Southampton 1-0 Swansea: Austin bails out baffling Saints misses

0 Comments

Yet again, it looked as if the soccer gods were against Southampton as chance after chance mysteriously evaporated without producing a goal. Finally, Charlie Austin scored and earned the first three points of the season for the Saints.

The two teams looked to feel each other out early, with Swansea owning the game’s first shot on target as Kyle Naughton had his effort saved by Fraser Forster.

The biggest early talking points arrived just before halftime as Southampton pushed for an opener. First, Shane Long was felled by Federico Fernandez at the edge of the penalty area, and while the home fans howled for what would be a cheaply conceded penalty, instead the referee chose to card Long for a dive.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Just minutes later as time ticked down towards the break, Saints should have gone ahead, but Nathan Redmond missed horribly. On the break with just three defenders streaking back, Dusan Tadic sprung Redmond through the middle with a great cutting ball, and while Redmond’s first touch was fantastic to free him from the last man, he wildly lashed the ball well over the bar with the whole goal to shoot at.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Following the break, Southampton looked incisive. Long was sprung down the left just minutes into the second half, and his cross near the end line nearly reached Tadic but Kyle Naughton defended strongly to just touch it away.

Southampton had a big moment nearly finding the opener, but were wrongly denied. Some great team movement sprung Redmond making a great run through the offside trap. The linesman’s flag went up as the home side put the ball in the back of the net, but replays showed that Oriol Romeu had timed Redmond’s run perfectly and the flag had gone up in err.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Again, the Saints should have had the game’s first goal past the hour mark but physics this time denied the home side. Redmond on the break cut the ball across to a free Charlie Austin, but somehow his sliding finish cannoned back off the crossbar, down off the back of Lukaz Fabianski’s head, and free from danger.

Finally, they would get a deserved lead. Redmond again got space to put in the cross, and while Jordi Amat got a touch, the ball fell right to Austin’s feet, and he volleyed home to put Southampton 1-0 up in the 64th minute.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on, Southampton needed one big save from Forster with five minutes left to seal the three points. Angel Rangel delivered a cutting pass up to Fernando Llorente, who fed Gylfi Sigurdsson one-on-one with Jose Fonte. The Icelandic captain produced a turn-and-shoot effort that forced Forster into a diving stop to push the effort away.

The three points move Southampton out of the bottom three and up towards the top half of the table with five points. Swansea showed promise late but couldn’t find the equalizer, and left still stuck on just four points, without a win since the opening match of the year.