Sunday 25 February 2018

Austin goal lays foundation for a comeback with the Saints

Bournemouth 1 Southampton 1

Southampton's Charlie Austin celebrates scoring his side's equaliser. Photo: REUTERS
Southampton's Charlie Austin celebrates scoring his side's equaliser. Photo: REUTERS

Tom Prentki

Charlie Austin was a bricklayer playing football part-time at Poole Town when Swindon gave him his break in the professional game.

Yesterday, eight years on from his non-league days, he scored the equaliser for Southampton in what has been dubbed locally 'The New Forest Derby'.

"The confidence of a striker is difficult to train, or buy. You need experience of scoring goals and, when you have a player in this form, it is good news," said Mauricio Pellegrino, who has started the striker only twice in the league this season.

Austin might have had more than his one goal after going close with two headers but the chance he did take - a low finish at the near post from Nathan Redmond's cross -was enough to cancel out Ryan Fraser's first-half goal.

A draw was a fair result after Wesley Hoedt's calamitous attempt at a Cruyff-turn on the edge of his own six-yard box handed Bournemouth their lead.

Both sides had strong penalty claims turned down in the first half - Bournemouth when Adam Smith was booked for diving after Sofiane Boufal had gone to ground and not made contact with the ball, and Southampton when Dusan Tadic's shot struck Simon Francis' arm.

Bournemouth's Jordon Ibe shoots at goal. Photo: REUTERS
Bournemouth's Jordon Ibe shoots at goal. Photo: REUTERS

"I think it's a clear penalty," said Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. "I can't work out what the referee's seen."

Impressive

The first-half was a cagey affair with the two goalkeepers distinguishing themselves with fine saves - Fraser Forster, when he showed impressive reactions to push Jermain Defoe's point-blank effort round the post, and Asmir Begovic when he saved Austin's header from James Ward-Prowse's cross.

The game seemed destined for a half-time stalemate, but former Lazio defender Hoedt was robbed by Joshua King and Andrew Surman laid on a pass for the onrushing Fraser to sweep the ball low past Forster.

A flare is extinguished on the sideline at the Vitality Stadium. Photo: PA
A flare is extinguished on the sideline at the Vitality Stadium. Photo: PA

"He's upset, but it's part of our style of play and they pressed us well," said Pellegrino.

Pellegrino had left Redmond on the bench, but brought him on for Ward-Prowse at the interval. The impact was immediate, as Redmond and Boufal, assisted by Ryan Bertrand and Jeremy Pied, tormented the Bournemouth defence.

Southampton were several times within a whisker of scoring before Redmond's low cross from the right was expertly finished into the bottom-right corner by Austin just after the hour mark to give him his seventh goal in his last 10 Premier League starts. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Southampton's Fraser Forster saves a diving header from Bournemouth's Nathan Ake. Photo: REUTERS
Southampton's Fraser Forster saves a diving header from Bournemouth's Nathan Ake. Photo: REUTERS
Southampton's Virgil van Dijk heads at goal. Photo: REUTERS
Southampton's Virgil van Dijk heads at goal. Photo: REUTERS

Telegraph.co.uk

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport