Saints 2-2 Fulham
For the second time, Jamie Ward-Prowse had to celebrate an LSSC Man of the Match by being relegated to the bench, this time for the visit of Fulham. It was to accommodate the return of Schneiderlin, but that was where the manager’s good news ended; Ramirez and Clyne now found themselves on the injured list, and things soon got worse when Richardson was carried off, leaving Yoshida at right back as Hooiveld joined the fray.
But by this time Saints were already a goal to the good, with Fonte appearing to send an exquisite header looping into the net from a corner… TV replays showed it to have come off his shoulder! It was a fine first half for the home team, and they did get the ball in the net a second time, but the ‘scorer,’ Puncheon, was penalised for an earlier foul. Fulham upped their game after the break and Gazzaniga saved brilliantly from Rodallega, but the leakiest defence in the league was holding firm despite more of Nigel’s pointless substitutions, including Guly for Lambert.
Almost certainly unrelatedly (but true nevertheless), things then began to go wrong, with Hooiveld managing to divert Riise’s shot into his own net, and alarm bells started to ring. With good reason, as it turned out, as Fulham’s Richardson took advantage of sloppy defending to fire one of the Premier League’s habitual poor travellers into a late lead.
We were grateful for a period of five minutes added time – and for the better set piece options that Fox provides because the full back produced an inviting free kick to enable Fonte to score his second of the game in the nick of time. A pity his mate at the back had scored at the other end, though, and again Saints were left to reflect on defensive mistakes that cost us precious points.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jose Fonte, and I suspect our defenders are only going to get the award when they score more goals than they give away.