Post by Football News on Jan 31, 2018 22:22:22 GMT
Southampton 1-1 Brighton
Home team scorers Jack Stephens 64
Away team scorers Glenn Murray 14 Pen
For the second time in five days, Jack Stephens got Southampton and Mauricio Pellegrino out of jail in front of a restless home crowd. Stephens’s second-half back-heel earned Saints a point in the fight for survival but this was an unconvincing home performance against a Brighton side who led thanks to a Glenn Murray penalty.
This meek display and result extended Saints’ winless Premier League run to 12 matches and did little to suggest they will waltz out of the bottom three anytime soon. Pellegrino had likened the manager’s job to being in an electric chair and, at times, this was a painful exercise for all concerned parties. In a game of such magnitude, Southampton’s slack start was alarming. With only 27 seconds on the clock, Murray brushed aside Wesley Hoedt from a long ball upfield to lay the ball off for Pascal Gross. The Brighton midfielder fizzed in a low cross, which evaded Murray but landed a little behind José Izquierdo, who blasted painfully over.
Ryan Bertrand shook off a hamstring injury and was his usual self, a willing runner down the left flank and sending a rasping first-half effort on to the roof of Mathew Ryan’s goal. However, Saints were largely careless in possession. Gross’s cunning ball for Murray was cut out by Stephens’s outstretched leg before Davy Propper’s wayward effort. But all of the warning signs were there. When Izquierdo sped beyond Cédric Soares, the Southampton right‑back and cut in from the left flank, he unselfishly squared for March, who swivelled inside the box before being caught by Hoedt’s trailing leg.
The referee, Mike Dean, pointed to the spot and Murray calmly side-footed home, before soaking up the delirium from the travelling 3,300 supporters. In the directors’ box, where Les Reed, the executive director, and Ralph Krueger, the chairman, watched on, there were only glum expressions. Soon after, Stephens’s aimless pass brought a chorus of boos.
Southampton quickly ran out of ideas, although in fairness, James Ward-Prowse’s deliveries caused problems, twice forcing Lewis Dunk into excellent interceptions. Saints then almost earned what would have been an equally fortunate and ludicrous lifeline. When Pierre-Emile Højbjerg chased down Ryan’s clearance for good measure, the ball cannoned off the back of the Southampton midfielder’s shirt and smacked the crossbar, leaving Hughton furious on the touchline. Dunk then cleaned up, sliding in on Long, who looked as though he might tap home. Up the other end, Murray stung the gloves of Alex McCarthy after turning away from Stephens.
Pellegrino sought personnel changes at the interval, bringing on Sofiane Boufal and Guido Carrillo, the latter for his debut after arriving from Monaco for a club-record £19.2m. For Carrillo, there was simply no time to settle, with an immediate impact required. Perhaps the Argentinian, who worked with Pellegrino at Estudiantes, could at least muster Saints a first shot on target in front of an increasingly frustrated home crowd. But it was Stephens, the defender who got the faintest of touches on Ward-Prowse’s free-kick to draw Saints level. At last, lift-off at St Mary’s.
Suddenly the weight was thrown off Southampton’s shoulders and they searched for a winner, with Carrillo driving wide. Leonardo Ulloa, signed from Leicester, came on for Brighton but both sides remain in trouble.