going on to win the game. The second goal came in the 75th minute where Sharp was gifted an opportunity by centre back Beye who failed to clear his lines. Sharp finished with aplomb and left his former side in a precarious position of 23rd in the Championship.

These are the wins that could secure Premier League football for Southampton next season. It was a day when their passing was far from crisp but they added three points to the six they have achieved away from home in the past week. Southampton manager Nigel Adkins said this emphasised that they do not rely on one person to score all the goals. “We’ve got some exceptionally good goal scorers and strikers here.”The manager of Rovers, Dean Saunders, rued the fact that they had sold Sharp earlier in the season.

On a day when the sun was shining, Saints marched on towards the dreamland of the Premier League whilst Rovers are looking at League One football next season. Southampton are not playing as well as they were at the start of the season, but they are still picking up points. That is the sign of champions.

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