Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long has finally brought his long, long goal drought to an end.
The Southampton forward has been given the nod to lead the line in Southampton’s attack in Charlie Austin’s absence in recent weeks by manager Mauricio Pellegrino. and the 30-year-old has finally restored his boss’s faith by putting the Saints in front against Crystal Palace at St. Mary’s.
The goal itself was a well-worked finish for the former Cork City man, steering a low cross from right-back Jeremy Pied.
On a psychological level, however, that goal will be a massive weight off of Long’s shoulders. The last time he found the net (for club or country) was in a 4-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in February 2017.
1320 – Shane Long’s goal ended a run of 1320 minutes without scoring in the Premier League, since doing so against Sunderland in February 2017. Relief.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 2, 2018
Since then, he face the prospect of slipping below Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini at Southampton, and even lost his place in the Ireland national side starting eleven to Daryl Murphy for the latter part of the team’s World Cup qualification campaign.
For Southampton, meanwhile, a win against Crystal Palace would be massive in their quaest to avoid being sucked into the Premier League relegation battle.
At the London Stadium, meanwhile, fellow Irish international James McClean has also found the net against West Ham. The winger was credited with an own goal in West Brom’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the weekend, but has found the net at the right end this time with his shot going in via a heavy deflection from Pedro Obiang.