Premier League: Jose Fonte earns Southampton 1-0 win at Hull City
By Pete Hall - @PeteHall86. Last Updated: 12/02/14 10:51am
Jose Fonte: Southampton defender was the match-winner at Hull
Jose Fonte's strike after a goalmouth scramble earned Southampton a deserved 1-0 win over Hull City at the KC Stadium.
The Saints were the better side for the majority of the match, and finally got the goal their dominance deserved, with Fonte smashing in the rebound after a wonderful double save from Hull goalkeeper Steve Harper.
Best of the Match
- Man of the Match: Adam Lallana. Close between him and Fonte, but the skipper was excellent throughout.
- Save of the Match: Steve Harper. Despite Fonte firing in the rebound, Harper's double save was stupendous.
- Attempt of the Match: Jack Cork. Nothing seemed to be on late in the game, but Cork's wonderful effort from distance almost surprised Harper.
- Talking Points: Eight unbeaten for Saints now, how high can they finish? Are Hull in danger of the drop?
There was some doubt as to whether the ball had crossed the line, with Rickie Lambert making sure Saints would go in front as Fonte celebrated, but the goal was later confirmed to be the Portuguese defender's.
Mauricio Pochettino's men were good value for their win having hit the woodwork twice in the match, with the home side struggling to break down a rigid Saints backline.
The visitors moved up to eighth as a result, and are now eight unbeaten in the league.
Hull however must start to look over their shoulders with several of their relegation rivals still to play on Wednesday.
Southampton came out of the blocks at a frenetic pace, and their speed on the counter-attack was causing the home side all sorts of problems right from the word go.
Lambert really should have broken the deadlock as early as the fourth minute after Adam Lallana's deflected cross found him in space in the box, but after doing brilliantly to control the bobbling ball, the England international somehow side-footed wide from eight yards.
Lambert then went close again, but elected to try and chip the onrushing Harper when put through, and the veteran 'keeper smothered well.
With their first real attack the home side could have gone in front, but Shane Long's glancing header came back off the post with Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc beaten.
Jay Rodriguez was next to hit the frame of the goal, curling a fantastic effort from 25 yards goalwards only to see it come back off the crossbar.
After the interval the match was far less frantic, with a couple of acrobatic Rodriguez efforts the best opportunities spurned.
Long and Nikica Jelavic toiled away up front for Hull, but they weren't getting the service they needed to get on the scoresheet again.
And it was a Southampton defender who snatched all three points, converting after fantastic goalkeeping from Harper.
From a debateable corner, Fonte's initial header was well saved by Harper, who then brilliantly kept out Lambert's rebound, but after another blocked effort the ball fell to Fonte again, who beat Harper to score, despite Maynor Figueroa's efforts on the line.
There was still time for Jack Cork to hit the crossbar again with an effort from distance, but one goal was enough for Pochettino's men to maintain their good form and keep alive their hopes of a top-six finish.
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||37||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||37||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||37||30|
Hull City v Southampton
Hull City midfielder Tom Huddlestone believes Southampton are the strongest team they have played against this season.
Steve Bruce says Hull 'huffed and puffed' against Southampton and ultimately paid the price for a moment of 'madness'.
Steve Bruce believes his Hull side did not deserve anything from the game after not recovering from going behind early on, but praises Ronald Koeman on getting Southampton to second in the table.