MX23RW : Monday, November 19 16:24:51
Jan 6, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Craven Cottage
Attendance: 17,327

Live Commentary: Fulham 0-1 Southampton - as it happened

Relive how Southampton avoided an FA Cup third-round upset with a 1-0 win away to Fulham, with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates from Craven Cottage.
Live Commentary: Fulham 0-1 Southampton - as it happened
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James Ward-Prowse scored his first goal of the season to earn Southampton a 1-0 victory over Fulham in the FA Cup third round this afternoon.

There was potential for an upset at Craven Cottage, where the hosts had won their last four games, while the Saints were winless in nine Premier League matches.

However, the visitors had the clearest chances from start to finish and, after Shane Long had a goal disallowed, Ward-Prowse struck on 29 minutes with an instinctive left-footed finish after the ball fell to him in the box.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jack Stephens missed opportunities to secure the result in the second half, while defender Denis Odoi squandered Fulham's best chance to equalise and force a replay at St Mary's Stadium.

Relive how the action unfolded in West London with our minute-by-minute updates below.

2.00pmA good afternoon to you all on a weekend which is always circled on the footballing calendar because it is FA Cup third round time! There were no upsets last night as Manchester United and Liverpool progressed, but can Fulham cause a surprise against struggling Southampton? Team news coming up...

2.02pmFULHAM: Button; Fredericks, Ream, Kalas, Odoi; McDonald, Norwood, Johansen; Sessegnon, Piazon, Fonte
Subs: Norman, Djalo, S.Sessegnon, De la Torre, Kebano, Ojo, Kamara

2.04pmSOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy; Bednarek, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand; Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Davis, Boufal; Long
Subs: Forster, Targett, Lemina, Tadic, Redmond, Sims, Gabbiadini

2.06pmMauricio Pellegrino's team selection indicates that he plans to take the FA Cup seriously, or is at least looking to get through this round to instill some confidence into his squad after a nine-match winless streak in the league. He makes only two changes to the team which lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace.

2.08pmThere is a second senior start for 21-year-old full-back Jan Bednarek, whose only previous Saints appearance was in a 2-0 home defeat to Wolves in the EFL Cup earlier this season. Jeremy Pied drops out, while long-serving midfielder Steven Davis is back in for out-of-form winger Dusan Tadic.

2.10pmAlex McCarthy keeps his place in goal after recently usurping Fraser Forster in the Premier League side. Losing the number-one jersey at this stage of the season will be a concern for the former Celtic stopper with a World Cup on the horizon, and plenty of competition for the three goalkeeping spots.

2.12pmRyan Bertrand is a certainty to be on the plane to Russia if he is fit and the left-back gets another start today after returning from injury against Palace in midweek. Pellegrino could have chosen to blood Matt Targett, who is a fine young prospect but clearly isn't taking Fulham lightly.

2.14pmAfter ending his 11-month goal drought with the opener at St Mary's on Tuesday, Shane Long gets the nod up front ahead of Manolo Gabbiadini. The Irishman has not scored in back-to-back games since May 2016 but the Saints need him to find the goal trail with Charlie Austin injured.

Cedric Soares, Wesley Hoedt and Jeremy Pied are also on the sidelines for the visitors.

2.16pmGabbiadini is suffering from second-season syndrome in the Premier League, having made an instant impact with six goals in 12 games upon joining from Napoli last January. He only has three in 21 this campaign, and that is why he's on the bench even while Long has been on a very barren run.

2.18pmThe defeat to Crystal Palace was Southampton's fifth of their last nine games - a run that has seen them drop to 17th in the Premier League, outside of the relegation zone only on goal difference. Manager Pellegrino has been given a vote of confidence, but we all know that means very little!

2.20pmWith the Virgil van Dijk saga now over - the Dutchman made himself an instant Liverpool hero with the winner on debut against Everton last night - Pellegrino should have some funds to spend in the January transfer window to ensure that the Saints continue their six-year top-flight run.

2.22pmA striker will surely be top of Pellegrino's shortlist - with Monaco's Guido Carrillo having been touted as a target this week. The Saints are also reportedly keen to bring back Theo Walcott from Arsenal, and that would be a signing which would lift the deflated atmosphere around St Mary's.

2.24pmFulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic would love to have the financial resources that Pellegrino is likely to have at his disposal this month. The former Watford manager has publicly vented his frustration this week at what he feels is the continued failure of the club's owner to back him in the market.

2.26pmJokanovic issued what seemed to be a 'back me or sack me' ultimatum this week.

He is quoted by Sky Sports as saying: "This January I am really disappointed with the information around us. We don't have any clear targets and, for the direction of the club, I have some information that we are strong enough to fight for the important targets.

"I don't believe this. I am really disappointed with our situation and I expect the club will change their opinion. I don't know if we don't have the money or don't want to spend the money, but we are not competitive enough for the period in front of us.

"The solution? I don't know, but probably if the coach doesn't trust that we are strong enough then probably an option that the club must be thinking about is sacking the coach, and this can be a good option for the club."

2.28pmThe Serbian has done an excellent job at Craven Cottage, guiding the Whites to a sixth-place finish last season despite losing strikers Moussa Dembele and Ross McCormack before the start of the season. They have climbed to 10th in the Championship this term with three wins from the last four.

2.30pmThe reality is that Fulham may need to sell before they can buy, and they have a multi-million pound asset in their squad who Jokanovic is reluctant to lose. Teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon, who has been linked with Tottenham, Man United and even PSG, would fetch in excess of £20m.

2.32pmAfter a starring role in the 4-1 victory over Ipswich on Tuesday, in which he scored two goals to take his tally to the season for seven, which is quite incredible for a 17-year-old who spends most of his time at left-back, Sessegnon has the chance to test himself against top-flight opposition today.

2.34pmRyan's twin brother Steven is yet to make the first-team breakthrough at Fulham - with his only two appearances this season coming in the EFL Cup - but is on the bench this afternoon. A recent report claimed that Spurs wanted to sign both brothers for a £30m fee, and loan Steven back to Fulham.

2.36pmAboubakar Kamara matched Sessegnon with a double against the Tractor Boys to take his tally for six to the season, which makes him Fulham's second top scorer behind the English wonderkid, but is one of five players to drop out for the London club's fifth fixture in 15 days over the holidays.

2.38pmWinger Lucas Piazon makes his first appearance since August following a broken leg, replacing Floyd Ayite who is missing with a hamstring injury. There is no Tom Cairney in the squad despite the highly-rated Fulham captain not being reported as injured, which is a blow to the hosts.

2.40pmLiverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo is the other player to drop out as Jokanovic opts for a more reserved lineup. Tomas Kalas, on loan from Chelsea, comes into the defence, which could free Sessegnon up to play on the wing. Kevin McDonald starts in midfield and David Button deputises for Marcus Bettinelli in goal.

2.42pmSummer signing Rui Fonte has not scored since August but is handed a start up front in place of Kamara, who has four goals in his last two matches. With Sessegnon and Piazon out wide and Stefan Johansen at the tip of the midfield, the Portuguese should get chances to add to his single-goal Fulham tally.

2.44pmRESULT: There was a hint of FA Cup magic in one of today's early kickoffs as League One Fleetwood Town held Leicester City at home, in their first-ever match against a top-flight team. The Cod Army now get the chance to go to the King Power Stadium for a lucrative replay.

2.46pmLess than 15 minutes until kickoff at Craven Cottage, where Fulham have won their last four matches. Southampton last won on the road back in September at Crystal Palace - their only away win of the season.

2.48pmHowever, the Cottagers have lost three of their last four FA Cup games at home against opposition from a higher division, although they claimed a 4-1 win against Hull City in the fourth round last season.

2.50pmSouthampton have progressed past lower league opponents in 17 of their last 18 FA Cup ties, but have needed a replay on the last two occasions to eventually see off Ipswich and Norwich.

2.52pmIf you've got a BTTS acca on today - Southampton could be a good pick. Each of their last six FA Cup third-round matches - excluding replays - have seen 25 goals scored at 4.2 goals per game.

2.54pmThis is the first time that Fulham have hosted Southampton in the FA Cup since a third-round replay in January 1999, when Barry Hayles scored a 85th minute winner at Craven Cottage.

2.56pmRESULT: Things continue to get bad to worse for Sunderland as they have been dumped out of the FA Cup by North East rivals Middlesbrough, Rudy Gestede and Martin Braithwaite scoring in a 2-0 win for new Boro manager Tony Pulis. Kickoff imminent in London now...

2.58pmPREDICTION: The Saints are struggling of late and I fancy Fulham to cause a mini upset with a 2-1 victory. I'm very interested to see how Ryan Sessegnon performs amid all of the transfer talk.

1 minKICKOFF: The action is underway with Southampton in their changed blue strip. Craven Cottage is far from full but the Fulham fans who are in attendance are in full voice from the whistle.

3 minBednarek tries a ball in the channel for Long to run onto, but Ream comes across and clears the danger despite a little miscommunication with goalkeeper Button, who had raced off his line.

5 minSouthampton have had much of the ball early on, with Fulham pressing high. Sessegnon has indeed started on the wing, with Odoi at left-back in a four-man defence.

7 minThe ball hasn't stuck yet to Rui Fonte, who must be short of confidence considering his struggles since arriving from Braga. So far the Portuguese has spent most of his time chasing lost causes.

10 minDISALLOWED! The king of chasing lost causes - Shane Long - buries a shot into the top corner from a Davis flick but is flagged for offside, which was a very marginal call. Long absolutely belted the ball past Button though, a great finish which shows what a goal can do for morale.

12 minPiazon gets to the right byline and cuts the ball back, just behind Sessegnon who had made a run into the box from the left. That is what makes the 17-year-old such a goal threat - he has such an appetite to get into the area whether he is playing as a full-back or further up the field.

14 minSessegnon makes a out to in run which Norwood finds which a delicate chip over the top. The youngster brings the ball down and lays it off to Piazon, whose shot is blocked by Yoshida.

16 minFaint penalty appeals for handball from Fulham as Sessegnon darts past Bednarek and whips a cross in which strikes Stephens on the chest. The hosts have had all of the ball for the past five minutes and suddenly this has the makings of a very competitive cup tie.

18 minWard-Prowse delivers an early cross from the right, and Long meets it on the first bounce with a header which goes wide. It was a very difficult technique but if he could have directed it on target, Southampton would have been one up as Button was again stranded.

20 minWe have seen very little of Sofiane Boufal so far, which won't come as a huge surprise to those Southampton fans who have seen how the occasionally brilliant winger can often be on the periphary of games. His inconsistency must be a huge source of frustration to Pellegrino.

22 minThe game is just settling down now, at a slightly lower tempo with Fulham stroking it around nicely. Their defenders are very comfortable on the ball, with Jokanovic encouraging his side to play out from the back - hence why they average the highest possession in the Championship.

24 minSouthampton have lacked creativity so far which is a consequence of the safe team selection from Pellegrino. Tadic and Redmond have been left on the bench with four central midfielders, none of whom are a huge goal threat or the type to supply strikers which a host of chances.

26 minSessegnon makes another run off the left flank and isn't initially followed by Bednarek. The ball from Norwood is again good - those two seem to have a good understanding - but this time the youngster cannot bring it down.

28 minSHOT! Southampton work the ball inside to Ward-Prowse, who gets the ball stuck under his feet but still manages to squeeze a shot away which had Button scrambling as it rolled just wide.


30 minWhat was I saying about a lack of goal threat from midfield? To be fair, this is Ward-Prowse's first strike in over a year, and after his sighter a couple of minutes ago, it is a good instinctive finish with his left-footed after the ball had broken to him kindly off Kalas in the Fulham box.

32 minSarcastic chants of 'we scored a goal, we scored a goal' coming from the visiting Saints fans! I know they haven't exactly been prolific this season, but seven Prem teams have bagged fewer.

33 minCLOSE! Great skill from Boufal in the left corner keeps the ball in play to the shock of Fredericks, and the Moroccan continues his run into the box, firing a shot across goal which goes through the legs of Button but past the post.

35 minSouthampton want a penalty for handball after Ward-Prowse knocks the ball against Johansen. The Fulham midfielder did seem to move his arm towards the ball so couldn't have complained had it been given.

37 minSlight injury concern for Southampton as Bednarek requires treatment following a bump to the head. The Polish international looks as though he will be okay to carry on. Wesley Hoedt is already missing today with concussion so the Saints would be unlucky to lose another defender in the same fashion.

39 minLovely footwork in the middle of the park from Boufal draws the foul from McDonald, who gets away without a yellow card. The winger is starting to come into the game now and is looking lively.

42 minIn contrast, Piazon, on his comeback from a long-term injury, hasn't seen much of the ball in the last 20 minutes. The Chelsea loanee finally finds some space by the right touchline and chips a ball into the centre for Fonte, who is penalised for handball while trying to bring it under control.

44 minGreat run from Sessegnon down the left and he stands a cross up to the back post. It was a very inviting delivery but Johansen's attempt to attack it was half-hearted and Southampton clear.

45+1 minCHANCE! Fulham have finished the half strongly and have a great chance to grab an equaliser as Ream heads over the crossbar from an inch-perfect Sessegnon free-kick delivery.


3.52pmHalf time at Craven Cottage, where James Ward-Prowse's first goal of the season separates the sides and has put Southampton on course for a first win in 10 matches, as well as the fourth round.

3.54pmIt has been a fairly even contest, a Championship side in form hosting a struggling Premier League side, but the Saints have shown a bit more cutting edge in the final third to create the best chances from open play. Fulham did come close from a stoppage-time free kick as Tim Ream headed over.

3.56pmThe Saints perhaps should be two up at the break, with Shane Long having seen a goal disallowed on a 50-50 offside call. The Republic of Ireland international finished emphatically past David Button, who has been a bit shaky, after ending his 11-month goal drought in midweek.

3.58pmSESSEGNON SCOUT REPORT: The 17-year-old has been Fulham's brighest player, showing that he has the ability to get down the outside, and also make out-to-in runs to get into the box. He looks very one-footed, but you can see why there is so much hype about him.

4.00pmRui Fonte hasn't looked much of a threat for the Whites, although he hasn't had much service. Aboubakar Kamara is more capable of creating something for himself and is in form having scored back-to-back braces, so could be an option for Jokanovic in the second half.

4.02pmLATEST: A couple of giantkillings are on the cards at the interval of the 3.00pm kick-offs, with League One leaders Wigan 2-0 up at Bournemouth, Coventry beating Stoke, and Burnley halfway to conquering Manchester City thanks to an Ashley Barnes thriker at the Etihad Stadium.

46 minKICKOFF: Fulham resume the action in London with both sides unchanged...

48 minLong pinches the ball of Kalas by the left touchline and will be frustrated that his hard work goes to waste as Boufal tries some showboating and gives the ball away to a grateful Fredericks.

50 minYELLOW: Southampton break down the left through Long, who skips away from McDonald but goes to ground under the challenge of the Fulham midfielder, who sees the first yellow card of the game.

52 minThe Saints again counter down the Fulham left through Hojbjerg and Boufal, but the Moroccan's through-pass which would have set Long free is intercepted by the backtracking Fredericks.

54 minCHANCE! Great chance for the Saints to double their lead as Hojbjerg plays a one-two with Long, but cannot lift the ball over Button from eight yards out. The midfielder is still waiting for his first Southampton goal.

55 minBoufal drifts in from the left and fires a 25-yard shot way over the crossbar when Ward-Prowse was unmarked at the back post.

56 minSUBSTITUTION: Jokanovic can see that it's not working in the final third and has brought on Neeskens Kabano for McDonald, which should give the hosts an extra body in attack.

58 minSouthampton are knocking on the door for a second now and a back-heel from Boufal takes two defenders out of the game, but Davis cannot quite squeeze a return pass through Kalas and Ream.

60 minSAVE! McCarthy comfortably holds a shot from a tight angle from Johansen, who was forced into shooting after Norwood passed up the opportunity following good work from Sessegnon.

62 minKebano must have given the ball away with each of his first three touches - not a good start from the substitute.

63 minDavis knocks the ball down for Long, who tries to open his body up for a curling shot which nearly goes out for a throw-in. Ah well, his purple patch was nice well it lasted.

65 minCHANCE! Fredericks whips a cross into a decent area and it reaches Piazon at the back post, but the midfielder completely airkicks at the back post - a sign of rustiness possibly.

67 minSUBSTITUTION: Attack-minded substitution from Jokanovic as central defender Kalas comes off for Sheyi Ojo, which should lead to a switch to a three-at-the-back formation.

69 minEven against Premier League opposition, Fulham have enjoyed the bulk of the possession with 56%, but they have not created anything clear cut and Alex McCarthy has gone largely untested.

71 minSUBSTITUTION: First change for Southampton as Redmond comes on for Boufal, who has put in another Jekyll and Hyde performance.

72 minYELLOW: Bednarek rightly enters the book for crashing into Kebano from behind on the halfway line.

74 minOjo gets into a good position by the right byline, only to horribly overhit a cross on his weaker right foot.

75 minWOODWORK: A corner is flicked on by Long and reaches Stephens at the back post. He is completely unmarked but somehow heads straight against the crossbar. What a miss - that should have been game over.

76 minSUBSTITUTION: Last throw of the dice for Jokanovic as Kamara replaces the ineffective Fonte up front.

77 minCHANCE! McCarthy fumbles a set piece from Norwood and the ball drops for Odoi, who can't get over the ball and his volley goes over the crossbar. That could be Fulham's big chance gone.

80 minSUBSTITUTION: Mario Lemina replaces Hojbjerg in midfield for Southampton. The former Juventus midfielder has found it hard to regain his place since recovering from injury but is a fine player.

83 minSouthampton seem content to sit in now and try to see out this one-goal win. Fulham have wrestled complete control of possession but can't penetrate the Saints defence just yet.

85 minSUBSTITUTION: Pellegrino uses his final substitution to bring on Gabbiadini, with Shane Long coming off. The Irishman's prolific scoring run ends at one in one.

87 minKebano finally gets something right with a stepover and pass to Sessegnon, whose cross is blocked by Stephens.

89 minCHANCE! Half-chance for Fulham as Norwood heads wide from Sessegnon's cross. The midfielder may have been better knocking the ball back into the danger area, rather than going for goal.

90+1 minThere will be FOUR minutes of stoppage time and Southampton have settled for keeping the ball in the corner already.

90+2 minGabbiadini blazes over the crossbar after Lemina's inspired back-heel had teed him up perfectly to wrap the game up.


5.02pmA narrow victory for Southampton then, thanks to James Ward-Prowse's 29th-minute strike. Mauricio Pellegrino will hope this victory can inspire some improved Premier League form as the Saints look to move out of trouble. Fulham won't mind this result as they can now focus on their playoff push.

5.05pmThat's it from Craven Cottage, but our FA Cup coverage continues with coverage of Chelsea's trip to Norwich. Before that 5.30pm kickoff - you can check out our report on Southampton's victory, and all of the final third-round scores in our results section. Thanks for joining us this afternoon!

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Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic pictured on August 5, 2016
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