The ball ricocheted off Nathan Redmond’s face and took a bounce towards Jay Rodriguez, who turned, and on the volley, swung a right-footed stunner beyond a diving Artur Boruc and into the top corner.
And the moment Southampton fans felt like the 2013/14 Rodriguez — the one that had scored 17 goals and received a call-up to the England squad — had finally returned.
It was Rodriguez’s second goal in a 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth, and it gave Southampton a much needed boost after failing to qualify for the Europa League knockout round.
“It’s an amazing feeling putting the ball in the back of the net,” he told the club’s official website afterward.
The often injured forward, however, has just one goal in 14 appearances since then, which came against Leicester in January.
Is his time over at Southampton?
St Mary’s Musings conducted a poll ahead of Crystal Palace asking who should start in place of the injured Manolo Gabbiadini — Rodriguez or Shane Long — and the results are a telling sign that his time on the South Coast might be nearing its end.
With Gabbiaini out, who starts for #saintsfc at striker against #CPFC?— St. Mary's Musings (@StMarysMusings) April 3, 2017
With over 200 votes cast, Long received 62 per cent; the same Shane Long who has struggled as equally this season after scoring a career best 10 Premier League goals in 2015/16 and has netted just five times this year.
It shows just how fans are unfortunately beginning to grow impatient waiting for Rodriguez to become Rodriguez again and includes those doubting whether it will happen at all.
Once Charlie Austin returns from injury, Long, 30, and Rodriguez, 27, will become the third and fourth choice strikers and at least one, if not both, will leave this summer.
Rodriguez was linked with a loan move to West Brom in the summer and that heated up in January with the arrival of Gabbiadini, however nothing materialised. But a new club might be exactly what he needs to re-find his prowess in front of goal.
Whatever happens it can be promised that it won’t be a quiet summer.