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October 7, 2012
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 28004
José Fonte 4', 90'
J. Hooiveld 70' (own goal)
K. Richardson 88'
With a back line as porous as theirs is, it'll be doubtful whether Southampton stay in the league this year - but one thing is for sure, they'll be absolutely brilliant to watch. Thanks for joining us, and have a great afternoon. Remember, there's plenty more football today that you can follow on Goal.com, so drop by later. Goodbye for now.
Jose Fonte has rescued the Saints after his defensive partner Jos Hooiveld had a game to forget, picking up a booking and at least one own goal. Martin Jol will be disappointed with his side throwing away a late lead, but a draw is perhaps fair given the strengths and weaknesses of both sides on the day. Nigel Adkins' side move out of the bottom three, but once again, his defence has let the side down.
And that is it - finally. It's a point apiece for Southampton and Fulham in a fantastic game for neutral fans - although both sets of supporters will have shredded nerves after a topsy-turvy game.
90' + 5'
Pandemonium as Schwarzer comes and doesn't collect, and the ball ends up out for a corner...but it's a free kick to Fulham after Chaplow blocks the keeper, and that should be it.
90' + 4'
Schwarzer makes a vital punch from a corner to deny Fonte an unlikely hat trick - and the Saints now have a tempting free kick on the wing. Lallana to deliver...
90' + 3'
Five minutes of injury time, can either side find a winner? The home side look more likely now after seeming dead and buried five minutes ago. Those fans walking out will wish they'd have stayed now.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card José Fonte
Assist Daniel Fox
Goal José Fonte
BUT THE SAINTS EQUALISE!!! Fox swings in a free kick and Jose Fonte nets his second of the game at the back post. What a game this is turning out to be...
Assist Sascha Riether
Goal Kieran Richardson
JOY FOR FULHAM!!! Hangelaand launches a long ball forward seemingly towards Damien Duff, who is well onside - but the Saints defenders do not notice the winger on the outside. He finds Richardson with a fine cross, and the defender finishes with the helping hand of Hooiveld. Heartbreak for the Saints, but entirely preventable. You simply cannot defend like that and expect to stay in the Premier League.
It should be the winner here for Rodriguez as he gets up to meet Lallana's teasing cross at the back post, but he can only head it into the ground and over the bar. Huge chance when his side have looked devoid of ideas in the last 15 minutes.
The tempo is quickening now as the visitors look for a way through - the substitution of Ricky Lambert seems to have taken the wind out of the seaside club's sails. Unless he was injured, did he really need to come off? On such decisions are games won and lost.
No - the ball is worked to Chris Baird, who slices a speculative effort well wide. Mr Baird, you are not Jon Arne Riise...
Fulham really working the ball around well now, and Yoshida gives away a nervy free kick 30 yards out - could it be Riise time?
Richardson does well to get forward but can only blaze a cut back well over. The Cottagers are pressing for that winner now, and it's all looking a bit ragged for Southampton here.
Schneiderlin is lucky to stay on the field here - he spins on the ball just inside his own half but lets it run away from him, and commits himself to a tackle on Karagounis that send the Greek tumbling. That should have been his second yellow, but Clatternburg is lenient and lets him off. No more chances for the midfielder though.
Fulham will see this as the ideal opportunity to improve their usual woeful away form by grabbing a second win of the season away from Craven Cottage, but the hosts will be desperate to restore their lead.
But here come the Saints again with a corner...which is eventually cleared by Hangelaand. Nigel Adkins, you need one of those.
Own Goal Jos Hooiveld
FULHAM ARE LEVEL!!! Jon Arne Riise looks like he's ready to power up a trademark effort as the ball falls kindly 22 yards out on the left, and while he strikes it well, the ball is helped into the net by the hapless Hooiveld. A reward for their second half efforts, and it's all to play for.
Replays show the ball was actually going wide before Hooiveld struck it into his own net, but he was too close to goal to really know that. Gazzaniga had no chance, but will be frustrated after making that wonderful stop from Rodallega earlier on.
Southampton's forward play has been majestic at times this season, but you have to feel that Adkins will need to buy a defender or two in January if his team are to stay in the Premier League.
Yellow Card Maya Yoshida
They really can't defend can they? A hopeful free kick is launched into Southampton's area, and despite no Fulham players being within five yards, two Saints defenders contrive to get mixed up and lose out to each other in the air, with the ball falling to Rodallega, whose shot deflects for a corner. Southampton do actually clear this one though.
A breathless couple of minutes here at St Mary's. Can Fulham keep this tempo up? Can Southampton hold on to a priceless home win? We'll find out in the final 30 minutes.
...and Gazzaniga makes a wonder stop to deny Rodallega! Fulham may come to rue these missed chances. For the first, the ball is flicked on and eventually hits Sidwell and hits the post from two yards. The ball is cleared, but again Southampton cannot clear the cross, and Rodallega's powerful header from three yards is tipped away superbly by the Argentine. Stunning.
Duff is clever and wins a free kick in a dangerous area...which is off the post!!! So close for Fulham there...
And they do break here, with Rodriguez powering forward before dispatching a disappointing effort straight at Schwarzer from 25 yards. He should have looked for a pass there, as he had men to either side.
Fulham pressing here but can't quite make any chances as their pressure builds. They'll have to commit more men forward, but Southampton are excellent on the break, so it's still wide open.
Lambert skies from 12 yards! A great cross finds the big man after a strong break away by the Saints, but he can only sky a volley from 12 yards with the goal gaping. Not good enough from Fulham there, but it still remains 1-0.
Southampton's defenders are trying to do kick-ups by the looks of it here as they just can't get the ball away after three of four attempts - finally the ball is hoofed away. The Saints know how to pick a pass, but the defence looks like a disaster waiting to happen...
Yellow Card Morgan Schneiderlin
Schneiderlin picks up a nailed-on yellow card for taking out Riise as he burst down the left wing. Cynical, but it stopped a possible counter attack for the visitors there.
We're back underway here and Southampton have started brightly. Adkins will have presumably told them to press home their advantage to try and kill the game off early.
Replays show Fonte's flicked 'header' actually came off his shoulder - it was a smooth connection, but still a slice of luck there for Southampton, reminiscent of Robin van Persie's strike against Cluj on Tuesday night.
And that's half time. The match has probably been too open for both managers, but it's been a fascinating watch for the neutral. Southampton have wasted presentable chances to put themselves further ahead, and while Fulham have been cumbersome in possession, Rodallega looks a lot sharper than the Saints back line. If they can find him, he will be the route back in to the game for Jol's men.
45' + 2'
Hooiveld almost costs his side a goal here as he totally misjudges a hopeful through ball and misses it completely, but Rodallega can't get there ahead of Gazzaniga, who does enough to put off the striker. The substitute has had a shaky half in defence here, and with a caution to his name already, could the sub be subbed later on in the game?
We've got four minutes of injury time here, and Fulham have another corner...Hughes heads it well but it's straight at Gazzaniga, who will be grateful after the defender wasn't picked up by his back line.
Rodallega screams for a handball against Fonte, and replays show it should have been a free kick right in front of the area for Fulham. The duo were struggling while the ball was dropping, but Fonte had his hand well up in front of the striker and effectively paddled it down - quite how it wasn't a free kick is a mystery really.
Puncheon tricks his way in from the right wing and finds Lambert free at the back post, and despite a good first touch, the big man cannot find a way past Mark Schwarzer, who blocks his powerful drive. It was straight at the keeper, but he stood strong and did what was needed.
Southampton are keeping the ball well here, while Fulham are struggling to get any rhythm going. The positive thing for Martin Jol will be that Southampton look uneasy every time they're on the back foot, but the Londoners will surely have to improve sharply in the second half.
It's Gazzaniga's turn to waste possession here when he chips a ball to Fox straight out of play, but the throw comes to nothing. A little lazy from both keepers there.
Schwarzer almost pays for a poor kick as Davis intercepts a routine pass. He finds Lambert, whose ball to Lallana in the box isn't quite good enough, and the midfielder cannot quite find a team mate for a tap-in. Dangerous from the keeper there.
Yoshida gets caught on his heels as Kačaniklic surges past him down the left but the winger wastes the cross. He looks uncorfortable out there, and Fulham could utilise that.
Hangelaand hoofs a long ball up and it flies straight through to the Southampton keeper. Rodallega may be quick, but he will not catch through balls launched like cruise missiles at nothing in particular.
Yellow Card Jos Hooiveld
Hooiveld is booked a little harshly for handling the ball out wide, and Ruiz whips in an effort on goal that Gazzaniga easily collects. Moments later the Argentine keeper launches a great goal kick to Puncheon - perhaps his ability on the ball is one of the reasons why he is keeping Kelvin Davis out of the team.
Southampton have it in the net again, but it's ruled out - correctly - for a foul on Schwarzer. Puncheon tried a clever foul by flicking the goalkeeper's legs, and Lambert headed down for Puncheon to finish in the empty net - but Mark Clattenburg did well to spot the offence.
Off the line for Southampton! A corner comes in, Schwarzer gets nowhere near the ball, and Puncheon almost turns it in, only for the ball to be turned off the line. That's why you have a man on the post.
Now Fulham attack, with Damien Duff whipping in a great ball that Hughes can only head over. This is end to end at the moment.
So close to two for the hosts! And it really should be a first for Lambert here - Lallana finds Rodriguez through the Fulham back line, and the forward picks out Lambert, who opens up his body for a finish from 12 yards but can only shoot wide. Big let-off there for the visitors.
Fulham have another corner here - they may have stumbled out of the blocks here today, but Jol's men have recovered quickly and don't look like giving this up easily.
And now Lallana hits the deck for the home side after clashing with Sidwell in the air - will this early injury madness ever end? The English midfielder looks a little dazed there, but should be fine. However, Sidwell will probably be looking at a yellow the next time he commits an offence.
It's Fulham's turn to attack as Steve Sidwell is free at the back post from a free kick, but Lambert does well to block any possible shot. Good defending from the striker there, showing the strength of his all-round game.
And now Jay Rodriguez is caught by Steve Sidwell, although it's no foul and Fulham play on, much to the home crowd's frustration. But he's up again and ready to play on.
It's unclear whether Fonte's header was an effort at goal or an attempt to set up a team mate, but goals like that really show the benefit of having defenders on both posts at corners. After that early action, Frazer Richardson is coming off for Jos Hooiveld after getting caught by Fonte as both players tried to clear the ball - not ideal for Adkins.
Assist Adam Lallana
Goal José Fonte
GOAL FOR SOUTHAMPTON!!! Adam Lallana swings a corner in right-footed, and Jose Fonte flicks the ball on at the near post. It's up, up, and in as the ball flies over everybody and nestles snugly in the far corner. What a start for the Saints.
Lambert causes unease in the defence after a high ball and wins a corner, which he climbs highest to meet, but can only head wide at the back post. The tall Englishman will be very important today with Ramirez's creativity missing from the centre. Another corner here...
And we're underway here, with Steven Davis winning the ball and shanking a shot well wide from 30 yards. A promising start there, in a manner of speaking.
The teams are out on the pitch and almost ready to go. A win for the hosts and kind results elsewhere would see the Saints leapfrog Liverpool to go 14th, while Jol's side could potentially go fifth if they win by four goals.
Former Bologna man Ramirez misses out with a dead leg, as does Nathaniel Clyne, which will be frustrating for Adkins considering the way in which the duo combined for the defender's delightful strike in the 4-1 victory against Aston Villa two weeks ago.
The big news is that Gaston Ramirez misses out for the hosts, who have just one win in six Premier League games and will be desperate for a strong home performance today. Fulham, on the other hand, are without summer signing Dimitar Berbatov, and will be relying on Hugo Rodallega to lead the line at St Mary's.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Baird, Sidwell; Duff, Ruiz, Kačaniklic; Rodallega. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Kasami, Karagounis, Richardson, Briggs.
We are 20 minutes away from kick off, and the team news is in... Southampton: Gazzaniga; Richardson, Fonte, Yoshida, Fox; Puncheon, S. Davis, Schneiderlin, Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez. Subs: K. Davis, Hooiveld, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Mayuka, Chaplow, Reeves
Good afternoon and welcome to the live commentary of Southampton - Fulham at St Mary's. Both sides will be confident they can pick up points here today, so expect an action-packed game as both Nigel Adkins and Martin Jol are keen advocates of attacking football with an emphasis on good passing.
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