Rosler rewards Ball on manager's return

Southampton 1 Manchester City 1
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The Independent Online
At the start of proceedings at The Dell last night, Alan Ball was greeted with the customary catcalls reserved for all managers returning to former clubs with their present teams. By the end he and Manchester City might be said to have had the last word.

It was hardly a case of "ya boo sucks" to Southampton, but an equalising goal with five minutes left of a fitful match gave his side a precious point. That was less surprising than the goal. Having scored only five times away from home City, who with Michael Frontzeck's debut became the first English side to field three Germans, spent most of the evening leaving observers to wonder how they got so many.

The match throughout lacked much fluency. Both sides attempted a half- hearted attacking stance but lacked the raw material to make it much more than fleetingly threatening. Southampton's clearest chance in a first half was a 30-yard shot from their recent signing, Mark Walters, to which Eike Immel could only lay grateful palms before it sailed over him. City got the ball into more dangerous areas but Uwe Rosler and Niall Quinn, not for the first time this season, were found wanting.

For Southampton, Le Tissier perfectly reflected the match and his season. He was barely noticeable except when he was booked for a moment of petulance - he kicked the ball away - which took his number of yellow cards - seven - above his number of goals (six). But he still has that charming capacity to turn a match in a trice and 20 minutes into a second half betraying some raggedness he produced a looping ball across field which travelled some 40 yards to find Neil Shipperley alone. His shot may have been speculative but it swerved past Immel.

City brought on Martin Phillips, who may be some way away form being Britain's first pounds 10m player, but certainly gave City new impetus. He had been on only 10 minutes, perpetually disrupting the Southampton defence, when Francis Benali decided to make an ill-judged back-pass. Nigel Clough, on his debut and clearly lacking match practice, stabbed a lack-lustre shot which rebounded off Dave Beasant straight to Rosler. Luckily for the striker, he had an open goal and was able to find the target.

Southampton (4-4-2): Beasant; Dodd, Hall, Monkou, Benali; Le Tissier, Magilton, Venison, Walters (Oakley, 81); Watson, Shipperley. Substitutes not used: Maddison, Grobbelaar.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Immel; Summerbee, Symons, Curle, Frontzeck (Brightwell, 81); Clough, Lomas, Kinkladze, Flitcroft; Quinn (Phillips, 71), Rosler. Substitute not used: Creaney.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).