24/10/2015: Football Grounds: Part 6

Everton

Record: Saints wins: 5. Draws: 8. Everton wins: 32

The Toffees have inflicted several heavy defeats on Saints down the years. On 20th November 1971 the club suffered a joint record breaking 8-0 loss, with Joe Royle scoring four. Gary Lineker grabbed a hatrick in the 6-1 win in 1985/86. On 16th November 1996 Royle was in the Goodison dugout almost 25 years after terrorising Saints on the pitch. On this occasion he masterminded a 7-1 victory. Two of Saints' victories came off the back of those humiliating beatings. Ron Davies headed in late for a smash and grab win on 16th September 1972. Kevin Davies netted an incredible solo effort in a 2-0 Super Sunday win on 2nd November 1997. Saints' 3-0 win on the last day of the 1973/74 season wasn't enough to keep the team in Division 1, with relegation rivals Birmingham winning their game against Norwich.

Heart-breaking late goals have been a theme in more recent encounters. Tomasz Radzinski scored a dramatic double as Everton came from behind to win 2-1 in a Saturday lunchtime televised clash in 2002/03. Leon Best and Dexter Blackstock made their first league starts in October 2004, with Saints bravely holding out until the 88th minute, when Leon Osman scored. Romelu Lukaku cancelled out Gaston Ramirez's screamer on 29th December 2013.

The ground itself is showing its age now. It's barely been touched since the Park Stand was rebuilt in 1994. Up until that time away fans had been placed in said stand, which was made up of a small terrace and a seated area high above. Since 1994 visitors have been placed in the corner of the Bullens Road stand. The supporting pillars in the lower tier can make for a bad view, but you can get a reasonable field of vision at the front in the Paddock. Location and Saints' poor record mean we pretty much never take up the option of the bigger allocation which includes upper tier tickets. Goodison Park can be extremely loud during big games, but it's usually virtually silent when Saints visit.

Exeter

Record: Saints wins: 4. Draws: 3. Exeter wins: 3

When people cite the crucial moments in Saints' 2010/11 League One promotion campaign, games against MK Dons and Brighton are usual mentioned, but perhaps just as important was the 2-1 win at St James' Park on 1st February. Saints had lost at Tranmere and drawn at home to Notts County in the previous two fixtures. When Daniel Nardiello put Exeter 1-0 up in the first-half things didn't look good. Saints had to scrap, but somehow came away with a 2-1 win, with Rickie Lambert grabbing both, the second deep into stoppage time.

Away fans were condensed into the terrace behind the goal that night. During the same fixture the previous season standing area spread around the side as well. In fact, during the 1-1 draw in 6th February 2010 a sizeable group of Saints fans at the other end of the ground openly celebrated when Adam Lallana scored. Lallana and Morgan Schneiderlin impressed in a team packed full of youngsters on 12th August 2008, with Saints seeing of The Grecians 3-1 in the League Cup.

The team's met for a friendly in 1991, but the last competitive meeting before the aforementioned cup clash was a 2-2 draw in 1957. In 1956 Saints won 4-0 in another Division 3 South fixture. Saints first visited St James' Park on 16th April 1921. Exeter won that one 1-0. A few Saints fans were in attendance for the U21s cup defeat on November 20th 2013, which featured Matt Targett and Sam Gallagher among others.

Fleetwood

N/A

Fulham

Record: Saints wins: 4. Draws: 11. Fulham wins: 14

Fulham is a popular trip for Saints fans due to its location, welcoming atmosphere and generous allocation. You get a decent view of the game from most sections of the away end, and the ground itself is quite unique. Visiting supporters often fill out the 'neutral' end next to the away spot, allowing for larger followings than normal.

Saints finally ended a long winless run at the ground on 1st February 2014 when England trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez scored in a comfortable 3-0 win. Everything that was great about Saints under Mauricio Pochettino was exhibited by the team in the second-half that day. Steve Wigley came in for some slack during the 1-0 loss in September 2004, when our old friend Tomasz Radzinski scored for the home side.

Saints' clashes with Fulham in 2002/03 and 2003/04 took place at Loftus Road as Craven Cottage was being refurbished. Home fans occupied both ends of the ground for Saints' first Premier League visit on 27th October 2001, with visitors tucked away on the side opposite the cottage. Barry Hayles scored a late winner in a 3rd round FA Cup replay in January 1999, as Fulham were just beginning their climb up the leagues under Kevin Keegan. Saints were also beaten over two legs in the League Cup that same season. Prior to that the two sides hadn't met since the 1970s, in the old second tier. Tony Funnell scored an equaliser in a 1-1 draw on 7th April 1978 with Saints on their way to promotion back to the top flight. Saints' most recent win before the aforementioned 2014 triumph came all the way back in October 1947. Ted Bates scored both goals in a 2-0 win that day.

Gillingham

Record: Saints wins: 2. Draws: 3. Gillingham wins: 5

Saints fans who attended the most recent fixture against the Gills got absolutely soaked in the open end behind the goal. It was the penultimate game of the season and the play-offs were long gone by that point. Saints put in a half-arsed performance and lost 2-1. Gillingham fans celebrated with a pitch invasion, but hilariously ended up going down a week later. Several Saints fans joined in the celebrations too, including a lad dressed as Elvis. James Beattie and Marian Pahars scored in a League Cup win on 9th October 2001. Saints came through the same competition in 1992, drawing 0-0 at Priestfield, but winning 3-0 over two legs. The two sides first met on 28th August 1920 and clashed in Division 3 South throughout the 1950s.

Grimsby

Record: Saints wins: 3. Draws: 5. Grimsby wins: 7

16,582 fans packed into Blundell Park for Saints' last visit to Grimsby on 7th January 1978. The FA Cup match finished goalless, as did the replay at The Dell. Saints finally finished the job at Filbert Street on 16th January in the second replay. Saints chalked up wins in two of their first three visits to Grimsby, but only one after that. Bill Ellerington scored in the most recent victory, all the way back on 15th April 1949.

Halifax

Record: Saints wins: 0. Draws: 0. Halifax wins: 2

You're unlikely to find any Saints fans who can remember anything about the team's two trips to The Shay. The first came on 8th September 1958 after Division 3 North and South had merged into a national league. Halifax won 2-0 with goals from Priest and Smith. The Shaymen repeated the trick the following campaign, coming from behind to win 3-1 after Derek Reeves had given Saints the lead.

Hartlepool

Record: Saints wins: 1. Draws: 1. Hartlepool wins: 1

Fans who travelled to Hartlepool in 2009/10 and 2010/11 wear their attendance as a badge of honour, with both games taking place in midweek. Around 900 supported Saints from behind the goal in the first game, and slightly less the following campaign. The 2009 fixture produced a particularly lively atmosphere. It was that night that Adam Lallana really came of age, scoring twice in a 3-1 win. The 0-0 on 22nd February was a lot less eventful. That game was originally scheduled for December, the first of three away fixtures called off due to bad weather. Victoria Park contains some terracing, but away fans are located in a small seating area behind the goal.