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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
26 October 2013
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 28631
R. Lambert 20'
J. Rodriguez 43'
FULL TIME - SOUTHAMPTON 2-0 FULHAM. Two first half headers from Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez sends Mauricio Pochettino's men up to third in the Premier League table. It could have been more had it not been for Fulham's keeper Stekelenburg, it would have been much worse for Martin Jol's men, who were simply awful on the night. Many thanks for joining me for this game. I have been Hayden Gribble and however you are spending your weekend, stay classy!
90' + 2'
90' + 1'
Yellow CardAaron Hughes
There will be TWO minutes of added on time.
CHANCE! Oh Lallana has deserved a goal tonight, but again he narrowly misses the target with a delfected shot, which just dips over the net and out for a corner.
Yellow CardSteve Sidwell
With full time fast approaching, what can we say about this Southampton side? Thye have played 9 games and are about to leapfrog Man City, Chelsea and Spurs into third in the table. Can they keep this magic run up? On this showing, anything is possible.
STAT ATTACK: The Saints are currently enjoying 63% of possession. Dominating is not the word!
Despite being statistically inaccurate, the Fulham fans have resorted to humour in dealing with this drab performance. "One shot, we've only had one shot, we've only had one shot!" is ringing from the away end!
ACROBATIC! Steve Sidwell does his best to pull an Adam Lallana and scissor kicks the ball wide in a hectic penalty area for the Cottagers. If nothing else it has doubled Fulham's goal attempts statistics...
Fulham have ten minutes to save the game and prevent the Saints from moving up to third in the Premier League table. Do they have anything to give?
STAT ATTACK: Southampton have had 19 goal attempts compared to Fulham's one in this game.
I don't think Darren Bent will remember this game in a hurry. As he is replaced by Hugo Rodallega, the former England International cannot be happy with his performance. He offered absolutely nothing to the Cottagers tonight.
Bent manages to swing a cross in towards Sidwell but the ball is put out for a rare corner for the visitors. Southampton deal with the pressure calmly and Boruc - who has been a mere spectator this game - collects the ball from the set-piece.
If there was ever a passage of play that summed up Fulham's performance then this was it. Kasami brings the ball forward but as he tries to flick the ball into space as he surges towards the box, he manages to backheel it to the safety of the waiting Luke Shaw. That was the one time in this game that the Cottagers have shown any level of intensity and they have wasted it.
SCISSOR-KICK WONDER! What a goal that would have been! A cross from the right from Clyne is met by Jay Rodriguez, who acrobatically puts the ball just wide from 12 yards. That would have been a goal of the month contender had he steered that into the back of the net!
No wonder Martin Jol is looking disgusted on the touchline. His side are putting no pressure on the Saints at all! With just under 25 minutes of normal time to go, there is plenty of time for Fulham to get back in this, but they look resiigned to defeat at the moment.
STAT ATTACK: Serie A leaders Roma (one goal conceded) are the only side in one of the top five European leagues with a better defensive record than the Saints. (Opta Joe)
The Southampton supporters are ironically cheering every pass their side string together. With a two-goal advantage, they can afford to spend nearly two whole minutes (!!) passing around a bemused looking Fulham side. It just goes to show how comfortable Pochettino's men are in retaining a lead.
GREAT SAVE! Lambert rises highest again but once again Stekelenburg rises to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. The Dutch keeper has kept the scoreline respectable tonight.
Bent's partnership with Berbatov is non-existent. Like aliens on Mars, it just does not exist. What can Fulham do to make the pair - who both have strong Premier League pedigree - click? They are both berating a lack of service as Southampton are walking all over the Cottagers.
The Saints have just started to sit back a little but there is still no breakthrough for the visitors. Darren Bent has been unbelievably quiet throughout this game - maybe it is time for his manager to take a gamble?
How frustrated must the travelling supporters be? Berbatov looks to break through the Saints defence but the linesman's flag is up. An audible groan from the away end is heard and the Bulgarian looks far from impressed.
Rickie Lambert sneaks in behind the Fulham left-back again but his cross in the box is blocked for a corner. The Saints are continuing their first half domination!
CHANCE! Berbatov latches onto a delicious ball in the box but he fails to make any firm connection. In fact, it looks like he thought he might have been offside but the referee's decision to play on was correct. So nearly the chance for the visitors to get back in this.
We are back underway at St Mary's!
STAT ATTACK: 1 1 - Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez both scored and assisted a goal in the first half against Fulham. Returned. (Opta Joe)
I hope Martin Jol is firing his team up in the dressing room as they have been rubbish in this game. In fact, they have looked so knackered and slow they reminded me of the old family pet who has been in the family for years but is now past it's sell-by-date. How will the Cottagers freshen things up? The second half is almost upon us!
HALFTIME - SOUTHAMPTON 2-0 FULHAM. Mauricio Pochettino's side have produced a masterclass of skill, possession and attacking football in the opening 45 minutes as two headers, one from Rickie Lambert and the other from Jay Rodriguez, has put the Saints in a very comfortable position at the break. For the Cottagers, they simply have not been at the races. Will they find a way back into this? The second half is coming up!
There will be ONE minute of added on time.
GOAL! Too easy. Far too easy for the Saints and it's 2-0. Lallana puts a great ball into the box, which is met by Lambert, who headers it across the six-yard box for Rodriguez to head into the net. Is it game over already for Fulham?
STAT ATTACK: Southampton have only lost three of their last 20 games in all competitions.
SAVE! Lambert could of had a hat-trick in this half. The striker peels away from his marker again and gets a free header in the same spot as his goal, but this time Stekelenburg is equal to it and he palms the danger away.
This has been a ridiculously easy half for the home side and it shows as Lallana runs through the midfield. Sorry - did I say run? I mean jog! I kid you not, the midfielder has just jogged 20 yards with the ball at his feet! Martin Jol needs to shake his team into life in the second half!
OFF THE POST! Oh, so unlucky for Lambert. The goalscorer cuts inside from 20 yards and shapes a shot onto his right foot, but the effort strikes the foot of the Fulham post. So, so close to another for the England International!
WIDE! The Saints left-hand side continues to work magic. This time, Shaw plays a brilliant cross onto the head of Rodriguez but it drops just wide.
CHANCE! Teenager Luke Shaw hits the ball on the half volley from 18 yards but Senderos manages to head it clear it for the visitors. Will there be another goal before the break?
Fulham have now begun to see a bit more possession in midfield but up front, Bent and Berbatov are looking unhappy. If Sturridge and Suarez are the SAS, does that make the former Tottenham duo B&B?
The home side have not taken their foot off the gas as they continue to burst the Fulham net yet again. Lambert is looking so sharp and the midfield behind him is passing it around beautifully. This is some really good stuff from the Saints!
SUPER KEEPER! How important is that save from Stekelenburg? Jay Rodriguez skips through the Cottagers like they are not there and goes for placement rather than power and the Dutchman dives low to his left to turn it around the post. That was almost two goals in two minutes for Pochettino's men!
GOAL! It's that man again! Rickie Lambert puts the Saints in front and it is thoroughly deserved. A corner from Ward-Prowse is flicked on to the back post where the England man is waiting to power a header inot the top corner. He was unmarked and Martin Jol will be pulling his hair out on the sideline!
JUST WIDE! Well, that'll wake the Fulham defence up! Wanyama takes a touch from inside 25 yards and hits a swerving effort wide of the Cottager's goal. It had pace, that one and maybe should have been the deadlock-breaker!
Martin Jol is looking incredibly miffed on the sidelines. His side have not been in this at all, yet. The Dutchman will be asking much more from his charges as they are just chasing loose ends at the moments. Having said that, Southampton are content just to play pretty passes and are lacking penetration at the moment.
STAT ATTACK: 5 - Five of the last seven clashes between Fulham and Southampton have ended in draws. Close. (Opta Joe)
One of the most impressive aspects of Southampton's game is the way that they play a pressing game. So far, Fulham have been stiffled as they look to create space on the field.
STAT ATTACK: It has been 78 years to the day since Fulham's only previous league win at Southampton. That was a 2-1 victory in a Division Two game on 26 October 1935. (BBC Sport)
CLOSE! It's all Southampton now as Lambert rises to win a free header but Stekelenburg gathers with ease. The Saints are definitely more likely to make the breakthrough at the moment.
OFF THE LINE! And it's the Saints who very nearly open the play. A cross from the left is fumbled by Stekelenburg and the ball falls to Schneiderlin whose shot is cleared off the line by Amorebieta. That'll spare the Dutch keeper's blushes!
It is a rather even first few minutes at St Mary's. The Saints' fans are in fine voice and looking to get their team off to a good start against the Cottagers.
HERE WE GO! Southampton get us underway!
Both teams are out on the pitch at St Mary's - with Fulham being led out by Dimitar Berbatov for the first time. The former Tottenham striker steps in with Brede Hangeland absent.
So there are two changes for Mauricio Pochettino's men as Rickie Lambert and James Ward-Prowse as they look to continue their impressive form in the league this season. For Martin Jol's charges, who got their season back on track with a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Monday, Fernando Amorebieta starts. Kick-off is not far away now!
Fulham: Stekelenburg; Riether, Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson; Ruiz, Sidwell, Parker, Kasami; Berbatov; Bent.Subs:Stockdale, Kacaniklic, Karagounis, Duff, Hughes, Rodallega and Zverotic.
Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Wanyama, Schneiderlin; Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert.Subs: K. Davis, Ramírez, Cork, Lee, Guly, Chambers and Hooiveld.
Hello! Good evening and welcome to the live text commentary of the Premier League clash between Southampton and Fulham. My name is Hayden Gribble and before we go any further, let's get the team news...
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