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Premier League

  • 22 December 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 31275
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Live Commentary

  • And that's all from me, Al Hain-Cole. Thanks for joining us for the game at St. Mary's, we hope you enjoyed the action on a wet and windy afternoon.
  • And that's all from me, Al Hain-Cole. Thanks for joining us for the game at St. Mary's, we hope you enjoyed the action on a wet and windy afternoon.
  • And that's all from me, Al Hain-Cole. Thanks for joining us for the game at St. Mary's, we hope you enjoyed the action on a wet and windy afternoon.
  • And that's it! Sunderland have earned themselves a priceless three points here, thanks to Fletcher's opportunistic first-half strike. O'Neill's men defended heroically at times in the second period, but the hosts lacked imagination up front after the break and Mignolet barely had a save to make in the Sunderland goal.
  • 90' + 4'
    The goalkeeper is up for another corner, but it is cleared once again.
  • 90' + 3'
    Do Prado has a decent chance in the box, but his shot is deflected behind for a corner. The visitors have certainly worked hard today, and an away win would not be unjust.
  • 90' + 2'
    Lambert takes a long ball beautifully on the chest, but his shot on the turn is blocked. It falls to Ramirez, but his strike is once again foiled by a flying Sunderland man. It's Campbell back there to help his back four.
  • 90'
    Southampton win a corner, but Sunderland are back en masse and hoof the ball clear. It falls to Nathaniel Clyne, but his shot goes way over from at least 30 yards out.
  • 89'
    Substitution Stéphane Sessegnon David Vaughan
  • 88'
    Ramirez gives the ball away yet again in a promising position. Is he definitely the same player as in the first half?
  • 86'
    The Mackems defenders have been mopping up everything the hosts have to throw at them, and two of them leap to make sure Ramirez's cross does not reach Lambert. The striker has mostly been feeding on scraps today.
  • 85'
    Sunderland have the ball in the opposition half and show no sign of giving it up lightly. A ball into the box is dropped by Davis, who thought he was fouled by Sessegnon. Luckily for him, Yoshida is there to clear.
  • 81'
    Substitution Jason Puncheon Guilherme Do Prado
    Adkins is throwing everything at it as his side desperately seek an equaliser. Do Prado comes on up front in the final change.
  • 79'
    Yellow Card Phil Bardsley
    Bardsley cynically goes through the back of De Ridder and is rightly cautioned. The free kick is wasted though, yet again. Set pieces have generally been poor from the home side.
  • 79'
    Sunderland are doing a good job of seeing this game out at the moment, not giving the hosts any time on the ball and getting to any loose passes straight away. It is all getting a little bit niggly here.
  • 77'
    Gardner hits a free kick from 30 yards out, straight into the arms of Davis. The Saints goalkeeper almost makes a mess of it though, as the ball slips through his legs. He manages to clench it between his legs though, and the smile on his face is that of a relieved man.
  • 75'
    Substitution Adam Johnson Fraizer Campbell
    Adam Johnson is forced off with an injury, to be replaced by Frasier Campbell. The striker scored against Manchester United last weekend.
  • 73'
    A good move by De Ridder breaks down as Ramirez gives the ball away sloppily for Southampton. He has been like a different player after the interval.
  • 70'
    Substitution Sebastian Larsson Phil Bardsley
    A defensive move by O'Neill, and it allows Gardner to move into midfield from right back. Bardsley has been out injured for a few weeks, and needs to get up to speed quickly.
  • 69'
    Cuellar seems to panic under no pressure and slices the ball behind for a corner. The Saints don't take advantage of the gift though, as Lambert's header down from the cross finds nobody waiting in a red shirt to have a shot, and is cleared.
  • 68'
    Yellow Card Adam Johnson
  • 67'
    De Ridder has made a difference since coming on as a sub, and his jinking run results in a decent low cross. The Sunderland defence are there in numbers though, and get the ball clear.
  • 66'
    Ramirez has looked very quiet in this second period, and his side are missing his creative spark.
  • 65'
    The hosts seem to be trying to step it up a gear, as De Ridder is just offside on the left wing.
  • 62'
    Great chance for the equaliser. The sub De Ridder puts a great corner into the box but Fonte's header is cleared off the line. How did that stay out? Colback didn't seem to know much about it as it the ball bounces off his head.
  • 60'
    Substitution Morgan Schneiderlin Steven Davis
    Nigel Adkins knows that something needs to change if his side are to get back into this game, and has taken positive action by replacing the defensive Schneiderlin with the more creative Steven Davis.
  • 57'
    Sunderland will be very happy with their start to the second half, and they have managed to completely disrupt the home side. Southampton are showing none of the fluency they exhibited sporadically in the opening period.
  • 55'
    Substitution Emmanuel Mayuka Steve Ridder
    Mayuka's afternoon is over, as he is replaced by Steve De Ridder. The Belgian is making his first Premier League appearance of the season.
  • 55'
    Larsson puts a very dangerous corner into the box, but it is headed behind by Fonte. The resultant set piece comes to nothing.
  • 53'
    Johnson breezes past Shaw on the right wing and puts a cross into the box which is cleared behind by Yoshida. The winger's corner eventually comes back to him, and he jinks into the box but his shot is disappointing.
  • 52'
    Neither side are really holding onto the ball, giving away possession with frustrating regularity.
  • 49'
    Gardner hits another skimming ball into the box, but it evades both Sessegnon and Fletcher. The right back has been one of the visitors' best attacking payers.
  • 46'
    Lambert tries his luck straight away, but it flies high and wide. He hit it sweetly enough, but Mignolet will be happy to see the opposition choosing to shoot from range every time.
  • 46'
    Sunderland get the game back underway.
  • The players have re-emerged for the second half, and no changes appear to have been made.
  • Nigel Adkins will be reasonably happy with his side's performance so far, particularly the link-up play between the front four of Mayuka, Lambert, Puncheon and Ramirez. The Uruguayan record signing has been at the centre of all the Saints' best moves, but has been unable to unlock a dogged Sunderland defence. O'Neill's men look like a team who are desperate not to get sucked into a relegation battle, and with Fletcher up front, they always have a chance of nicking a goal.
  • And that's half-time. Southampton have looked lively without really threatening, while Sunderland have hit the back of the net through their usual source - the clinical Steven Fletcher.
  • 45'
    Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
  • 45'
    That's a sucker punch for the Saints, who have looked the more likely so far.
  • 42'
    Assist Stéphane Sessegnon
  • 42'
    Goal Steven Fletcher
    GOAL!!! Adam Johnson whips a dangerous low cross in from the left-hand-side, its intended target, Stephane Sessegnon, slices an attempted shot horribly, however it falls to Steven Fletcher who sweeps home with a simple finish.
  • 41'
    Half chance for Southampton after Mayuka uses his pace to get in behind the defence on the right-hand side. The ball eventually falls to Cork but his shot is well blocked.
  • 39'
    Gardner hits a free kick from all of 35 yards, but it goes straight into the wall. He can hit them though, and Davis will be a grateful man in the Southampton goal after the defenders did their job.
  • 36'
    And up the other end Gardner puts another dangerous early cross into the box, but it cleared off a Sunderland man and goes behind for a goal kick.
  • 35'
    Lovely touch by Ramirez on the touchline, turning inside and feeding Lambert. The striker almost manages to break through on goal but is well tackled by Cuellar.
  • 34'
    Sunderland's passing in the final third has lacked the quality of Southampton's, and Sessegnon gives the ball away cheaply yet again.
  • 31'
    Steven Fletcher is limping uncomfortably. The Scottish striker has been struggling with an ankle injury recently and had to be substituted in last week's defeat at Old Trafford. O'Neill will not want to have to do the same here.
  • 29'
    Gardner is the latest man to bring down Ramirez. It seems the Sunderland players may be targeting the Uruguayan playmaker.
  • 27'
    Jack Colback brings down Ramirez 30 yards out, but Puncheon's free kick is easily cleared. That was a chance for the hosts, who had thrown plenty of men forward.
  • 23'
    Ramirez hits another shot from quite a way out, but this time it sails comfortably over the bar. He is looking like a threat though.
  • 22'
    Plenty of players trying their luck from distance, no doubt trying to take advantage of the wet surface.
  • 20'
    Gaston Ramirez hits a wicked dipping shot from 25 yards out which is parried by Mignolet. He linked up nicely with Mayuka there, and is unfortunate not to hit the back of the net.
  • 17'
    Mayuka creates space for himself on the edge of the box but shoots meekly into Mignolet's arms.
  • 16'
    Sunderland have taken the sting out of the game a bit now after a high tempo start from the home side. Adam Johnson and James McClean look dangerous on the wings as well.
  • 14'
    It's taken short and Sebastian Larsson finds space to get the shot away from the left-hand side of the box. It's easily gathered by Davis though.
  • 13'
    Sunderland now have a corner after McClean's cross is blocked.
  • 11'
    Southampton waste a chance to counterattack after Puncheon's pass is given away on the stretch by Schneiderlin. They had men over there.
  • 9'
    And Lambert whips a low shot towards the far post from the set piece which takes a slight nick off a Sunderland defender and goes just wide. A let off for the visitors.
  • 8'
    Mayuka is fouled right on the edge of the box by Gardner to give the Saints a free kick in a dangerous position.
  • 6'
    Morgan Schneiderlein puts a free kick into a loaded penalty area but it's easily punched away by Mignolet.
  • 5'
    Jason Puncheon makes an enterprising run into the box, before losing out to Carlos Cuellar. He could be a threat for Sunderland.
  • 4'
    It is absolutely tipping it down here, which may not help Southampton's passing game.
  • 1'
    Stephane Sessegnon has the first shot of the match, forcing a good save from Kelvin Davis after a great turn. The resulting corner is headed over by John O'Shea.
  • 1'
    And we're off...
  • Centre-back Jose Fonte captains Southampton on his 29th Birthday against Sunderland this afternoon. He'll be hoping for the best present of all - securing back-to-back Premier League clean sheets by keeping the Black Cats' attacking forces out.
  • Nigel Adkins makes two changes from the Southampton side that beat Reading 1-0 two weeks ago, the Saints missing out on action last weekend with their proposed opponents Chelsea involved in the Club World Cup. Adam Lallana is out with a knee injury and is replaced by Gaston Ramirez, while Jay Rodriguez drops to the bench to accommodate Emmanuel Mayuka. Paulo Gazzaniga remains out with injury so Kelvin Davis keeps his place in goal.
  • Southampton starting XI: K. Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw; Cork, Schneiderlin; Mayuka, Ramirez, Puncheon; Lambert Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, S. Davis, Rodriguez, Guly, Richardson, De Ridder Sunderland starting XI: Mignolet; Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose; Johnson, Larsson, Colback, McClean; Sessegnon; Fletcher Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Bramble, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan
  • The Saints are unbeaten in their last four matches at home, with Sunderland only winning once in their last 16 trips away from the Stadium of Light. Sounds ominous for Martin O'Neill's men...
  • Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Southampton versus Sunderland at St. Mary's.