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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
May 12, 2013
• 10:00 AM
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 41988
P. Bardsley 68'
J. Puncheon 76'
Thanks for joining me this afternoon and make sure to stick around for all the reaction on Goal.com shortly.
It wasn't a classic as both sides edge that little bit closer to Premier League safety.
That's it! It finishes 1-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Three minutes added on and we've already playing two of those.
A point wouldn't really suit either of these two teams, but it appears that the Black Cats are settling for one. The visitors are beginning to sense a winner, and are launching attack after attack as we approach injury time.
What a save by Mignolet to deny Lambert at the death. From Rodriguez's flick-on Lambert took the ball on his chest before firing a low angled effort that was brilliantly repelled by Mignolet.
Davis winds one up on the edge of the area but N'Diaye gets in a decent block.
Tension rising as the seconds tick away at the Stadium of Light. It could go either way, with both sides looking as though they want to get the job done today with a three-point haul.
Jason Puncheon is really making his mark on this game. He breaks free into all sorts of space down the right, and whips in a beautiful cross that is met by Ward-Prowse. The youngster dallies on the ball, though, and is eventually crowded out on the penalty spot. This match has opened up in the last couple of minutes.
The jubilant scenes that followed the Sunderland goal have quickly been replaced by the images of glum faces in the Stadium of Light. The visiting fans are making themselves heard, though, that's for sure.
A good run by Shaw as Southampton turn the screw having levelled ends with Sunderland clearing for a throw. Puncheon's goal has deflated the home crowd.
Talk about an impact substitution! He's only been on the field for a matter of minutes, but he's hauled his side back level!
Yellow Card Luke Shaw
Goal.com's Charlie Scott reports: "Mauricio Pochettino punches the air as Jason Puncheon draws Southampton level just minutes after coming on as a substitute. The strike smashed an effort past Simon Mignolet from close range after the Sunderland goalkeeper had done well to keep out Rickie Lambert's initial header. It is all square here at the Stadium of Light where we are poised for a nail-biting final 10 minutes."
Goal Jason Puncheon
GOAL! They weren't behind for long as the Saints hit back immediately through Jason Puncheon.
Paulo di Canio makes his second change with David Vaughan replacing the largely ineffective Seb Larsson.
The Saints respond by making a double change as Adam Lallana and Jack Cork make way, being replaced with Jason Puncehon and James Ward-Prowse respectively.
It's all Sunderland as Bardsley fires in another strike from range. It causes consternation in the box but is eventually cleared.
Yellow Card Jay Rodriguez
The Stadium of Light is bouncing, because that goal could well keep them in the Premier League. It is a goal worthy of the occasion as well, as a loose ball comes to Bardsley on the edge of the box, and he rifles in an unstoppable effort right into the top corner. The first thing Artur Boruc has had to do today is pick the ball out of his net!
Assist Adam Johnson
Goal Phil Bardsley
GOAL! Phil Bardsley gives the home side the lead with an absolute screamer from long-range into the top corner.
The passionate home fans turn the volume up and their side so nearly respond but Phil Bardsley's wicked low cross evades everyone in the six yard box.
Jay Rodriguez has been a real threat all afternoon but his latest effort from a corner is straight at Mignolet and at the other end, Boruc steps off his line to take Larsson's corner all too easily.
It has been a very lively start to this second half but it remains 0-0 as we approach the hour mark.
Goal.com's Charlie Scott reports: "It looks like we might have a game on our hands after all at the Stadium of Light. Both teams have looked far better in the first 10 minutes of this second half than they did before the break, although Danny Graham's torrid run of form goes on for the hosts. The striker struck air a few minutes ago when an inviting ball from Danny Rose flew across the six-yard box, which means he has now gone 14 hours of Premier League football without a goal."
However, it's the visitors who look more likely to find the opening goal. Lallana's snapshot is blocked by O'Shea and from the resulting set-piece, Mignolet is forced into a smart low stop as he pushes away Rodriguez's header.
Wickham has already caused the Saints rearguard with a few problems as he uses his considerable height to good effect.
With their manager's harsh words no doubt still ringing in their ears, Sunderland have started the half with better intensity. Danny Graham is clean through but Mike Dean pulls it back for a foul on Jose Fonte.
The visitors seem to have started the second period where they left off. Luke Shaw goes on another direct run down the left, and he puts a good cross in as well, but Simon Mignolet is just about able to reach the ball before it comes to Jay Rodriguez at the back stick.
Southampton get the second half started at the Stadium of Light.
Paulo di Canio has made a change at the break with Connor Wickham replacing James McClean.
Both sides have had their moments, but in truth this was a first half that was totally dominated by the visitors.
It's been pretty poor in truth, with neither side showing any really quality or composure.
And that's half-time at the Stadium of Light.
The game has suddenly come to life! Rickie Lambert wastes a great chance to put his side ahead as he brilliantly collects an overhit pass from Steven Davis, heading the ball down for himself, but scuffing his effort when he is one on one with Mignolet.
That opportunity was totally against the run of play, highlighting the importance of taking your chances when you're on top and Southampton have failed to do so.
Goal.com's Charlie Scott reports from Stadium of Light: "Huge chance for Adam Johnson! Seb Larsson curls an inviting corner to John O'Shea at the back post and the centre-back nods it back perfectly into the path of Johnson, but his first-time effort with his left foot is weak and the Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc is able to envelop the ball with his considerable torso."
Sunderland force Artur Boruc into his first save as Johnson prods O'Shea's knock down towards goal but probably should have done better.
Sunderland are really under the cosh here, and they seem to be lacking composure at the back as well as on the ball.
The half-time whistle can't come quickly enough it seems for the hosts as Southampton continue to pile forward in search of the breakthrough goal. Lallana pulls one a couple of yards wide after Rose's poor defensive header.
Rickie Lambert is screaming for a spot kick as he goes down under a challenge from John O'Shea as a free kick is delivered into the box, but the referee rightly waves play on. A goal doesn't look to far away for Southampton at the moment.
Southampton have just upped the intensity in the last few minutes as Mignolet produces a decent stop to deny Rodriguez.
Danny Graham, who is clearly short of confidence, is being left horribly exposed up front on his own. McClean and Johnson have failed to get close enough to support him and he's up against four defenders.
First effort on target sees Southampton striker Lambert force Mignolet into a comfortable save with a daisy-cutter from range.
With so much at stake, there's no surprise there is a lot of nervous tension both on and off the pitch. And to highlight this, a simple one-two between McClean and Rose breaks down as the fans are just beginning to get on the players' backs.
James McClean's form has really gone down hill this season but he has linked well with Rose so far this afternoon down the Sunderland left.
That was a crucial interception from Cuellar as Jay Rodriguez was ready to fire home.
Excellent forward run from Saints right-back Clyne as he makes real inroads before putting in a decent low cross that is cleared on the stretch by Cuellar.
The Saints have scored just one Premier League goal in their last four games, having scored seven in their three games prior to this barren run and they just seem to be lacking that cutting edge in the final third.
We've yet to have a noteworthy effort on either goal as McClean does well to block Hooiveld's header.
Steven Davis beautifully takes a long ball out of the air and surges towards the area. He should have a shot himself, but he elects to pass it backwards to Jack Cork, and the move eventually breaks down.
Despite a fairly tentative start by their side, the home fans are still in good voice and doing all they can to urge the players forward.
Danny Rose, playing his last game for Sunderland, forces Mignolet to dash off his line with a short back-pass but the danger is eventually cleared. It's been a nervous start by the hosts.
Lallana wastes another set-piece in a dangerous position as he over hits a free-kick down the right and despite the best efforts of Rickie Lambert, the ball sails over the dead ball line.
Sunderland are yet to get going in the opening few minutes and Southampton are looking far more composed on the ball.
The visitors have started brightly and win an early corner but Adam Lallana's set-piece is easily gathered by Mignolet.
Scrappy start from both sides as they look to settle into this game. The Black Cats have won just one of their last seven home league matches.
Southampton are playing from right to left in this first period in their yellow away kit.
Referee Mike Dean gives the signal that we're ready to go and the home side get us underway.
John O'Shea and Adam Lallana are in the tunnel ready to lead out their respective sides as the atmosphere builds nicely inside the Stadium of Light.
The Saints have gone 301 minutes without a Premier League goal and if they lose this game it will be the first time they've lost three in a row under Mauricio Pochettino.
Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio had been speaking about the importance of this fixture ahead of the game: "It is difficult for both sides. If we win, we stay up; if they win, they stay up. It’s a good challenge. I’m curious and I am sure my players are going to deliver a very good performance because they know how important the game is. After what happened on Monday night [against Stoke] we are really focused for the next game.”
Just fifteen minutes until kick-off. Sunderland and Southampton have met 47 times in the league. Sunderland have won 16, Southampton 21 with 10 draws.
Danny Graham has now played for 13 hours in the Premier League since he last scored a league goal. Can the striker score his first goal for the Black Cats today? Get in touch via Twitter @RyanBailey37
Sunderland won at Southampton earlier in the season, a 1-0 victory on in December thanks to Steven Fletcher's first-half strike.
If Sunderland win it will be the first time they have completed the double over Saints for 13 years.
Southampton are still without Gaston Ramirez after the talented Uruguayan was sent off for elbowing Shane Long in the face during their 3-0 defeat to West Brom two weeks ago. The only change from Mauricio Pocchettino's XI that lost 1-0 to Tottenham last week is the return of Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield at the expense of Guly. Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana flank Rickie Lambert in attack for the visitors.
The hosts are without Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon, both of whom miss the match through suspension. Phil Bardsley comes in at right-back in the absence of Gardner, which means Jack Colback will start in the centre of Sunderland's midfield. Adam Johnson continues in his role behind Danny Graham in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Shaw; Cork, Schneiderlin, Davis; Rodriguez, Lambert, Lallana Subs: Davis, Yoshida, Forren, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka, De Ridder, Puncheon
Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose; Larsson, N'Diaye, Colback, McClean, Johnson; Graham Subs: Westwood, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Mangane, Marrs, Mandron, Wickham
Just over forty minutes till kick-off at a slightly damp Stadium of Light. The teams are in and are as follows...
If you want to get in touch with your predictions, opinions or comments you can tweet me @RyanBailey37
Meanwhile, the Saints are a point better off than their opponents and will feel that hitting 40 for the season should be enough to steer them clear of trouble. A draw in the North East would see them reach that target, but success would guarantee them a second season among English football's elite - so breaking a four-match winless run will be the target.
Paulo di Canio knows that victory against the Saints would calm all nerves ahead of a trip to Tottenham on the final day. The Black Cats have been dragged back into trouble after collecting just one point from their last two fixtures and are just three points above the drop zone.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com’s LIVE coverage of today’s Premier League clash between Sunderland and Southampton from the Stadium of Light. The equation for each club is simple- victory would all but secure their Premier League survival, in Sunderland's case barring a dramatic swing in goal difference.
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