Southampton snapped their 9 match winless run with an unconvincing 0-1 win at Craven Cottage over Championship side Fulham. An untidy goal from James Ward Prowse in the 29th minute proved to be enough to ensure Southampton’s passage to the 4th round.
Shane Long opened the scoring in the 15th minute, however a very tight, albeit the right call from the referee meant the goal didn’t count as the Irishman was just offside. A defensive miscommunication allowed the ball to bobble off Kevin McDonald and straight into the path of Ward Prowse who slid the ball in from 7 yards to score his first of the season, arguably against the run of play.
Fulham ended the half on a strong note but the Saints defence did enough to protect their lead. The second half saw little action with Stephens crashing his header against the crossbar from a Shane Long flick and Piazon failing to convert at the back post being the only notable moments. Although the performance was far from convincing, Pellegrino will hope that this victory gives them a boost as they prepare to visit Watford and steer clear of the relegation zone.
Alex McCarthy- 6/10
Largely untroubled apart from one save.
Jan Bednarek- 6.5/10
Had the in-form and exciting Ryan Sessegnon on his side and coped fine. Disappointing going forward, however.
Jack Stephens- 6.5/10
Didn’t have much to do with Fulham’s forwards not being enough of a threat.
Maya Yoshida- 7/10
Like his partner, a very comfortable afternoon. Cut out any crosses whenever called upon to do so.
Ryan Bertrand- 6.5/10
Forced Piazon to drift in the field, but wasn’t at his best when going forward, in part due to Boufal’s wastefulness in possession.
Oriol Romeu- 6/10
An unspectacular showing from the former Chelsea man. Didn’t do anything wrong and wasn’t really challenged.
Pierre Emile Hojbjerg- 7/10
Nearly scored his first ever goal for his club and put in a tidy shift in the middle of the park.
James Ward Prowse- 7.5/10
Got the winning goal, and often found himself in good positions down the right side. His final ball was lacking a few times.
Steven Davies- 5.5/10
Was expected to take the game by the scruff of the neck but couldn’t.
Sofiane Boufal- 5.5/10
Another frustrating display from the talented Moroccan has he was culpable of being sloppy with the ball at his feet yet again, taking one man too many and not releasing the ball at the right time.
Shane Long- 6/10
Scored a good goal only to see it get flagged offside. Wasn’t given the best of service and should’ve got an assist when Stephens headed his flick on onto the bar.
Nathan Redmond (Boufal 70’) – 5/10
Did nothing note-worthy.
Mario Lemina (Hojbjerg 80’) – 6/10
Brought on to shore things up and ease him back post-injury. Produced a sweet back-heel to play in Gabbiadini who missed.
Manolo Gabbiadini (Long 86’) – 4.5/10
Had the chance to kill the game off from Lemina’s backheel but blazed his effort over the bar.
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