Southampton 1 -1 Sunderland

by James, Junior Black Cats Reporter

Sunderland gain a point at St Mary's.

Sunderland managed to get a point at Southampton but could have walked away with all three if Jose Fonte’s last minute equaliser hadn’t cancelled out Emanuele Giaccherini's early goal.

Paolo Di Canio made two changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Fulham. Modibo Diakite made his debut for Valentin Roberge, who dropped to the bench while Craig Gardner, back from suspension, replaced Cabral, who also joined Roberge on the bench.

Sunderland found themselves in the lead after a Seb Larsson free kick was headed out for a corner on 3 minutes. Larsson again took the set piece from the left and launched an in-swinging ball into the crowded six yard box. 5ft 5in Italian international Giaccherini peeled off from the mass of red and yellow shirts and stooped to nod the ball into the bottom corner, sending the 1,800 Black Cats fans wild.

The home side looked to have been on level terms barely five minutes later when Ricky Lambert slipped Jay Rodriguez through. The ex-Burnley man hit his shot across Westwood and into the bottom corner but, much to Sunderland’s relief, Rodriguez was just offside.

The Saints piled on the pressure as, on 18 minutes, Lambert managed to get his head on a cross but couldn’t get past Keiren Westwood in the Sunderland goal, who made a good save from the header.

Sunderland rode their luck until half time; with Rodriguez, Shaw and Lambert all having chances up until the interval. However, Sunderland was still in the lead as the whistle blew in front of the 29,500 crowd.

Southampton came out and put the Lads under more pressure, with Adam Lallana flashing a shot just past of Westwood’s goal.

The early second half pressure continued as Daniel Osvaldo’s cross was met by the head of Rodriguez, only for Westwood to make the save. Wedged in the middle of these opportunities was a chance for Sunderland. Adam Johnson cut in from the left and, after a good run, unleashed a shot which flashed over Artur Boruc’s goal.

Sunderland again had a good opportunity to score. After some good work between Ji and Altidore, the American hit a close range shot which was blocked by the ex-Celtic ‘keeper in the Southampton goal.

After weathering the early second half storm, Sunderland looked fairly comfortable but still had a fair bit of defending to do. However, Southampton broke through on 88 minutes when Jose Fonte leveled for the home team.

Jason Ward-Prowse’s free kick from deep was met by the Portugal man and Fonte headed the ball into the bottom corner to give Southampton what they deserved. As they had come so close to winning it, it was a blow for the Lads but they held on for the remaining four minutes of stoppage time to get their first point of the season.

Sunderland worked hard for the point and a draw was a fair result. Now, the Cats have a home game against MK Dons in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.

Southampton team: Artur Boruc, Callum Chambers, Luke Shaw (Nathaniel Clyne), Jose Fonte, Dejan Lovern, Victor Wanyama, Morgan Schneiderlin (Daniel Osvaldo), Jason Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana © (Gaston Ramirez), Jay Rodriguez and Ricky Lambert.

Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Steven Davis, Jack Cork, Jos Hooiveld.

Sunderland team: Keiren Westwood, Ondrej Celustka, Jack Colback (Vaughan), John O’Shea ©, Modibo Diakite, Craig Gardner, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson, Emanuele Giaccherini (Connor Wickham), Stephane Sessegnon (Ji Dong-won) and Jozy Altidore.

Subs not used: Vito Mannone, Cabral, David Moberg Karlsson and Valentin Roberge.