From the AMEX – Two brilliant strikes from James Ward-Prowse saw Southampton come from behind to rescue a 2-2 draw at Brighton on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Welbeck’s early strike and an own goal from Mohammed Salisu had the Seagulls cruising at 2-0, but Ward-Prowse’s double from distance ensured the Saints left with a share of the spoils.
The hosts made the perfect start as some slick play down the left eventually saw Marc Cucurella fire the ball into the box, where some static Saints defending allowed Welbeck to prod in for his fourth league goal of the season.
Southampton were sloppy early doors, but a deflected strike from range from Tino Livramento nearly brought them level. A shot cracked with post and bounced agonisingly out of reach for Che Adams, who was sprawling to reach the ball.
Brighton were purring midway through the first half though the second goal remained elusive, with Welbeck seeing a shot saved by Fraser Forster before Enock Mwepu’s floated cross just evaded the outstretched forehead of Neal Maupay.
The visitors were dealt a blow when Livramento went down, quickly needing medical attention before being stretchered off the field.
Brighton again nearly extended their lead as half time approached as Trossard picked out Welbeck, but the former Arsenal forward couldn’t bundle his effort past the burly figure of Forster. It made little difference, however, as Salisu comically turned Trossard’s pass into his own net as he tried to find Welbeck.
Despite the Seagulls’ dominance, the Saints halved the deficit through James Ward-Prowse. Nathan Tella was brought down on the break, gifting the England midfielder the opportunity to whip in a trademark free kick. He caught Robert Sanchez napping at his near post to bring it back to 2-1 shortly before half time.
Southampton sniffed an opening and pressed Brighton well in the second half, leading to another excellent strike from distance from Ward-Prowse. Oriol Romeu’s backheel fell perfectly for the Saints captain on the edge of the box and he rifled it in.
Substitute Pascal Gross looked to have won all three points when he slammed in from distance, but it was disallowed for offside by the tiniest of margins. Kyle Walker-Peters slashed over and Brighton probed for another opportunity, but no deciding goal came.
The draw leaves both teams lounging in mid-table obscurity. Brighton are up to 11th and Southampton are 13th, with each side targeting top-half finishes.
GK: Robert Sanchez – 6/10 – Beaten a little too easily from Ward-Prowse’s free kick. Made a few other standard saves.
RB: Joel Veltman – 6/10 – Steady as ever on the right side of defence, though he did clatter into a few players as the game wore on.
CB: Lewis Dunk – 6/10 – Had to repel some testing crosses as the visitors grew into the game in the second half. Did mess up a few times with some nervy miskicks.
CB: Adam Webster – 6/10 – A first league start since February and looked composed before things turned south for Brighton. Brought off after an hour.
LB: Marc Cucurella – 6/10 – Good work down the left led to Welbeck’s opener. Gave away the foul which led to Ward-Prowse’s first, which also saw him booked.
CM: Enock Mwepu – 7/10 – Easy to watch with the ball at his feet and such a powerful runner. Linked up nicely on occasion with Trossard, though his influence dropped in the second half before his withdrawal.
CM: Alexis Mac Allister – 7/10 – Played a little deeper than usual which allowed Caicedo and Mwepu to make inroads on the counter.
CM: Moises Caicedo – 7/10 – A hidden gem Potter has unveiled at the backend of the season. Did a lot of excellent work that helped the attacking trio ahead thrive.
AM: Leandro Trossard – 8/10 – Buzzed around in a central role and looked menacing, creating big opportunities. Almost teed up a second for Welbeck but played his role for Salisu’s own goal.
ST: Danny Welbeck – 8/10 – In the right place at the right time to score the opener. Terrific hold-up play before Salisu stuck it into his own net. Ran all day and unlucky not to have scored another.
ST: Neal Maupay – 7/10 – Looked bang up for it in the opening exchanges. Nodded in from a corner but was comfortably offside. Gave Salisu a tough time but was never in any shooting positions
SUB: Pascal Gross – 6/10 – Great strike was chalked off for offside in the build-up.
SUB: Solly March – 5/10 – Little indecisive from the bench when Brighton needed conviction.
SUB: Jeremy Sarmiento – N/A
GK: Fraser Forster – 5/10 – Flapped at the cross which led to Welbeck’s strike. Made a few parried saves which kept his side in the game.
RB: Tino Livramento – 6/10 – Deflected effort from range nearly brought Southampton level. Went down with an injury around the 30-minute mark and couldn’t continue.
CB: Jan Bednarek – 5/10 – Not as bad as his centre back partner, but Bednarek was far from assured.
CB: Mohammed Salisu – 3/10 – Erratic and lost some physical duels with Maupay. Turned in Brighton’s second with a horrible own goal. A really awkward and hard to watch performance.
LB: Kyle Walker-Peters – 7/10 – Made a couple of important stops to deny any Brighton advances down his flank. Moved over to the right when Livramento went off injured. The best of Southampton’s defenders.
RM: Nathan Tella – 5/10 – Pretty quiet, but he earned the foul which led to Ward-Prowse’s free kick.
CM: James Ward-Prowse – 9/10 – Given a tough examination by Mwepu and Caicedo in the first half. Good free kick caught out Sanchez to give Southampton a foothold in the game and his second was even better. A dreamy striker of the ball and rescued his side here.
CM: Oriol Romeu – 6/10 – Sluggish and lost the ball in some bad positions. Improved in the second half and set up Ward-Prowse’s second with a nice backheel.
LM: Nathan Redmond – 6/10 – Some miscommunication with Walker-Peters scuppered a few openings.
ST: Che Adams – 7/10 – A few nice moments in Southampton’s build-up. Started to win more duels in the second half and had more space to work with.
ST: Shane Long – 6/10 – Did some classic Shane Long pressing up front and chased lost causes. Nearly bent one into the far corner but it was held by a sprawling Sanchez.
SUB: Romain Perraud – 6/10 – Steadied the ship as Livramento’s replacement.
SUB: Stuart Armstrong – 5/10 – A few openings on the break but nothing major.
SUB: Armando Broja – N/A