Puncheon fires Saints to victory

Puncheon fires Saints to victory

Puncheon fires Saints to victory

First published in Sport

Saints moved out of the Premier League relegation zone after Jason Puncheon's second-half strike proved the difference against fellow strugglers Reading.

The Royals pipped Saints to the Championship crown last term, but the hosts exacted some revenge this afternoon.

The south-coast club started brightly at St Mary's, but Reading looked dangerous on the break and had strong penalty appeals waved away when Jay Tabb appeared to be clipped in the box.

Southampton felt aggrieved themselves moments later when a Puncheon header was chalked off, before they lost influential captain Adam Lallana to a knee injury.

Hal Robson-Kanu rattled the post in first-half stoppage time but Saints continued to threaten after the break, getting their just rewards in the 61st minute when Puncheon lashed home what proved to be the winner.

The main talking point coming into the match was goalkeeper Kelvin Davis' return, having not started in the Premier League since the 6-1 mauling at Arsenal in mid-September.

The club captain replaced the injured Paulo Gazzaniga, while Gaston Ramirez dropped to the bench having spent the week in Uruguay on compassionate grounds.

Jay Rodriguez replaced him in the starting line-up and started brightly, firing just wide before Morgan Schneiderlin bundled a fierce Nathaniel Clyne cross inches wide.

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici had to keep out a goal-bound Lallana prod and then stopped Lambert after Rodriguez was blocked off by Shaun Cummings.

Lallana curled over from the edge of the box but, for all of Saints' attacking intent, Reading looked menacing on the counter-attack.

Tabb's burst forward and strike that stung the palms of Davis epitomised that and the Royals felt they should have had a penalty when Jack Cork then caught the midfielder.

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Saints soon felt hard done by themselves as Puncheon had a 34th-minute opener disallowed after an altercation between Federici and Maya Yoshida in the build-up.

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins was forced to shuffle the pack as half-time approached after captain Lallana suffered a knee injury, resulting in an early-than-planned introduction for Ramirez.

Puncheon had a shot deflected behind and Yoshida saw a header cleared off the line by Cummings as Saints pushed for a half-time lead, although Robson-Kanu saw a header rebound back off the post in stoppage time at the other end.

Reading were on top as the second half resumed but Saints soon found their feet, with Puncheon forcing Federici into action low to his left six minutes in.

Rodriguez's chest and volley rolled wide as Saints continued to press and, after Sean Morrison and Yoshida both received treatment, they had the lead.

Lambert played through Clyne and his ball was controlled by Puncheon, who continued to fire a right-footed strike across Federici into the far corner.

Rodriguez saw penalty appeals rejected moments after the 61st-minute goal, although a poor Clyne clearance would have cost Southampton immediately had Jobi McAnuff's shot been lower.

Morrison was replaced by Alex Pearce in the 65th minute after his earlier knock and Noel Hunt soon came on for Tabb as Reading boss Brian McDermott looked to claw a goal back.

The move to a three-pronged attack almost paid dividends immediately as Adam Le Fondre nodded just wide after a poor headed clearance by Clyne.

Federici almost sliced a backpass into his own goal and then did well to did well to hold onto a Clyne cross-shot.

Guly do Prado was booed by sections of the home fans when replacing Rodriguez 12 minutes from time, although he soon hushed those naysayers with a long-range effort that curled just over after Puncheon again came close.

Reading threatened from late set-pieces and Do Prado was denied from close range, but it remained 1-0 as Saints collected their second clean sheet of the season.

Comments (15)

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5:23pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Little Hitler says...

Sitting pretty in 15th and a nice 2 week break ahead. Sunderland next who have to slub it out with Reading in the meantime.

Let's hope AL is fully rested and recovered by then!

Well done Saints, well done Nigel!
Sitting pretty in 15th and a nice 2 week break ahead. Sunderland next who have to slub it out with Reading in the meantime. Let's hope AL is fully rested and recovered by then! Well done Saints, well done Nigel! Little Hitler
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Little Hitler says...

Slug LOL
Slug LOL Little Hitler
  • Score: 0

5:38pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Strasbourg Saint says...

Sleep well, guys. Let me know if the heat gets to you and I'll send a chilly, icy, snow-filled breeze your way from Strasbourg.

As for the match. In short, I fear for Reading. We weren't at our absolute best, lost a key player (I know they did later, but not as vital) and we only looked like conceding if the ref gifted a late pen.

Should have won by 2 or 3.The disallowed goal????? wtf!!! (As Nigel has just said).

Motm? Yep, Punch. Not just the goal and chances, his off-the-ball running, ball retention and passing was all top.

Guly? A decent cameo.

Defence? Solid against a free-scoring attack.

Goalie? Don't care. It's the choice of the managerial team. Whoever is picked, I'll support. A clean sheet? That's more than Kunt141 will have this weekend.

Adam? Let's hope the break has come at the right time for him.
Sleep well, guys. Let me know if the heat gets to you and I'll send a chilly, icy, snow-filled breeze your way from Strasbourg. As for the match. In short, I fear for Reading. We weren't at our absolute best, lost a key player (I know they did later, but not as vital) and we only looked like conceding if the ref gifted a late pen. Should have won by 2 or 3.The disallowed goal????? wtf!!! (As Nigel has just said). Motm? Yep, Punch. Not just the goal and chances, his off-the-ball running, ball retention and passing was all top. Guly? A decent cameo. Defence? Solid against a free-scoring attack. Goalie? Don't care. It's the choice of the managerial team. Whoever is picked, I'll support. A clean sheet? That's more than Kunt141 will have this weekend. Adam? Let's hope the break has come at the right time for him. Strasbourg Saint
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Strasbourg Saint says...

(Sorry, last comment was for our Aussie and Kiwi late-night fans)

btw, where's Norgie? .....

...... Chris Tarrent, Cilla Black, Michael Parkinson (all regulars at the Maj Stad), Rickie Gervais, Kate Winslett and all the little Strassies' school mates around Reading who support their local team ......

...... your boys took a hell of a beating ...... A HELL OF A BEATING!!!!!
(Sorry, last comment was for our Aussie and Kiwi late-night fans) btw, where's Norgie? ..... ...... Chris Tarrent, Cilla Black, Michael Parkinson (all regulars at the Maj Stad), Rickie Gervais, Kate Winslett and all the little Strassies' school mates around Reading who support their local team ...... ...... your boys took a hell of a beating ...... A HELL OF A BEATING!!!!! Strasbourg Saint
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Sat 8 Dec 12

daddyrichie869 says...

Reading have strong penalty appeals turned down, no-one even appealed!!! Come on Daily Echo, gets something right once in a while
Reading have strong penalty appeals turned down, no-one even appealed!!! Come on Daily Echo, gets something right once in a while daddyrichie869
  • Score: 0

5:49pm Sat 8 Dec 12

saintkenny says...

daddyrichie869 wrote:
Reading have strong penalty appeals turned down, no-one even appealed!!! Come on Daily Echo, gets something right once in a while
none of the team did .only the manager .and it was not a penalty.watch mod tonight hansen will clarify that or who ever is on tonight
[quote][p][bold]daddyrichie869[/bold] wrote: Reading have strong penalty appeals turned down, no-one even appealed!!! Come on Daily Echo, gets something right once in a while[/p][/quote]none of the team did .only the manager .and it was not a penalty.watch mod tonight hansen will clarify that or who ever is on tonight saintkenny
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Sat 8 Dec 12

dadofmy3sons says...

Saints had a lot of appeals turned down.
For instance the incident where Adam got injured and later when Shaw got flattened.
Reading played a different style than when we played in the Championship, they were a bit more physical.
At the beginning of this season I feared that we would get battered by the likes of Stoke and Jayrod would need to beef up. He appears to have toughened because he wasn't knocked off the ball today and was determined in all his challenges and running for the others.
The whole team is coming together.
I like it !!!!!
Support the Saints, I do
Saints had a lot of appeals turned down. For instance the incident where Adam got injured and later when Shaw got flattened. Reading played a different style than when we played in the Championship, they were a bit more physical. At the beginning of this season I feared that we would get battered by the likes of Stoke and Jayrod would need to beef up. He appears to have toughened because he wasn't knocked off the ball today and was determined in all his challenges and running for the others. The whole team is coming together. I like it !!!!! Support the Saints, I do dadofmy3sons
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Puddletown Saint says...

WOW that was squeaky bum time. Lets hope Sunderand pick up a few injuries and suspensions in the next fortnight.

Great team effort today. And calm........
WOW that was squeaky bum time. Lets hope Sunderand pick up a few injuries and suspensions in the next fortnight. Great team effort today. And calm........ Puddletown Saint
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Sat 8 Dec 12

holburyhalo says...

Well done the lads out of the relegation zone and on the up.This is going to put pressure on all the other teams around us coyr.
Well done the lads out of the relegation zone and on the up.This is going to put pressure on all the other teams around us coyr. holburyhalo
  • Score: 0

7:27pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Saintsincethe60s says...

A good all round display today could and should have scored more. Luke Shaw IS something special only seventeen and playing like a seasoned pro, calm and assured. After watching that display today albeit against a weak team I now have no fears that we will be relegated, as I think there are definitely at least three more teams worse than us.
Keep the faith the lads are all still playing as a team and it was a joy to watch.
A good all round display today could and should have scored more. Luke Shaw IS something special only seventeen and playing like a seasoned pro, calm and assured. After watching that display today albeit against a weak team I now have no fears that we will be relegated, as I think there are definitely at least three more teams worse than us. Keep the faith the lads are all still playing as a team and it was a joy to watch. Saintsincethe60s
  • Score: 0

7:45pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Reality-man says...

I don't rate Guly at all,and wouldn't miss him if he left but booing the fella when he's about to come on at the end of the game is wrong. we have to support every player who puts our shirt on. Together as one
I don't rate Guly at all,and wouldn't miss him if he left but booing the fella when he's about to come on at the end of the game is wrong. we have to support every player who puts our shirt on. Together as one Reality-man
  • Score: 0

8:08pm Sat 8 Dec 12

Sir Ad E Noid says...

Reality-man wrote:
I don't rate Guly at all,and wouldn't miss him if he left but booing the fella when he's about to come on at the end of the game is wrong. we have to support every player who puts our shirt on. Together as one
Totally agree.
[quote][p][bold]Reality-man[/bold] wrote: I don't rate Guly at all,and wouldn't miss him if he left but booing the fella when he's about to come on at the end of the game is wrong. we have to support every player who puts our shirt on. Together as one[/p][/quote]Totally agree. Sir Ad E Noid
  • Score: 0

9:05pm Sat 8 Dec 12

OSPREYSAINT says...

I don't think we have seen the best of Guly yet, because he hasn't been played in the position where he is most dangerous to the opposition. He gives the impression of being a bit of a "luxury" player, but when the rest of the team is firing on all cylinders, the so called "luxury" player can be at their best and absolutely lethal to the opposition. Probably not room for Ramirez and Guly in the team at the same time, but it was working today.
I don't think we have seen the best of Guly yet, because he hasn't been played in the position where he is most dangerous to the opposition. He gives the impression of being a bit of a "luxury" player, but when the rest of the team is firing on all cylinders, the so called "luxury" player can be at their best and absolutely lethal to the opposition. Probably not room for Ramirez and Guly in the team at the same time, but it was working today. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 0

8:16pm Sun 9 Dec 12

shongwe06 says...

well done 2 wins so far this season you ditry scummers you must be so proud well done top team in the prem more like shittest team who got lucky
well done 2 wins so far this season you ditry scummers you must be so proud well done top team in the prem more like shittest team who got lucky shongwe06
  • Score: 0

10:27pm Sun 9 Dec 12

fritzer says...

Watch out in the school play ground on Monday son, as you'll never know who's Red or Blue and who's waiting for you.
Hope they give you a good part in the School panto, as you are well qualified to play the part of a donky, you are not bright enough to be a star.
Watch out in the school play ground on Monday son, as you'll never know who's Red or Blue and who's waiting for you. Hope they give you a good part in the School panto, as you are well qualified to play the part of a donky, you are not bright enough to be a star. fritzer
  • Score: 0

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