Top Fives: Easter classics

By SFC Media time Sat 11 Apr History
Photo by Getty Images | Rickie Lambert

Easter weekend gives us an easy link for our latest countdown! How many of these festive classics can you remember?

5. Strachan’s Saints see off Leeds
19th April 2003

One of Saints’ most successful sides of modern times was the one assembled by Gordon Strachan in the early 2000s. The Scot’s only full season at the helm yielded an eighth-place finish and an FA Cup final, and his team had just booked their place at the Millennium Stadium when they hosted struggling Leeds on Easter Saturday. Saints raced into a three-goal lead at St Mary’s, as Brett Ormerod tucked away the rebound after Anders Svensson’s shot was parried by Paul Robinson, before Ormerod turned provider for James Beattie to take his tally to 22 goals for the season. When Beattie’s powerful run down the right set up Svensson for Saints’ third, Leeds looked a beaten side, but two late goals for the visitors ensured a nervy finish for Strachan and co.

4. McLoughlin rescues a point at Maine Road
30th March 1991

This topsy-turvy clash at Man City’s former home was unexpectedly dramatic, given there were no goals in the first half. Instead, all six were scored in the second period, starting with Matt Le Tissier’s left-footed drive to break the deadlock in Saints’ favour. Clive Allen profited from the route-one approach to draw the hosts level, before Mark Brennan’s low free-kick edged them in front. Still trailing inside the final 10 minutes, Russell Osman’s spectacular volley looked to have rescued a point, only for City to retake the lead through David White’s close-range finish. Seemingly down and out, Saints saved themselves right at the end, as Alan McLoughlin found himself in the right place at the right time to ensure the spoils were shared.

3. Lambert at the double en route to promotion
9th April 2012

Saints were backed by around 6,000 travelling supporters as they made their way to London as Championship leaders with Premier League football in their sights. As was often the case, Rickie Lambert was the man who rose to the occasion, as Nigel Adkins’s men secured another vital victory on Easter Monday. First the striker headed home Danny Butterfield’s pinpoint cross late in the first half, before a crafty drop of the shoulder engineered space to fire a low shot across goalkeeper Julian Speroni with his left foot. His second goal brought up 30 for the season for the prolific Liverpudlian, and three weeks later the team were celebrating promotion.

2. Lambert free-kick inspires Chelsea win
30th March 2013

A year later, Mauricio Pochettino was just beginning to put his own stamp on the team he inherited from Adkins in January. Despite an indifferent start on the road, things were looking up at St Mary’s following eye-catching victories over Man City and Liverpool. Next up was Chelsea, then managed by Rafa Benítez, but again Saints were not overawed in their first season back in the top flight. Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring by virtue of a beautifully-constructed one-two with Steven Davis, before John Terry equalised. Parity lasted only two minutes, however, as Lambert picked his spot from a 30-yard free-kick that left Petr Čech grasping at thin air and chalked up another impressive scalp for Saints.

1. Saints leave it late at Brighton
23rd April 2011

A monumental result, without which those Championship and Premier League wins may not have been possible. Brighton were already crowned League One champions by the time Saints headed to the Withdean Stadium on Easter Saturday, with Adkins’s men chasing the second automatic promotion spot behind them. Ashley Barnes profited from an under-hit back-pass from Radhi Jaïdi to give the Seagulls a half-time lead that they held until the 84th minute. That was when Lambert’s knockdown found substitute David Connolly, whose sharp finish on the turn drew Saints level. With just a minute of normal time remaining, the visitors snatched victory when Kelvin Davis’s long free-kick was met by a looping header from José Fonte that found the net to spark wild scenes of jubilation among the mass ranks of travelling Saints fans.

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