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Southampton 2-0 Fulham Prem 09 1314 Daily Star

last updated Monday 28th October 2013, 11:24 AM
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Peter White at Daily Star

Southampton (2) 2 Fulham (0) 0

Saints totally dominated a Fulham side fresh from Monday's trouncing of Crystal Palace and the only surprise was that Mauricio Pochettino's side did not win by a much bigger margin.

Toothless Fulham did not manage even one worthwhile effort on target and for most of the 90 minutes were chasing shadows under the floodlights as Adam Lallana and James Ward-Prowse taunted them with Lambert and Rodriguez adding the finishing touches.

No doubt Cottagers boss Martin Jol was hoping for another piece of Pajtim Kasami-type magic to inspire Fulham at St Mary's as his side went in search of not only a third straight league win for the first time in 19 months, but a first success at the home of the south coast club since 1935.

But in truth it never looked like materialising.

With England striker Lambert back in the starting line-up at the expense of Dani Osvaldo, Saints started much the quicker and they maintained the stranglehold for the whole match.

They could so easily have taken the lead inside five minutes.

Lallana robbed Philippe Senderos and whipped in a cross from the left that Maarten Stekelenburg could only parry.

Morgan Schneiderlin seized on the loose ball and powered in a shot that beat the keeper only to be cleared from near the line by Fernando Amorebieta.

It was an opening from Fulham that Jol clearly did not want to see and he was quickly into his technical area looking grim-faced as Southampton continued to force the pace.

As the visitors struggled to move out of their own half, Saints midfielder Victor Wanyama ventured forward to fire in a low 20-yarder that skimmed just wide. But the home supporters did not have to wait much longer for the inevitable breakthrough.

Ward-Prowse, in for the injured Steven Davis, swung over a 20th-minute corner from the right which Rodriguez flicked on and unmarked Lambert rose to power in a trademark header - his first club goal from open play this season.

There was nearly a second for Saints a couple of minutes later as Rodriguez burst forward to hit a low drive that Stekelenburg managed to fingertip for a corner as the Fulham defence looked in disarray.

They were further embarrassment when Schneiderlin fed Lambert whose low cross shot fizzed past Stekelenburg only to cannon back off the outside of a post.

As half-time approached it was getting a little embarrassing for Jol and his troops with Stekelenburg having to pull off another fine reflex save to keep out Lambert's header from Ward-Prowse's pinpoint delivery.

And it just got better for Saints on 43 minutes when the magnificent Lallana picked out Lambert whose header across the face of goal was nodded home by Rodriguez.

If there was to be any criticism of Saints it was the fact that having totally dominated the game from the outset they only had two goals to show for their efforts when it should have been at least double that tally.

There could so easily have been a third midway through the second half, though, when Rodriguez produced an acrobatic volley that flashed just off target.

Pochettino said: "I think it was the most emphatic performance of the season.

"I have been saying for some time how amazingly important Rickie is for this club and if he keeps playing for us like he has been then I am sure he will be going to Brazil with England."

Rodriguez said: "We press hard, our fitness is high and we have an unbelievable team spirit. Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana are great to play with and we can learn from them.

"We have the belief and want to keep pushing on. There's no limit to what we can achieve."

Jol said: "We were very poor in the first half and Lallana caused us a lot of problems.

"Southampton are a strong side and you have to match them and if you don't you get punished and will lose the game."

But the most disappointing thing for me as that we did not create anything."

Southampton: Boruc 7; Clyne 8, Fonte 7, Lovren 7, Shaw 7; Wanyama 7, Schneiderlin 7, Ward-Prowse 8, Lallana 9; Rodriguez 8 (Do Prado 78th), Lambert 8

Fulham: Stekelenburg 7; Riether 5 (Hughes (46th) 6), Senderos 6, Amorebieta 7, Richardson 5; Ruiz 5 (Kacaniklic 81st), Sidwell 6, Parker 5, Kasami 6; Berbatov 4, Bent 4 (Rodallega 75, 5)

STAR?MAN: Adam Lallana

Ref: A Marriner

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