Premier League Match Report: Southampton manager Nigel Adkins looks on positive side after Fonte earns point against Fulham
Southampton 2 Fulham 2
Glenn Moore is Football Editor for The Independent and a Uefa B licence holder. Glenn has worked for the Independent newspapers since 1993, initially as cricket correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, subsequently as football correspondent of The Independent before becoming football editor in 2004.
Monday 08 October 2012
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.”
Latest in Sport
John Cena nose: WWE US Champion suffers horrific broken nose in RAW main event against Seth Rollins
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Real Madrid striker fuels speculation he will join Gunners with cryptic Instagram post
Chelsea vs Barcelona: what channel is it on and how can I watch it?
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Arsene Wenger hits back over Jose Mourinho's claims 'buying success' ahead of Community Shield
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – highest and lowest transfer spenders revealed
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall