Saints march into Fourth Round

By SFC Media time Sat 06 Jan Fulham v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Southampton FC
Sat 06 Jan 3PM
English FA Cup
Fulham
0
Southampton
1
goal
Ward-Prowse [29']
McDonald (50')
yellow card
Bednarek (72')
Referee: Michael Oliver | Venue: Craven Cottage | Attendance: 17,327

James Ward-Prowse's left-footed drive was enough to secure Saints' spot in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup at the expense of Fulham on Saturday.

Southampton had progressed past lower league opponents in 17 of their last 18 FA Cup ties before this afternoon and made no mistake at Craven Cottage, the midfielder's confident strike deciding an engaging tie by the Thames.

Mauricio Pellegrino made two changes to the side beaten by Crystal Palace earlier in the week with Jan Bednarek and Steven Davis replacing Jérémy Pied and Dušan Tadić in the starting XI, the former making just his second appearance of the season.

Saints began much the brighter and had already threatened to breach the Fulham defence a handful of times before Ward-Prowse's low finish on the half-hour.

A narrow offside call prevented Shane Long from adding to his effort at St Mary’s on Tuesday night inside 10 minutes, the Irishman crashing a shot into the net following Steven Davis’ smart back-heel.

The number seven flashed a header off target shortly afterwards before Ward-Prowse curled just wide of the post as the visitors began to take control.

The opening goal was not far behind; Maya Yoshida’s long ball forward found Davis in the corner of the box and the skipper’s through pass fortuitously deflected into the path of Ward-Prowse to sweep low into the corner left-footed.

Sofiane Boufal was unfortunate not to double the advantage moments later, firing straight at David Button on the angle after a devilish touch to escape Ryan Fredricks by the corner flag.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06: Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse celebrates with Shane Long(R) after putting his side 1-0 up during the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Fulham FC and Southampton FC at Craven Cottage on January 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
James Ward-Prowse and Shane Long celebrate Saints' opening goal.

Mauricio Pellegrino's men sustained their grip on the game into the second half.

For all of the home side's perspiration in central areas, the second balls were going the way of Saints and more often than not falling at the feet of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. The Dane's tenacity almost yielded a second goal immediately after the interval.

A steal in midfield and one-two with Long sprung Højbjerg in behind the Fulham defence only to be denied by a sprawling Button from six yards out. 

Against the run of play, Rui Fonte might have drawn the Cottagers level at the other end the Portuguese narrowly failing to connect with a low cross to the back post following a rare lapse in Saints concentration.

Nevertheless, a second away goal on the counter-attack always remained the more likely outcome and the tie could have been over 15 minutes from time were it not for the crossbar.

Long's near-post flick on found Jack Stephens unmarked at the back post, the defender's header smacking off the woodwork in front of the 5,000 travelling Saints fans  behind the goal. 

20180106 Fulham v Southampton FA Cup
Jack Stephens' late header bounces back off the crossbar.

Nathan Redmond, Mario Lemina and Manolo Gabbiadini entered from the bench to keep intensity high into the closing stages as Fulham pushed hard but failed to meaningfully test Alex McCarthy.

Ryan Sessegnon crossed for Oliver Norwood to tamely head wide on 88 minutes, the closest Slavisa Jokanovic's side could come to forcing a replay.

The Fourth Round awaits.

Fulham

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    58
    comparison angle
    42
  • Shots
    7
    comparison angle
    13
  • Shots on target
    1
    comparison angle
    4
  • Corners
    4
    comparison angle
    6
  • Passes Complete
    437
    comparison angle
    309

Fulham

27
David Button (GK)
4
Denis Odoi
2
Ryan Fredericks
13
Tim Ream
26
Tomas Kalas
replace Sheyi Ojo (66′)
6
Kevin McDonald (C) icon-yellow-card
replace Neeskens Kebano (56′)
8
Stefan Johansen
16
Oliver Norwood
9
Rui Fonte
replace Aboubakar Kamara (76′)
20
Lucas Piazon
3
Ryan Sessegnon
43
Steven Sessegnon
7
Neeskens Kebano
46
Magnus Norman
19
Sheyi Ojo
36
Luca De La Torre
23
Marcelo Djalo
47
Aboubakar Kamara

Southampton

13
Alex McCarthy (GK)
35
Jan Bednarek icon-yellow-card
21
Ryan Bertrand
3
Maya Yoshida
5
Jack Stephens
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
replace Mario Lemina (80′)
8
Steven Davis (C)
14
Oriol Romeu
16
James Ward-Prowse icon-goal
19
Sofiane Boufal
replace Nathan Redmond (70′)
7
Shane Long
replace Manolo Gabbiadini (86′)
18
Mario Lemina
39
Josh Sims
33
Matt Targett
44
Fraser Forster
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
11
Dusan Tadic
22
Nathan Redmond
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