NEWCASTLE keeper Rob Elliot kept the score down in Saturday’s drubbing at St Mary’s – but he took no satisfaction from his saves.
The former Charlton goalkeeper was superb in the Magpies’ dismal 4-0 defeat to Southampton.
Elliot, making his first Premier League appearance of the season in the absence of injured first-choice Tim Krul, kept the home side at bay until the last minute of a fraught first half for Newcastle.
Jay Rodriguez broke the deadlock in the 45th minute, and he scored again in the second half. Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana also found the net.
The 27-year-old was the only Newcastle player able to leave the pitch with his head held high, with the bulk of the 2,187 travelling supporters booing the players off the field after what was arguably the team’s worst performance of the season by some distance.
While Elliot took the visiting team’s only plaudits, there was no pride in defeat for him, only “hurt”.
“I’m just hurting from the loss,” Elliot said. “Maybe in a few days I’ll be able to sit down and look at the videos, and look back at the saves and be pleased, but when you lose 4-0, as a keeper you never feel good.
“We’ve got to get over it, get back to the training ground and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Captain Fabricio Coloccini and his players headed towards the away end after the final whistle, but all bar Elliot and Davide Santon headed for the tunnel once they saw and heard the angry reaction to their performance. “We went over to the fans, and they weren’t happy,” said Elliot.
“The support we get is amazing everywhere we go. We do appreciate it.
“We know it’s not good enough. The fans had every right to be upset – there’s no excuses.
“There’s no dancing around it. We’ve got to hold our hands up. Southampton were excellent, and we didn’t turn up.
“We got beaten by a better team.
“I think there was 100 per cent given, but Southampton got on top of us.
“We never managed to get back into it. I think we’ve got to give them credit, but we still know it wasn’t good enough.”
Elliot will again be in goal on Saturday when Premier League champions Manchester United visit St James’s Park. We’ve got a week’s rest, and we’ll get into Man United,” he said. “We want to put it right.”
Elliot made some excellent stops, including an incredible save to deny a close-range Rodriguez header before he was finally beaten.
Lambert beat the offside trap to latch onto a Steven Davis ball over the top, bearing down on goal and squaring to the unmarked Rodriguez, whose effort may have been scuffed but finally beat Elliot.
It was 2-0 when Lallana cut back and clipped over a fine ball to Lambert, who again beat the offside trap and stabbed past Elliot at his near post.
A moment of magic from Lallana put the game to bed. Collecting the ball deep in the visitors’ half, he pushed on and unleashed a wonderful 25-yard strike past Elliot.
A wonderful Luke Shaw block denied Yoann Gouffran a late consolation at the end of a match that got worse for the visitors when Rodriguez cut back and fired through Elliot’s legs with a minute remaining.
SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, Ward-Prowse, S Davis (Schneiderlin 73), Lallana (Gallagher 90), Rodriguez, Lambert (Ramirez 83). Subs not used: Do Prado, Gazzaniga, Hooiveld, Reed. Goals: Rodriguez 45 89, Lambert 49, Lallana 70
NEWCASTLE: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon 46), Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita, Tiote, Ben Arfa (De Jong 46), Sissoko (Dummett 79), Gouffran, Cisse. Subs not used: Gosling, Shola Ameobi, S Taylor, Alnwick. Booked: Haidara.
Att: 31,360. Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).