Premier League Match Report: Southampton manager Nigel Adkins looks on positive side after Fonte earns point against Fulham
Southampton 2 Fulham 2
In his programme notes yesterday Southampton manager Nigel Adkins stressed the need for “positivity”.
In that spirit he commended his team’s first-half display, was pleased at further proof of their ability to score goals in the top flight, and praised their character in rallying to salvage a last-minute draw.
However, positivity must be tempered with realism and he admitted games like this need to be won if Southampton are to back up their successive promotions by consolidating in the Premier League. And he knows that while Saints may be scoring at this level they are also conceding: 20 times in seven games to date.
“We have conceded too many goals,” said Adkins. “We have to defend as a team. We pressed well in the first-half but we dropped off in the second, the game became too open and that allowed Fulham to play.”
As a consequence Jose Fonte’s fourth-minute goal was overhauled in the last quarter by two from Fulham, a Jos Hooiveld own goal and Kieren Richardson’s first for the club. A third home defeat in four league games loomed, then Fonte rose again to equalise in the last minute.
Martin Jol was unhappy that Fulham had not been given a free-kick in the build-up to that goal but limited his criticism of referee Mark Clattenburg to: “It was 100 per cent a free-kick, it was as if he didn’t see it.” His restraint was, he said, “because you cannot say anything in England, you get fined. I get good wages but I don’t want to pay a fine.”
Jol’s players had begun as if still digesting a Sunday roast enabling Saints to force a succession of corners, none of them defended convincingly. Eventually Adam Lallana dipped one over Hugo Rodallega at the near post and Fonte looped a header into the top corner of the back post.
Saints continued to look the better side but spurned several chances to increase their lead before the break. Rickie Lambert rolled a carefully side-footed shot wide after a slick passing move. Sasha Riether cleared off the line from Jason Puncheon after another Lallana corner had unsettled Fulham. And Puncheon picked out Lambert at the far post only for Saint’s leading scorer to blast his shot at Mark Schwarzer.
It seemed inconceivable that Fulham could play as badly after the break but Southampton initially maintained their control. On the hour, though, Fulham stirred. In a burst of concerted pressure Steve Sidwell hit the post, Paulo Gazzaniga saved a point-blank header by Rodallega, and Maya Yoshida blocked another effort by the Colombian with his arm. It wold have been a harsh penalty as Yoshida’s arm was by his side and the contact seemed inadvertent.
In an attempt to close the game down Adkins, to home supporters’ displeasure, replaced the misfiring Lambert with Guly Do Prado. But the Brazilian had barely got into the game when Fulham levelled after the hapless Hooiveld turned an off-target shot by John Arne Riise into his own net.
It seemed there could be only one winner from then on and though Richardson drove over from one Riether cross he impressively converted the overlapping right-back’s next delivery. Game over, surely, but in the final minute of normal time Dan Fox swung in a deep free-kick and Fonte spoiled Schwarzer’s 40th birthday weekend.
Showing the positivity Adkins will need this season he summed up: “We showed great character. At 1-0 it was two points lost, but from 1-2 it was a point gained.”
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Paul Scholes: At last! Some credit for Sam Allardyce
EXCLUSIVE: F1 heading for eastern revolution as new team emerges from Romania
Impressive Kurt Zouma may save Chelsea millions by replacing John Terry
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything