SAINTS 1 – PARMA 0
Just over 15,000 fans provided up laying in their gardens for the greenhouse heat of St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon however it was simply as draining on the gamers as the spectators.
The first half was a fairly high tempo affair which Saints had the much better of however in the 2nd duration the energy had quite clearly been sapped from their legs and it was a quite drab 45 minutes.
For their part, Italian Serie A side Parma put on a decent showing and enhanced after half time, slowing the game down in a way that Saints will have to end up being familiar with dealing with if they are to go far in this season’s UEFA Cup.
With James Beattie resting a minor injury to his ideal ankle, Brett Ormerod and Jo Tessem led the attack and linked much better than they have done prior to.
Tessem hardly ever threatened the goal himself however had the ability to keep his back to it and lay the ball off for teammates.
As early as the very first minute Rory Delap was just hustled out when lining up an effort from that source.
In 3rd minute Tessem laid on an opportunity for Ormerod which he struck well on the half volley however directly at the keeper.
Debutant Neil McCann, who today commemorates his 29th birthday, came close on 17 minutes with a shot that struck the side netting but Saints broke the deadlock just a minute later on.
McCann’s cross from the left was held up inside the location by Tessem and rolled back into the course of the oncoming Delap.
The Irishman drilled a low shot from 20 backyards which flew into the bottom corner.
There were then a couple of minutes of threat for Saints when Adriano’s header was ruled out for offside and Paul Jones had to come down wisely to stop Hidetoshi Nakata’s effort.
However Saints completed the half the stronger as Ormerod almost got a clear sight of objective and Matt Oakley curled a free-kick simply over the bar.
After that moment half time came and truly there was not a lot more to report.
The blistering heat had drained pipes everybody and it was too much to ask for a lively second half.
Parma’s Brazilian striker Adriano offered the most significant goal hazard with two free-kicks.
One was bravely obstructed by Anders Svensson while the other was brilliantly held by Jones.
On 66 minutes Adriano’s header likewise needed Jones to handle it, however that was it for goal action from either side in the 2nd half.
The video game was a good exercise for Saints but the heat made it far from perfect preparation for the season. In fact, it was simply too hot for football.
Gordon Strachan and his men need to be seeking to the skies and praying that this unseasonally heat does not last till next week.
Fans of high energy football will be hoping the same.