Haunted Southampton last night chose Liverpool as a yardstick to prove that there is life after soccer suicide. Chris Nicholl’s side – shattered by the 7-0 nightmare at Luton just three days before – regained their self-respect, if not their winning touch, at the Dell.
Nicholl axed three of his Kenilworth Road whipping boys and demanded the survivors repaired what he described as: “A scar on my memory for ever.”
Southampton could hardly have had harder opposition in their first match after that Luton humbling, but following a shaky start, they emerged with most of their pride restored.
It might not be enough to take Southampton into the semi-finals of the Super Cup but it could be sufficient to convince them their their fifth from bottom First Division placing will only be a temporary one.
Predictably it was England goalkeeper Peter Shilton who calmed Southampton’s edgy defence, lacking the dropped Kevin Bond and the suspended Mark Dennis.
Shelton cajoled, organised and inspired his colleagues into a performance which proved the Luton humiliation was a one-off.
But manager Nicholl was not entirely satisfied: “We got a draw rather than a defeat, so we are half-way there,” he said.
Southampton had to call on a little luck and the eccentricity of Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.
Grobbelaar had already twice been saved by the expert covering of Phil Neal and the woodwork when he gave away a 79th minute penalty.
It looked a harsh decision as Southampton winger Danny Wallace ran into his diving body, but referee Ray Lewis was convinced and Armstrong calmly rammed the ball home from the spot.
“That was one of the worst penalty decisions I have ever seen,” stormed Liverpool player-boss Kenny Dalglish afterwards.
Southampton’s lead lasted only two minutes as transfer-listed striker Paul Walsh celebrated his recall with a gem of a volley from Steve Nicol’s cross.
Copyright - Daily Express, 23-10-1985 - Transcribed by PlayUpLiverpool.com