Southampton 4-2 Sunderland: Joe Rothwell comes off the bench to grab a double for Saints

Southampton 4-2 Sunderland: Joe Rothwell comes off the bench to grab a double for Saints

11 March 2024 0 By Total Football News
Adam Armstrong scores from the penalty spot for Southampton
Adam Armstrong appeared to kick the ball twice when he scored from the penalty spot

Substitute Joe Rothwell scored a late double as Southampton survived a Sunderland fightback to keep their slim hopes of automatic promotion back to the Premier League alive.

The Saints, who had their midweek game against Preston postponed at late notice because of a fire on a nearby industrial estate, took an early lead when Stuart Armstrong scored on the rebound after Anthony Patterson had saved Jan Bednarek’s header.

Adam Armstrong made it 2-0 in controversial circumstances from the penalty spot. The former Newcastle man slipped as he took his shot and appeared to strike the ball twice but referee Stuart Atwell allowed the goal to stand despite Sunderland protestations.

Romaine Mundle pulled one back for the away side after the break with a deflected shot from the edge of the area and Jobe Bellingham curled home a wonderfully hit equaliser but the home side stepped back on it and sub Rothwell scored twice in three minutes to secure the points for Saints.

Defeat for the Black Cats means they have lost six successive matches in the league for the first time since March 2006, when they were relegated from the Premier League.

Southampton are six points adrift off second-placed Leeds but do have a game in hand on the in-form Whites.

The home side looked to be cruising to a routine victory with 30 minutes left before Mundle’s first senior goal gave Sunderland hope and Bellingham then scored the kind of goal his brother Jude would be proud of from 20 yards out.

However, the Saints, who fell to a 5-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light in the reverse fixture in September, fought back to win thanks to Rothwell’s second double in the past six games and second of his career.

First, the Bournemouth loanee hit a firm shot into the bottom corner after Armstrong’s cross fell into his path and then he made the points safe with a rising finish from 10 yards after the same player had a shot cleared off the line.

Russell Martin’s men now have just short of three weeks off before hosting Middlesbrough on 29 March because of Leicester’s progress in the FA Cup and the international break.

Sunderland, who slipped to 12th after this latest reverse, host lowly QPR next week and could be in danger of getting pulled into the survival battle at the bottom if they cannot end their losing run soon.

Southampton boss Russell Martin told BBC Radio Solent:

“I’m frustrated it got that close because we should have been out of sight at half-time. We created so many chances.

“I’m annoyed we conceded two goals but I said to the players that if you look at the results this weekend we had to win and we found a way to do that.

“We shouldn’t have had to score four goals to win today but it’s a huge win for us and we have to keep winning.”

On 20 day break coming up:

“I’m pleased we go into it on the back of a win and scoring four goals and playing some brilliant football. We haven’t had a huge amount of time on the training pitch so we’ll have a chance to work on that which will help us. I’m really excited about that.”

Sunderland caretaker boss Mike Dodds told BBC Radio Newcastle:

“The fans will stick with us if we give them what they want, which is 11 players giving everything.

“I think all four goals were avoidable but on the flipside I’ve seen a team on Tuesday night go toe-to-toe with a Premier League team in-waiting in Leicester and Southampton will see themselves the same way.

“Not only did we go toe-to-toe with them but we bettered them in spells.

“It’s been a difficult period in terms of injuries suspensions and fixtures but, as I said to the players, nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have to keep doing what we are doing and believing in what we believe in and eventually that will stop.”

On the penalty:

“The referees are human and they’re going to make mistakes. The goal should have been chalked off but it is not in my nature to criticise referees.”

Line-ups

Southampton

Formation 4-3-3

  • 31Bazunu
  • 21Harwood-Bellis
  • 5StephensSubstituted forBreeat 73′minutes
  • 35Bednarek
  • 3Manning
  • 16SmallboneSubstituted forAriboat 58′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 4Downes
  • 17S ArmstrongSubstituted forRothwellat 73′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 36BrooksSubstituted forSulemanaat 58′minutes
  • 10AdamsSubstituted forMaraat 84′minutes
  • 9A Armstrong

Substitutes

  • 7Aribo
  • 13Lumley
  • 14Bree
  • 18Mara
  • 19Rothwell
  • 20Sulemana
  • 23Edozie
  • 24Charles
  • 33Dibling

Sunderland

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Patterson
  • 32Hume
  • 23SeeltBooked at 8mins
  • 5BallardBooked at 31minsSubstituted forStylesat 71′minutes
  • 33HjeldeBooked at 64mins
  • 24Neil
  • 14MundleSubstituted forEkwahat 88′minutes
  • 7Bellingham
  • 31RiggSubstituted forAouchicheat 57′minutes
  • 17Ba
  • 11BurstowSubstituted forRusynat 57′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Pembélé
  • 9Silva Semedo
  • 15Rusyn
  • 22Aouchiche
  • 28Styles
  • 30Bishop
  • 39Ekwah
  • 49Lavery
  • 50Jones

Referee:
Stuart Attwell

Attendance:
30,869

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