Extended player ratings: Saints 0 Norwich 1

Last updated : 30 January 2008 By Saint Bobby
Overall, huge credit must go to Skacel, Suman and Euell. Not only were they a key creative force, but were also defensively solid. The backline was again well-organised and strong. The only shame is that our three starting strikers couldn't score a goal between them.

Kelvin Davis - 6: Seemed a little less assured than in recent performances. No clangers and not at fault for the goal, but was hell-bent on dabbling with disaster on a couple of occasions.

Gregory Vignal - 5.5:
Amazingly, for a gifted French player, seems to have an inbuilt prejudice against a passing-style of football. Was guilty of punting in more speculative balls than the rest of the team combined.

Wayne Thomas - 7: Unflappable control of the backline. Along with the truly superb Andrew Davies, also encouraged the full-backs to provide some genuine width.

Andrew Davies - 8: For once, he didn't win every single header, but still showed a level of composure and an elegance almost unseen in centre-backs in this division.

Jermaine Wright - 7.5: A mature and controlled display. Also showed good vision in launching several attacks down the right-flank. Struggled a little against Darren Huckberby in the last twenty minutes, but has decisively moved from being a total joke to being a truly valuable squad player in the last couple of months.

Rudi Skacel - 8.5: Determined, aggressive, dangerous and creative. Provided yet more evidence that he should be an automatic, unquestioned starting eleven player. If he could polish up his finishing and crossing just a little, he would be truly devastating at Championship level. His willingness to die for the shirt also makes him my preferred choice for captain. MAN OF THE MATCH.

Jason Euell - 7.5: Fears that his frailties would be cruelly exposed in a midfield three were wholly misplaced. Only in the last ten minutes did he begin to look error-prone. I'm still surprised that a player of his experience sometimes lacks anticipation or misreads how much time he has on the ball though.

Drew Surman - 7: Another dogged performance, but - unusually - he didn't look like he could finish an ice cream. Also, for the first time, I began to wonder whether his relative lack of pace might be a serious hurdle to achieving full international honours.

Gregorz Rasiak - 7.5: Looked strong on the ball and was unlucky to have two good efforts thunder back off the woodwork. As with Rudi Skacel, the next manager can surely have no excuse for using his as a bench warmer as Burley often did.

Stern John - 6: Good technique and played an important role in a number of flowing moves, but has to have points deducted for an abysmal penalty.

Bradley Wright-Phillips - 6.5: Works hard and runs himself into the ground, but by the second half seemed to lack positional sense. However, showed enough to suggest that a front three might be the long-term answer to our disappointing home form.

Adam Hammill (on for Wright-Phillips, 65 minutes) - 8.5: Masterful. His confidence on the ball and his work-rate are a real threat on the wings, but he is also very dangerous drifting inside. A strong candidate for man of the match, if he hadn't only been on the pitch for thirty minutes.

Stephen O'Halloran (on for Vignal, 65 minutes) - 4.5: Seemed completely at sea. Vignal was a picture of tranquillity in comparison. In fairness, he may have been over-awed by the occasion and obviously needs to get used to the team. But from the little I've seen, I'm unsurprised he is surplus to requirements at Villa Park.

Indigo Idiakez (on for Surman, 83 minutes) - 5: A reasonable last throw of the dice as a substitute when we're chasing a game, but didn't really do anything to make me believe is a proven match winner.

Dodd/Gorman - 7.5: A brave formation which worked well. The substitutions also made sense even if they didn't secure us the three points we so clearly deserved.