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West Ham United
9 March 2013
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 26783
Well that's all from me chaps. As always, it's been delightful to share the occasion with all you lovely people, and hopefully it won't be too long until our paths cross again. Take care and enjoy whatever it is you do with yourself.
That said, a point is a point. Norwich now sit on 33, which won't be far off safety come the end of it. Whilst many fans won't be enthralled by the performances, upon reflection they'll realise that it's one step closer to safety.
For Norwich, it was another lacklustre performance that paled in comparison to the glory of the Everton victory. Whilst many pundits are backing the side for safety this season, they'll need to up their game in the run-in.
It's tough to say how this results will pan out mentally for either team, but I doubt either of them will take heart from their performances. The result leaves Southampton squarely in the relegation battle with Aston Villa and QPR both gaining ground on the teams above them.
Meanwhile, there will be heartbreak for Norwich as skipper Grant Holt's head drops; his eyes clenched shut in disbelief. He knows he's squandered a guilt-edged chance to all but secure survival this season, and he's blown it.
But that really was a sensational stop from Boruc, who has single-clutched his side a point from the jaws of defeat, which in the long term, could prove vital.
And that's the end of play here. Pochettino remonstrating furiously with the referee and is straight out on the pitch to do so. Didn't know he could speak English.
90' + 2'
Penalty saveArtur Boruc
90' + 2'
Missed PenaltyGrant Holt
90' + 2'
Yellow CardJason Puncheon
90' + 2'
It's saved. What a stop from Boruc who has saved his side's blushes in fine style here. He dives low to his right to deny Norwich their first converted penalty of the season.
90' + 1'
Looks like Luke Shaw clipped Holt in the box as he chased a ball trundling out the box. Grant Holt to take.
90' + 1'
Controversy aplenty here as referee Mark Clattenburg gives a penalty to the amazement of almost everyone involved. Always at the centre of attention, this Clattenburg.
Three minutes to be added on here.
Yellow CardJosé Fonte
Southampton charge back at the hosts, and Lambert's ball in is knocked down exceptionally by Lallana. But Rodriguez can't find his feet as he scuffs his effort straight at Bunn.
Deep inswinger from Snodgrass finds Holt at the back post, who's low cross in deflects kindly off Yoshida into the grateful arms of Boruc. Hosts continuing to surge.
Snodgrass free kick from a dangerous position cleared well by Southampton, but the visitors are beginning to tire now as the hosts press. Points are there for the taking.
Yellow CardBradley Johnson
The ball falls to Fonte on the fringes of the box after a cushioned knock down from Lambert, but the defender unleashes the archetype defender's finish that impotently dribbles out for a goal kick.
Not an incredible day for Kamara, who makes way for the Argentine. Looked explosive in the opening stages but his intense play soon sapped him of the energy necessary to make a meaningful impact on the game. Big chance to impress for Becchio, however.
Lambert heads Do Prado's deep free kick out helplessly for a goal kick.
Snodgrass will be disappointed with his effort there. The winger bursts into the Southampton box before rounding Boruc, but is denied by the quick thinking defending of Yoshida. Superb ball from Howson to play him in as well.
Game descending into sloppiness now, with both teams struggling to hold onto the ball in these appalling conditions.
Some neat passing from Norwich frees Snodgrass down the right, but in the face of three Southampton defenders, the Scotland international puts in a dull cross that soars out of play for a goal kick.
Guilherme Do Prado
His ball is cleared back to him by Kamara, before Southampton launch a barrage of shots into the box. They're all deflected away from danger, however, and Norwich are out of trouble for the moment. Tide beginning to turn in favour of the visitors now.
His blasted effort, however, only manages to clip the wall before rolling out for a corner. Lallana to take.
A heart-stopping moment for Robert Snodgrass as he pulls down Luke Shaw on the fringes of the box. Close range free kick incoming. Lambert to take. Big chance, this.
Garrido and Hoolahan linking well down the left, but Hoolahan's ball in gathered by Boruc to deny Kei Kamara a glimpse of goal.
Hooiveld gets up gingerly after being clattered by Robert Snodgrass as he rose to met Garrido's shanked cross.
Garrido is smartly played in down the left flank by Hoolahan, who has shone since his arrival, but his cross is hit awkwardly and sails into the grateful arms of Boruc.
Rodriguez blasts an effort straight at Mark Bunn after being played in behind the Norwich rearguard by a smart flick-on from Ramirez. The parried ball finds its way to Rickie Lambert, but the big man can only fire his strike well over the bar. Certainly not short of chances, this game. Been one of those afternoons for both sides.
A clutch interception from Yoshida from a Snodgrass cross denies Holt a golden opportunity in the six-yard box. Great piece of defensive play from the Japanese.
Yoshida's long ball finds Lallana in the box, but Mark Bunn is quick to it to deny Rickie Lambert.
Worrying news for Norwich now as Robert Snodgrass receives treatment on the pitch after a crunching tackle on Luke Shaw. The winger back up on his feet now, however.
At the other end, Grant Holt gets his feet tangled up and fails to put away a sumptuous low cross from Hoolahan. The big man is spared his blushes, however, by the offside flag.
That's better from the visitors. Rodriguez breaks down the left before sliding a low ball into the six-yard box past the outstretched Ramirez before Lallana blasts it agonisingly over the bar with Bunn scrambling on all fours.
A rather pedestrian start to the second period as Southampton knock it around the back four before knocking it long to Seb Bassong.
Also, I can reveal that it is somehow snowing in Norwich.
Norwich get us underway for the second half.
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw has been little short of a revelation this season, and we're seeing exactly why. His pacy, darting runs down the left flank have caused Martin all sorts of headaches. The left-back looks Southampton's most promising attacking outlet thus far.
Norwich will need to rectify their shortcomings in midfield and seem to be badly missing the industrious Alex Tettey. Howson has figured minimally in proceedings so far and has disappointed in the centre thus far, probably since it's not his natural position.
On the balance of things, 0-0 looks a fair reflection of the scoreline, but Pochettino's men look more convincing on their forays forward and have enjoyed the lion's share of possession so far.
And with that chance comes the break. A number of fine saves from Mark Bunn denied Southampton the lead on several occasions in the opening stages, before Norwich rallied with a few golden chances of their own.
45' + 2'
Norwich inches away from scoring again. A deep inswinging free kick from Snodgrass meets the head of Michael Turner, who knocks it down just inches long of an outstretched Kamara. Looked offside, anyway.
Yellow CardAdam Lallana
Remostration from the Saints players after Lallana is questionably booked for a handball. Nothing comes from the ensuing free-kick, however, as Snodgrass' short ball to Howson is hit straight into the knees of Yoshida.
A low cross from Snodgrass is inches away from being met by the onrunning Grant Holt at the back post, who was facing an open net as the ball came in.
Snodgrass lets a limp shot fly from outside the box and its duly gathered by Boruc with ease.
Kamara and Holt looking lonesome figures at the helm of the Norwich attack, with the midfield service drowned out by Cork and Schneiderlin.
Luke Shaw with another impressive run down the left channel. The 17-year old providing a stern test to Russel Martin. He forces a corner for the visitors, which is headed away well by Hoolahan.
Early change for Norwich as Pilkington makes way for Wes Hoolahan, who has taken his position on the left. Don't expect him to hug the touchline though.
Mark Bunn is again tested by Southampton as Luke Shaw flies down the left flank once again before unleashing a fearsome drive straight at the Norwich keeper, who is equal to it.
Pilkington beginning to clutch at his hamstring.
A stunning free kick delivery from Garrido almost finds the head of Michael Turner but for a superb piece of defensive play from Rickie Lambert. A goal-saving intervention.
A great effort at the other end from Robert Snodgrass. The Scotsman scored direct from a free kick last time these teams met and almost made it two in two games there, but for the smart hands of Boruc to deny his swerving effort.
Bunn puts an incredible hand out to deny Gaston Ramirez a certain goal. The keeper wrongly rushes out of goal to marshal the Uruguayan but stands his ground excellently and gets a clasping hand to the ball.
Boruc does well to pluck a deep delivery from Russel Martin off the head of Kei Kamara at his back post. Probably Norwich's best opportunity yet.
Swerving set-piece delivery from Ramirez well cleared by the Norwich rearguard.
Southampton approaching this game perfectly. Hunting in packs at the back before rapid transitions up the field. The midfield duo of Howson and Johnson have been left wanting against the pace in the Southampton attacking corps.
Another excellent opportunity falls to Adam Lallana as Fonte's swerving early cross glides just inches too far from his left boot.
Snodgrass bounds to the byeline before his cross haplessly finds Fonte. Wasted opportunity for the hosts.
Superb stop by Mark Bunn to deny Adam Lallana's rising shot from the outskirts of the box. Thumped with real venom, that took a solid pair of hands to deny the 24-year-old.
The ensuing corner zips through the six-yard box with neither team managing to get even the slightest of touches. A couple of glimpses of goal opening up for Southampton now as the half unfolds.
Yellow CardGrant Holt
Dangerous moment for Noriwch as Rodriguez's low cross finds Lallana at the near post, but he is denied clear sight of goal by Javier Garrido.
Grant Holt takes down Morgan Schneiderlin and then puzzingly gives him a couple of light boots for his troubles as he urges him to get back to his feet.
Conditions suiting neither team, really, with both teams hammering the ball long on repeated occasions.
Poor ball from Yoshida finds Garrido at the half-way line, but Norwich aren't able to use the ball to their advantage and are forced back into their own half before Bassong sends the ball soaring to the Southampton keeper.
Southampton holding possession well here, despite the scrappy conditions, forcing Kamara into a foul on Schneiderlin at the half-way line.
Lallana finds space in the box and slides the ball to the onrunning Yoshida, who half-heartedly blasts his effort well over the bar.
Saints fans breathe a sigh of relief as Lambert returns to the pitch after a brief sojourn on the sidelines.
Bursting 30-yard run from Luke Shaw wins a throw-in deep in the Norwich half - the second run of its kind from the threatening youngster.
Norwich starting to get a foothold in these wretched conditions, with Javier Garrido managing to burst down the left flank only to have his cross fall short of the lurking Kamara and Holt.
Norwich looking sloppy in possession and hesitant when approaching the final third. A hopeful chance with Kamara holding play up on the outskirts of the box is squandered by Pilkington, who half-fistedly crosses the ball into Fonte before Howson blazes a dismal effort wide.
Decent ball in from the bombing-on Luke Shaw headed high and wide by Rodriguez, promising start for Southampton.
Long, searching ball from Bradley Johnson to Pilkington cut out well by Fonte.
And we're off here at Carrow Road.
The players are coming out onto the pitch now and I cannot do the bleakness of these conditions justice. Hats off the Southampton faithful, though, who have travelled en masse to spur on their Saints today.
The crafty Wes Hoolahan misses out today for Norwich, and the responsibility will fall upon third consecutive player of the month Robert Snodgrass to pick up the slack. The returning youngster Luke Shaw will be his man today, and he will underestimate him at his peril.
The same responsibility will fall upon the shoulders of Norwich's Bradley Johnson at the other end. Having been beaten in one-to-ones more times than any other player in the Premier League this season, it will be imperative that Johnson puts in the sort of performance that has seen him become Norwich's most featured player this season.
And with the duo of battering-ram Grant Holt and Kamara sure to keep the back three busy today, it will be essential that Schneiderlin puts in a big shift to close off the supply line.
Norwich again field a 4-4-2, as they did against Everton, in an attempt to rediscover their scoring form. A side famed for its cavalier attitude under Lambert, the Canaries have come up short with their standard 4-5-1 style thus far this term, with no player scoring more than five goals.
Either team could take advantage of the scrappy conditions befalling Carrow Road today. On one hand, the conditions could suit a battle-hardened Canaries side. Conversely, however, the slick surface could play into the hands of Southampton's neat style and rapid transitional play.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, this game promises action and is a clash of some magnitude for both managers. A loss for Southampton and its red alert. A win for Norwich and they'll be essentially out of the woods.
Top-scoring Englishman Rickie Lambert starts, alongside the returning Adam Lallana and record signing Gaston Ramirez - a trio that promises dynamism. Whether the much-maligned Saints backline can hold away from home is another matter altogether.
Southampton will be desperate to rectify last week's ignominious home loss against basement dwellers QPR and have plenty of potency at their disposal.
Fan-favourite Kei Kamara is handed his first start for the Canaries and will be looking to replicate the heroics that saw him drive Norwich to a glorious 2-1 victory over high-flying Everton last time out at Carrow Road.
Southampton Team: Boruc, Fox, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fonte, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Ramirez, Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez
Hi all. I'm Alex Ward and I'll be guiding you through this crunch clash between a Canaries side flirting with the relegation battle and a Southampton side stuck squarely in the midst of it.
Norwich Team: Bunn, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Johnson, Snodgrass, Howson, Pilkington, Holt, Kamara
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