Matt Taylor only too pleased to be in firing line of Rotherham United's Jordan Hugill
The manager had dropped Jordan Hugill for the first time since the striker's January arrival for the Championship clash with opposition among the favourites for promotion this season.
The centre-forward responded by climbing off the bench to earn the Millers a precious point at St Mary's Stadium with a stunning 74th-minute volley in a 1-1 draw.
“I think he probably had a little bit of ‘There you go, Manager’ in him,” Taylor said. “I hope he did.”
The boss had handed only a second start up front to record buy Sam Nombe in a bid to halt the Millers' misery on their travels.
However, it was the man who replaced the former Exeter City hot-shot on the hour mark who equalised and helped Rotherham avoid an away league defeat for the first time this term at the sixth attempt.
Hugill, believed to be the club's highest-paid player, hit the target five times in 18 outings last term following his release from Norwich City as Rotherham sealed their second-tier survival.
The 31-year-old frontman failed to score in his first six games this season but has hit a purple patch and has three goals to his name in his last seven matches.
“I want more from Jordan,” said Taylor. “I want more from all the frontline. I went for ‘legs’ and movement at the top end of the pitch.
“That probably hurt him. Hopefully he was having a little ‘dig’ into me. It was a quality finish. We felt he'd been too far away from everyone else on the pitch in some away games.
“Sam blew himself out doing a lot of hard yards. Then Jordan - and Georgie (Kelly) - made a difference when they came on.”
The Millers, who signed off for the international break in 23rd spot, were pinned back by the Saints up to the interval as Hugill watched from the dugout.
“It had been a three-game week so I think he understood it to a certain extent,” said Taylor. “Even more so when he saw how the first half materialised and realised it was an ‘own half’ running job!”
Rotherham made Hugill their marquee signing in the New Year transfer window, giving him the security of a three-and-a-half-year deal to ward off other suitors.