Football: Marsden consigns Hoddle to history

by STEVEN BAKER, Daily Mail

Newcastle 1
Gallacher 26
Southampton 1
Pahars 80

Southampton midfielder Chris Marsden had allowed his feet to do the talking for 90 minutes when his verbal skills came to the fore.

After jibes about Southampton's return to their usual role as perennial relegation strugglers in the wake of Glenn Hoddle's departure, Marsden delivered a dig at the critics and the Saints' former manager.

'People have said certain things since Glenn left but we're pleased for Stuart Gray and I think we've made a point for him,' said Marsden.

'Glenn is a very good coach but it's about the 11 players on the pitch and we've been playing well for a few weeks.'

That Southampton, who have not won in six matches since Hoddle moved to Tottenham in March, deserved to beat fragile Newcastle was not in doubt.

A Newcastle victory would have been a travesty, such was Saints' dominance in the second half, and an equaliser to Kevin Gallacher's opener was threatened well before Marian Pahars headed home Kevin Davies's cross nine minutes from time.

The Latvia striker's goal was his third against Newcastle this season and Saints' first in 564 minutes of football. It spared Hassan Kachloul's embarrassment after his glaring miss had seemed to give Newcastle a reprieve.

Gray, Southampton's caretaker manager who has conducted himself with great dignity since taking over from Hoddle, was entitled to feel proud of his players' performance.

He said: 'After going five games without scoring, I don't get too excited when we have one-on-ones any more, and I had a feeling of disbelief when I saw Marian's header hit the net.'

For Newcastle, the season cannot end quickly enough and the prospect of qualifying for the Inter-Toto Cup now seems unrealistic.

Gallacher had given them the lead after 25 minutes when he lifted the ball over Paul Jones following an error by Tahar El Khalej. But Southampton refused to be cowed and were kept at bay only by a series of fine saves from Shay Given.

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