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Sky Bet Championship

St. Mary's Stadium (ATT 32,363) 28th April 2012 - Kick off 12:30 Ref: A Taylor

So'ton Southampton vs Coventry City Coventry

So'ton 4

B Sharp (16)
J Fonte (19)
J Hooiveld (59)
A Lallana (63)


Southampton are promoted

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 2:20 pm, April 28th 2012

  1. Southampton 4 Coventry 0. Final whistle goes early. Fans spill onto the pitch and Saints players are swamped. The party can start now. Southampton are promoted and will be playing Premier League football in 2012/13. Congratulations to them.

  2. 90+2

    Assistant referee on the pitch, which might suggest we are close to the end.

  3. 90+1

    Coventry not bothering to close down now. Seconds allowed to tick down. Southampton players and coaching staff all huddled together on the sidelines.

  4. Two minutes of stoppage time to be played.

  5. 90

    De Ridder with a pass towards Puncheon, who is arriving from deep. He hesitates for a moment and the ball ends up running past him. Coventry can't get Roberts clear down the middle.

  6. 89

    Southampton running down the clock now. Schneiderlin spreads the ball wide to De Ridder, but he is forced backwards. Coventry can't break out of their own half. Not a lot of point in playing time added on.

  7. 88

    Guly and Puncheon with one-twos aplenty in the middle of the park. Coventry eventually forced to close them down and make an effort to get the ball back.

  8. 87

    McDonald does well to spin in a crowded area and find a yard of space. He shoots from a tight angle, but down the throat of Davis. He has battled bravely this afternoon.

  9. 86

    Fans already edging their way down to the edge of the pitch. Have a feeling the earlier pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Stewards doing their best to form a human shield.

  10. 85

    Clarke does well to stop Guly from barging his way down the middle. Corner to the Saints. Schneiderlin delivers and picks out Fonte. He can't net for the second time as his back post header sails high and wide.

  11. 84

    McDonald able to force a cross into the six-yard box. Hooiveld slips, but is still able to bundle the ball behind. Baker picks out Norwood from the corner, but he swings at fresh air.

  12. 83

    Lallana makes way for Puncheon.

  13. 83

    Lambert yet to get on the scoresheet. He plays a nice one-two with Schneriderlin, but fires straight at Murphy.

  14. 82

    Boos ring out around St Mary's Nothing to do with events on the field - the supporters have been reminded to stay off the field at the final whistle. Those in the stands want to get involved.

  15. 81

    Poor choice by De Ridder as he tries to cut the ball back to the edge of the box. He had plenty to aim at in the middle and should have just hung it up for an aerial challenge.

  16. 80

    Club record attendance today, as you might expect. Over 32,000 witnessing Southampton's promotion charge. The Saints have put on a show.

  17. 79

    De Ridder keen to get in on the act as he pulls the trigger from 25 yards. He drags his effort badly and it trickles well wide of the post. Not the best effort of the day, but worth a try.

  18. 78

    Murphy with a powerful punch clear as he comes to meet a hanging cross from Butterfield. Lambert was ghosting in behind him ready to pounce.

  19. 77

    Davis with a loose pass out towards Fonte. McDonald is sniffing around and almost picks the Saints' pocket. Again, luck not on Coventry's side as Fonte just about manages to poke clear.

  20. 76

    Sharp is giving a standing ovation as he is replaced by De Ridder.

  21. 75

    Lambert with another powerful header, as he holds off Cranie. The ball drifts towards Murphy and Sharp, and the Coventry keeper gets there first.

  22. 74

    Coventry still trying to play as much football as possible. Southampton not pressing quite so quickly now. Jeffers hangs a high cross into the box, but gets far too much on it.

  23. 73

    Coventry's resources being pushed to the limit, but blooding youngsters now will benefit them in the long term. As I speak, Baker forces Davis into a decent save. Another corner to the visitors, which comes to nothing.

  24. 72

    Willis' afternoon is indeed over as he makes way for Henderson. You guessed it, another youngster in the Coventry ranks.

  25. 71

    Willis still struggling with cramp. Big afternoon for the youngster. He has done well to be fair to him.

  26. 70

    Butterfield with a dangerous ball into the six yard box. Willis does well to hack clear from in front of his own goal. He could have sliced the ball anywhere. Willis goes down again and stays down. He might have to go off.

  27. 69

    McDonald the only Coventry player inside the Saints half as a long ball is lumped forward. Damage limitation from the Sky Blues now.

  28. 68

    Southampton knocking the ball around with purpose again, until Fonte plays a loose pass. The Saints look like they want more. The fans are demanding it.

  29. 67

    Hussey with another good ball from the left. Roberts nods down to Norwood, who sees a well-struck volley from 25 yards cannon into a host of bodies.

  30. 66

    Hussey swings a dangerous delivery into the box, but Coventry have no-one in there. Fox, unaware of that fact, puts the ball behind. Hooiveld hammers the corner clear at the second time of asking.

  31. 65

    Andy Thorn still barking out instructions, but this game has gone. Coventry have tried their best, but they have come up short. Southampton have looked every inch promotion winners.

  32. 64

    Southampton going up in style. They look a real threat going forward and will be relishing the opportunity to test themselves against the best in the business.

  33. 63

    GOAL SOUTHAMPTON - LALLANA. The Saints are maching into the Premier League. Lallana gets his name on the scoresheet. Lambert wins a towering header and as the ball bobbles across the face of goal, Lallana hammers into the roof of the net.

  34. 62

    Roberts slips in behind, but he pushed Fonte over in the process and concedes a free-kick. Not Coventry's afternoon. 'Stand up if you're going up' scream the vast majority of those in attendance.

  35. 61

    Sharp looks like he will be okay to continue. The regular breaks in play have allowed the crowd to raise the volume again. Party atmosphere at St Mary's.

  36. 60

    High challenge by Thomas on Sharp goes unpunished. The Saints striker stays down and requires medical attention. He was caught on the shin.

  37. 59

    GOAL SOUTHAMPTON - HOOIVELD. Coventry fail to clear their lines at a corner and are punished. Sharp sees a shot blocked, but the ball breaks kindly for Hooiveld to force home from close range. Game over and promotion secured.

  38. 58

    Willis is down and requires a breather. He looks to be suffering with a touch of cramp. First start this afternoon and he is feeling the pace.

  39. 57

    Lambert with a brilliant ball over the top for Sharp. He takes it in his stride and moves goalwards. He goes down before getting a shot away, but gets nothing. Southampton forced to settle for a corner.

  40. 56

    Fox with a long run down the Southampton left. The ball is always running away from him, though, and he can't catch up with it. Willis sees it safely behind.

  41. 55

    Keep ball at the moment by the hosts. They eventually free Cork into space, He has Sharp to aim at in the centre, but fires the ball in low and can only find the boot of Cranie.

  42. 54

    Southampton knocking the ball around with authority. Coventry barely getting a kick at the moment. Lambert and Sharp can't combine up top for the Saints.

  43. 53

    West Ham have got another in their game with Hull City, but their efforts will count for nothing. The Hammers are heading for the play-offs. Here, Lambert comes as close as he has all afternoon with a rising drive from the edge of the box.

  44. 52

    Hussey with a positive break into the Southampton half. He floats a cross towards Norwood, but Davis comes through the crowd to pluck the ball out of the air.

  45. 51

    McDonald tries to go around Fonte, but the Saints defender makes himself big and blocks his path. McDonald takes an arm to the face for his troubles.

  46. 50

    Baker tripped by Fox, free-kick wide on the Coventry right. It is delivered long towards McDonald, but he has no support and battles in vain against two defenders.

  47. 49

    Butterfield racing down the right, but is forced backwards. Fox throws the ball towards the penalty area, but can't find a team-mate. Coventry are unable to counter.

  48. 48

    Guly bursting on from midfield. He sends the ball wide to Cork, who floats it into the box. Guly continues his run to meet the delivery, but nods over the top.

  49. 47

    Lambert with a clever flick, which Sharp has read. Hussey has as well, though, and he prevents the ball from running in on goal. Still expecting more goals in this.

  50. 46

    Another youngster enters the fold for Coventry, as Jeffers come on in place of Bigirimana.

  51. Coventry get the second half up and running.

  52. The players are back with us and we are ready for the off once more.

  53. You can also bet in-play at Southampton are now 1/100 to take three points, with Coventry 100/1 and the draw 25/1. You can get 9/2 on the Saints winning 4-0.

  54. How do you see the second half going? Get your thoughts in to and @SkySportsChrisB.

  55. Southampton 2 Coventry 0. All going to plan for the hosts. Two goals to the good and 45 minutes away from a place in the Premier League. Coventry started well, but they appear to be heading down on the back of another defeat.

  56. 45+2

    Hooiveld provides a calm head as he lays the ball back to Davis. It is then forced long, but again Sharp can't quite gather the ball in. Great movement again from a lively striker.

  57. 45+1

    Coventry still seeing plenty of the ball, but they are unable to do much with it. They then give it away needlessly in midfield. Southampton prepared to knock it around among themselves.

  58. Two minutes of stoppage time to be played.

  59. 45

    Hussey twisting and turning, but he can't find a yard and is unable to put in a cross. Baker tries down the other side, keeping the ball in play really well. He is also unable to force the ball into the box.

  60. 44

    Guly and Lallana can't pick their way through three Coventry midfielders. The Sky Blues look to push the Saints back. Bigirimana wins a free-kick and he is caught by a high boot.

  61. 43

    Fonte, who has taken the armband, prevents a Coventry corner. He has been immense so far for the Saints, at both ends of the field.

  62. 42

    Schneiderlin leads the Saints forward this time, feeding another dangerous ball into the box. Lambert inches away from getting a telling touch. Expect the hosts to get a few more this afternoon.

  63. 41

    Almost three. Butterfield gets to the by-line and cuts the ball back into the box. It falls for Lallana eight yards out. His eyes light up, but his effort is bravely blocked by Willis.

  64. 40

    Nice football from Southampton as they stroll forward. Two-touch football has them slicing through the Sky Blues. Butterfield bursts forward to provide width.

  65. 39

    Willis does well to hold off Sharp and clear. Coventry spring clear, with McDonald racing with Fonte. The Sky Blues striker sticks out a boot, but Davis gets there first and takes a heavy knock.

  66. 38

    West Ham have scored at Upton Park, but Southampton are doing more than enough here. Would take a dramatic collapse here for the Hammers to come back into the equation.

  67. 37

    Another change, with Hammond replaced by Cork. Another early injury.

  68. 36

    Lambert able to get the best of Cranie this time, as he muscles the Coventry defender out of the way. He then nods on towards Sharp, but Clarke comes across to hack clear. Saints almost in again.

  69. 35

    Disappointing for Coventry to see an experienced campaigner forced off, but a good chance for Roberts to show what he can do. Another academy graduate at the Ricoh Arena.

  70. 34

    McSheffrey can't carry on and is replaced by another teenager, Will Roberts.

  71. 33

    Players taking the chance to get some fluid on board. Adkins having a few words with Lambert. He will be delighted with the efforts of his side so far.

  72. 32

    McSheffrey is down and will require treatment. He has been quick to get his boot off.

  73. 31

    Cranie cuts in front of Lambert to cut out a pass. Coventry moving forward again. Norwood leads the charge, but he gets the ball caught under his feet and can't find McDonald.

  74. 30

    Lallana drifting inside to get more involved. Southampton moving the ball around well again after a slight dip. They are prepared to be patient and move Coventry from side to side.

  75. 29

    Southampton not getting everything right, as a few passes go astray. They can't afford to take their foot off the gas. They need to see this through and make absolutely sure.

  76. 28

    Butterfield gets the better of McSheffrey on this occasion, but has to concede a throw. Coventry work the bal well to Baker, who delivers a deep cross. It drifts out of play before McDonald can reach it.

  77. 27

    Clarke able to nod clear at the back post, with Sharp lurking behind him. Southampton had sprung clear on the counter. Coventry pushing plenty of men forward and leaving holes at the back.

  78. 26

    Aimless from Norwood as he spins in midfield and dinks a ball over the top of the Saints defence and into open field. No-one has read his intention and the ball rolls through to Davis.

  79. 25

    Southampton struggle to clear their lines, inviting Coventry forward. Hussey bombs down the left and tries to cut inside. Butterfield stops him in his tracks. Saints looking solid.

  80. 24

    Lambert wide on the left this time. Southampton enjoying themselves and everyone wants the ball. Nice flick from Fox, but the ball ends up out of play for a Coventry goal kick.

  81. 23

    Coventry win another corner. McSheffrey takes, but scuffs his delivery along the floor and Butterfield can hack clear at the front post. Southampton counter, but Sharp can't find a way through.

  82. 22

    Baker with room to move into, and does really well to step inside Hammond. He lets fly from 30 yards and forces Davis into a smart low save. Corner to Coventry, but it comes to nothing.

  83. 21

    Great noise inside the stadium. Southampton have endured their fair share of lows since slipping out of the Premier League, but they are enjoying the ride back to the big time!

  84. 20

    Coventry started really well and were looking dangerous. All of a sudden, the Saints step it up a gear and they have opened up a two-goal lead. They are heading back to the Premier League.

  85. 19

    GOAL SOUTHAMPTON - FONTE. That should be enough for the Saints. Everything going their way at the moment. Fox swings over a croner and Fonte is left all alone to send a diving header into the back of the net.

  86. 18

    Willis with a full-blooded challenge on Hammond, who stays down. Southampton play on and Butterfield is able to force a corner. Hammers limping but should be okay.

  87. 17

    Just what the home side needed, an early lead. They can now relax a little and enjoy themselves. The fans certainly are!

  88. 16

    GOAL SOUTHAMPTON - SHARP. Fonte brings the ball forward and sends it wide to Guly. He looks up and picks out Lallana, who sends a volley goalwards. His effort takes a nick off Sharp on its way into the net.

  89. 15

    Another wild strike on goa, this time from Fox. The ball drops invitingly for him 25 yards from goal, but he catches a half-volley all wrong and fires high into the stands.

  90. 14

    Baker plays the set-piece short, and wins another. Short again, before Baker whips a cross into the penalty area. He gets too much on it and it sails over the heads of those in the middle. The ball is then fed back wide to Baker, but slices a wild shot well wide of the target.

  91. 13

    Useful ball fed into the box by Bigirimana. McDonald sniffing around again, but Hooiveld steps across to clear. Coventry remain on the front foot and win another corner.

  92. 12

    Fox well forward from full-back. He gets to the by-line and looks to hang over a cross. He can't wrap his foot around the ball enough and it curls out of play. Both sides looking to be positive.

  93. 11

    Sharp unable to gather a Guly pass, who a second effort from Lallana. Good defending by Clarke as he gets an important toe to the ball on both occasions.

  94. 10

    Coventry looking more assured on the ball now. They are almost in again as McDonald once again loses his man. He moves a fraction too soon, though, and is flagged offside.

  95. 9

    Poor defending from Southampton as they allow a long clearance to bounce. McDonald almost in, but the Sky Blues settle for a corner. From the set-piece the ball ends up back at the feet of McSheffrey, who forces Davis into a smart fingertip save.

  96. 8

    Lallana hangs a cross from the left flank into the Coventry box. Guly is interested as he arrives at the back post, but Murphy watches the ball all the way into his hands.

  97. 7

    Lambert unable to keep the bal lin play, as Cranie gives him a nudge in the back. He is prepared to pull wide and is not just a goal-getter. He is the 2011/12 Championship Player of the Year, no less.

  98. 6

    Andy Thorn not happy with something as he bellows orders from the touchline. A long free-kick from the Sky Blues runs straight out of play as Fonte sees the ball behind.

  99. 5

    Southampton looking to play their way out from the back. Schneiderlin then mixes things up by going long to Lallana. Saints looking to keep Coventry guessing.

  100. 4

    McDonald is a bit isolated up top for the visitors. They are hacking clear, but only have one sky blue shirt to aim at. They are able to get the ball on the deck eventually, but Baker has drifted offside.

  101. 3

    Tough ask for Coventry defender Jordan Willis this afternoon. The 17-year-old is making his full debut and is being asked to mark Rickie Lambert. Thrown in at the deep end!

  102. 2

    Promising cross from McSheffrey towards McDonald. He escapes into space behind Fonte, but the delivery towards him has too much on it and he can't grow enough to nod goalwards.

  103. 1

    Some nervy defending early on from Coventry. The loose ball breaks to Guly, but he hooks high over the top. Almost a perfect start for the hosts.

  104. Southampton get us up and running.

  105. The players are in the tunnel and the noise levels continue to rise inside St Mary's. The home support are out in numbers expecting a promotion party. A few nerves knocking around as well, but an overwhelming sense of excitement on the South Coast.

  106. Southampton have been inside the Championship's top two all season, but it has all come down to this. Can they take that last step or will they fall at the final hurdle? We are about to find out.

  107. Today's referee is Anthony Taylor.

  108. Coventry team: Murphy, Hussey, Willis, Cranie, Clarke, Baker, Bigirimana, Norwood, Thomas, McSheffrey, McDonald. Subs: Platt, Dunn, Jeffers, Roberts, Henderson.

  109. Southampton team: Davis, Butterfield, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, Guly, Schneiderlin, Hammond, Lallana, Sharp, Lambert. Subs: Bialkowski, Harding, Cork, De Ridder, Puncheon.

  110. You can also bet in-play throughout the afternoon at Southampton start as strong favourites at 1/4, with Coventry 10/1 and the draw 19/4. You can get 5/2 on Rickie Lambert to open the scoring.

  111. You can have your say on today's game by contacting me direct at or @SkySportsChrisB.

  112. Coventry will be hoping to play the role of party poopers, as they know that they will be turning out in League One next season. Relegation for the Sky Blues has already been confirmed and they are playing for pride.

  113. The Saints know that a victory today will take them back to the big time. They may not need to do that, with matching West Ham's result against Hull City all they need to do. It could get complicated as events unfold, but we will address those issues if they occur.

  114. Southampton will be looking to clinch promotion this afternoon, with their destiny very much in their own hands heading into the final round of second tier fixtures.

  115. Welcome to St Mary's for our coverage of today's Championship encounter between Southampton and Coventry.



Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 46 90
2 Watford 46 89
3 Norwich City 46 86
4 Middlesbrough 46 85
5 Brentford 46 78
6 Ipswich Town 46 78
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 78
8 Derby County 46 77
9 Blackburn Rovers 46 67
10 Birmingham City 46 63
11 Cardiff City 46 62
12 Charlton Athletic 46 60
13 Sheffield Wednesday 46 60
14 Nottingham Forest 46 59
15 Leeds United 46 56
16 Huddersfield Town 46 55
17 Fulham 46 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 46 51
19 Reading 46 50
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 46 47
21 Rotherham United 46 46
22 Millwall 46 41
23 Wigan Athletic 46 39
24 Blackpool 46 26