Sheridan: That was for the fans

Southampton moved towards Premier League safety with a 2-1 win

over Chelsea at St Mary’s.

First-half goals from Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert either

side of John Terry’s header ensured Saints moved up to 13th with a

deserved victory despite late Blues pressure.

The result sees Chelsea drop to fourth in the Premier League

table and they remain in danger of dropping out of the Champions

League places with Arsenal now just two points behind in fifth.

Southampton started the brighter and had two early chances with

Rodriguez seeing a sidefooted effort saved comfortably by Petr Cech

before Branislav Ivanovic blocked well from Lambert.

But Ivanovic was caught out by quality movement from Rodriguez

for the opener when he played a crisp one-two with Steven Davis

before slotting the ball calmly past Cech to give Saints the

lead.

Fernando Torres, again preferred to Demba Ba in attack, was

struggling to get in the game at the other end but did have a goal

correctly ruled out for handball shortly afterwards.

The European champions were level just after the half-hour mark

when Terry headed home a corner from Marko Marin after Jos Hooiveld

had slipped to allow the Blues skipper space.

This was only Terry’s second Premier League start under Rafael

Benitez but any hopes the goal would kick-start Chelsea’s afternoon

were soon dashed as they were behind again within minutes.

Saints were awarded a free-kick in a good position and Lambert

whipped the ball over Torres in the Chelsea wall, and Cech was

unable to scramble to keep it out of the net.

Kelvin Davis replaced the injured Artur Boruc in the Southampton

goal at the break and the veteran was forced into a good save from

Victor Moses on the hour mark.

Saints remained a threat at the other end and Rodriguez could

have doubled the lead after outwitting Ivanovic down the left

channel but saw his left-footed effort parried by Cech.

It was Chelsea pushing for an equaliser in the closing stages

after Benitez introduced Eden Hazard to provide some impetus but

Southampton held on for the points that ease them towards

safety.

The attendance of 13,251 is the highest in League Two this

season and the vast majority were delighted to see on-loan Crystal

Palace forward Jason Banton’s goal wrap up a third straight win for

the hosts.

Sheridan said: “That result was for the supporters. The support

they get for a team fighting relegation is unbelievable. I just

can’t believe it, so that result was for them.”

Banton struck from outside the area after cleverly beating two

City defenders before sending a low angled drive past Artur Krysiak

and in off the post on the stroke of half-time.

Banton has now scored six goals in 11 Argyle appearances since

being drafted in by Sheridan. Sheridan said: “It was very pleasing.

I think we deserved to win.

“I think it was a very good performance in a big derby game

against against a very good passing team who have had some

excellent results away from home. If you let them play they are one

of the best teams in the division and we made that clear to the

players before the game.

“But I thought we kept them quiet for most of the game. I

thought they started well, their first five minutes worried me the

most and (Jamie) Cureton got a chance out of nothing.

“Full credit to my players, their effort to try and get

something out of the game – to win it – has been brilliant. To be

fair to them it has been since I have been here and we have just

got to carrying on doing it.

“Derbies are always tight affairs and you could see the effort

from both sides. The atmosphere was excellent and it’s usually that

little bit of magic which gets you the result.

“Again Jason wasn’t really in the game but the goal was top

drawer. Now we focus on Monday’s game at York because if anything,

that is bigger than this. It’s another massive game for us.”