Football: Magilton's fine finale

Southampton 3

Watson 9, Oakley 13, Magilton pen 89

Derby County 1

Dailly 8

Attendance: 14,901

Above all , Southampton needed to win to avoid the prospect of their traditional relegation struggle. They were in danger of forgetting how, having failed to do so since October, in which period they had lost five consecutive league matches.

It helped at The Dell yesterday that they came up against a Derby side which failed to do themselves the justice of their resilient form in the early season. They eked out the points in a rugged second half but confirmed them in the final minute when Eyal Berkovitch was up-ended in the area. Jim Magilton scored from the penalty.

The match had an electrifying start, largely thanks to defensive lapses. Three goals arrived in the space of five minutes and there could have been more both before and after this bizarre period.

Derby were swift to secure control in midfield. The danger for a Southampton defence forced into a reshuffle, both by the absence of Ulrich van Gobbel and the early departure of Richard Dryden with an injured hamstring, was obvious and no sooner had the latter hobbled off than they went behind. Ashley Ward delivered a deft header into the path of Christian Dailly, who was in the side only because the prolific Dean Sturridge was out with flu. The replacement striker kept both his head and nerve in beating Dave Beasant.

This was not something that could be said of his colleagues at the back - shorn of Paul McGrath who also had flu - barely a minute later. After Berkovitch was allowed to work his way behind the defence on the right and sent across a beautifully weighted pass, Watson's shot thundered against Russell Hoult. The keeper failed to hold the ball and Watson equalised from a sharp angle on the rebound.

In the 13th minute Derby were found wanting on the other flank. Robbie Slater made a deceptive dart into the area, reached the byline and his lovely, unchallenged chip to the far post found Matthew Oakley. Thirteen minutes gone, three goals and within five more minutes Ward, permitted space, might have done better than find the side netting with his shot.

Southampton surely now controlled the destiny of the game and Berkovitch rolled a free kick astutely to Magilton, whose shot was accurate but directed straight at Hoult. Still, Southampton were in winter slumberland at the back and only Beasant's swift work, moving across to the far post, kept out Dean Yates's header from a loping free-kick.

Given the weakened state of the defences, this was thrill-a-minute stuff. Two minutes from the break, however, Hoult matched Beasant's agility. He saved first Watson's shot and the subsequent header from Egil Ostenstad.

Derby brought on Lee Carsley and Marco Gabbiadini and had immediate cause to rue the latter's introduction. He had been on the field for less than two minutes when his foul on Neil Maddison brought a justified caution. Five minutes later, put in the clear by Darryl Powell's through- ball, he demonstrated a first touch from hell and allowed Beasant to claim the ball comfortably. Soon, he made amends with a smart turn and cross but this was slightly too high for Dailly to control his header.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home