Time was ticking away and it appeared Mark Hughes’s plan to end Southampton’s dire record at St Mary’s was about to pay off. He had got his players to train here in the build-up to his match, hoping a greater familiarity with their surroundings would lead to an upturn in fortunes, or as he put it: “Everyone knows that if you keep on doing the same things it’s a sure sign of madness.” Sadly for the Welshman, the madness in his ranks continues.
José Holebas’s 82nd-minute equaliser means Southampton have now failed to win any of their first six home games of a season for the first time ever. On a broader level, they now sit just one place above the relegation zone following an eighth league game without victory, a run that will only deepen the sense that Hughes’s time may well be up in light of the decision of the club’s Chinese owner, Gao Jisheng, to sack vice-chairman Less Reed and technical director Martin Hunter last Thursday. Change is in the air on the south coast and, increasingly, that spells bad news for the manager.