Thursday 13 December 2018

It's Happy New Year to Shane Long as he ends his goal drought...but Southampton's misery continues

Shane Long produced a fine finish to end his enduring goal drought
Shane Long produced a fine finish to end his enduring goal drought
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The date of February 11th 2017 was annoyingly significant in the career of Ireland striker Shane Long, but it can now be banished to the history books.

That was the day Long last scored for his club Southampton and in 35 games since that strike at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland, he had tried and failed to score again.

As 2017 ended without an end to Long's enduring goal drought, his bad run of form became a little more serious for Long as he played in 35 games (albeit many of them starting on the bench) and failed to break his scoring drought.

Then, just when he must have feared he would never find the target again, Long had a moment to celebrate as he opened the scoring for Southampton against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

Long had played 1320 minutes of Premier League football without scoring a goal - and another 279 minutes for Ireland - without scoring a goal and then his moment came.

The ball was pulled back to long who scored good movement in the box and his crisp finish inspire a knee sliding celebration that was a release of so many months of pent up frustartion.

Shane Long 2.jpg
Long toasted his goal with a lavish celebration

Long's joyous moment did not end Southampton's worries at the bottom of the Premier League, as Roy Hodgson's Palace side came back to secure a vital victory at St Mary's Stadium.

Palace switched to a 4-4-2 system after in the second half and it paid off as James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic scored goals that fired the Eagles away from the relegation zone.

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

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