Southampton 2 Fulham 0 match report: Rickie Lambert back in the old routine as Saints surge on

Saints move up to third thanks to strike duo Lambert and Rodriguez

St Marys

It may not have been exactly El Classico, the other televised game yesterday evening, but Saints fans still went home dreaming of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Southampton’s victory over Fulham sent them into third place in the Premier League and although they are likely to be overtaken today, there is surely never a bad time to go into a Champions League position.

Southampton's manager, Mauricio Pochettino, said in his programme notes that “the Sky is the limit” for his team, and though he also warned that their League position had created a level of expectation, they dealt with it pretty comfortably against a Fulham side that was not permitted to show any of the flair they displayed in winning 4-1 at Crystal Palace on Monday and was restricted to a lone shot.

A third successive home victory after draws against Sunderland and West Ham gives Southampton 18 points from nine games, a better start than in 1983-84, when Lawrie McMenemy's team were runners-up in the old First Division, the club's best League finish.

“Statistics are evil,” Pochettino smiled, preferring to concentrate on his team's all-round display. “It's about the performance not just the result and the way we played was fantastic, extraordinary,” he said. “The League position is not important at the moment. The most important thing is that we keep on performing and learning.”

Even without their injured £15 million record signing Dani Osvaldo, Southampton dominated possession, while Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez, who scored the goals and each provided an assist for the other, did virtually as they pleased. “Rickie showed today how good he is and I hope he can keep on putting in performances that can take him to [the World Cup in] Brazil,” Pochettino said.

Lambert returned to the Southampton line-up after starting last weekend's 1‑1 draw at Old Trafford on the bench, and scored with an unchallenged header after 20 minutes when Rodriguez nodded on James Ward-Prowse's corner from the right. A goal had been coming after Southampton's pressing had forced an early error from Philippe Senderos, and Fernando Amorebieta had to clear Morgan Schneiderlin's shot off the line.

And Saints almost doubled their lead within seconds. Rodriguez collected the ball from Luke Shaw on the halfway line but underhit his shot. Lambert went close twice more, first taking a pass on the left from Schneiderlin and hitting the post then forcing Maarten Stekelenburg into a diving save with a header.

The inevitable second Southampton goal arrived in the 43rd minute. Adam Lallana crossed from the left, Lambert lost Amorebieta to head the ball back across goal, and Rodriguez escaped the marking of Senderos to nod in.

Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, shored up his defence but his team never looked like getting back into the game. “I thought it could be a hammering,” he said. “In the second half we had to repair the damage.” Can Saints stay the course? “Why not? If you spend a lot of money you're supposed to have good players.”

Line-ups:

Southampton (4-3-3): Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Ward-Prowse (Cork, 90); Wanyama, Schneiderlin; Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez (Do Prado, 78).

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Stekelenburg; Riether (Hughes, h‑t), Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson; Ruiz (Kacaniklic, 81), Sidwell, Parker, Kasami; Berbatov; Bent (Rodallega, 75).

Referee: A Marriner

Man of the match:  Rodriguez (Southampton)

Match rating:  7/10

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup