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Saints edging closer to clean sheet record of 2001

Paul Jones in action during Saints' memorable run

Image by: Aubrey Washington/Action

PUBLISHED

11:00 20th February 2016

Saints will equal their top-flight record for consecutive clean sheets if they can blank Chelsea at St Mary’s next Saturday.

Last weekend’s 1-0 win at Swansea City extended their current run to six games without conceding – something they had not achieved in the league since 2001.

Back then, keeper Paul Jones and his defence went seven Premier League matches without allowing a goal, as they followed up two 0-0 draws with five successive victories.

Fraser Forster and the current Saints side have moved within touching distance of matching that record, having kept out Watford, West Brom, Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham and the Swans in their last six.

Jones, speaking in next week’s Chelsea edition of our matchday magazine, SAINTS, said: “If it happens it would be brilliant, the boys totally deserve it.

“To be fair to Frase, to come back from the injury he had and to be out for ten months, he’s been fantastic.”

As well as Forster, Ryan Bertrand, José Fonte and Virgil van Dijk have been involved in all six of Saints’ clean sheets so far, while during the run 15 years ago four players featured in every game.
 
Claus Lundekvam, Dean Richards and Wayne Bridge joined Jones as mainstays, while Tahar El Khalej, Jason Dodd and Dan Petrescu also played their part.
 
The run in 2001, just like it has this time around, began in the second league game of the year, following on from a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on New Year’s Day.
 
Saints will have perhaps been disappointed with the result that started their streak of clean sheets, having drawn 0-0 at home to Charlton Athletic as they slipped to 14th in the table.
 
Another 0-0 draw seven days later at Tottenham Hotspur made it two matches without conceding, before the first win of the run came at the end of January.
 
Petrescu scored the only goal of the game as Glenn Hoddle’s men beat Leicester City 1-0 at home.
 
Eleven days later, relegation-threatened Bradford City were put to the sword at The Dell, with Marian Pahars and James Beattie grabbing the goals in a 2-0 success.
 
A first away win of the run followed, with Mark Draper firing home the only goal of the game, as Saints won 1-0 at Middlesbrough to make it five league clean sheets in a row.
 
Manchester City were the next side unable to break down Saints’ resolute defence, and once again it was Petrescu who scored the winner. The Romanian’s goal was the difference, as Saints picked up another three points to move up to ninth in the table.
 
A home encounter with Everton would prove to be the final game in a memorable run for Saints, with Jo Tessem grabbing the only goal to move Hoddle’s side up to eighth.
 
Hoddle would then jump ship to join Tottenham Hotspur, before European-chasing Ipswich Town proved to be a step too far for Saints as they looked to make it eight straight league clean sheets.
 
Stuart Gray came in to take charge of the game against Ipswich, but could not prevent the visitors claiming all three points thanks to a hat-trick from Marcus Stewart.
 
Turning to the current run, Forster has now gone 633 minutes since conceding a goal – Diego Costa’s opener in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea last March.

If Saints can continue their run against the Blues next week, they will have a chance to match the club’s all-time league record for consecutive clean sheets, which stands at eight.

That was set over the last seven games of the 1921/22 season and the first fixture of the 1922/23 campaign.

Read the full interview with Paul Jones in next weekend’s edition of SAINTS.

Click here to book now!

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