Supersub Nathan Dyer stole a rare away point for Swansea as the former Southampton winger gave his side a 1-1 draw against his old club at St Mary's Stadium.
Dyer, who has been reduced to a bench role in recent weeks, provided Michael Laudrup with an emphatic reminder of the goal-threat he can pose – taking just eight minutes to wipe out Morgan Schneiderlin’s header.
The winger finished well, but it was a Saints defensive error that gifted the wide-man his opportunity as a mix-up between replacement keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and Maya Yoshida allowws Dyer to nip in and steal the ball before stroking in past Gazzaniga and into the bottom corner.
Bookies favourite for the first Premier Leagye manager to be sacked, speculation will continue over whether Nigel Adkins will be given the chance to take his side into next week’s six-pointer at Queens Park Rangers.
Outgunning Swansea 16 shots to seven, record signing Gaston Ramirez looked the most likely to break the deadlock in early stages.
The midfielder unleashed a series of first-half drives from outside the box, working well off Ricky Lambert’s physical hold-up play – but rarely troubled Gerhard Tremmel.
Swansea’s Leon Britton pulled the strings for the away side, but despite edging the possession statistics, they went in at the break with only a handful of thwarted Routledge runs to show for it – with Michu conspicuous by his inaction up front.
After the break Saints came out firing – Adam Lallana was increasingly involved going forward, beating Swansea defenders, and he was denied a goal only by several outstanding blocks by Swansea captain Garry Monk – playing in his 250th game for the Welsh side.
Morgan Schneiderlin got the breakthrough on 65 minutes as he chested a Ricky Lambert header deftly past the oncoming defenders before heading it past Tremmel from close range.
Substitutes Dyer and Itay Shecter gave Swansea spark from the bench and the away side hit back on 73 minutes.
Gazzaniga – playing after first-choice keeper Artur Boruc was overlooked amidst allegations he threw a bottle at his home fans two weeks ago – sold his defender short on a simple pass, and Dyer pounced, sprinting clear to score.
The goal quietened a vocal St Mary’s crowd and appeared to deflate their team - however in a desperate series of attacks in latter stages, Lambert saw a glancing header drift just wide of the post, and then Lallana had a penalty appeal waved away by Andre Mariner following a heavy Ashley Williams challenge on the edge of the area.
Swans boss Laudrup will no doubt be happy with a point, while Southampton’s defensive frailties continue to haunt them – and with QPR losing and Reading managing only a point against Norwich - the game will go down as an opportunity missed to gain ground on their relegation rivals.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Adam Lallana (Southampton): Could have been either Lallana or Ramirez - both created real problems breaking from midfield. Lallana showed the greater composure in the box, used deft footwork to create shots for himself and opportunities for others. Unlucky not to be on the score sheet.
Southampton: Gazzaniga 4, Clyne 7, Yoshida 5, Schneiderlin 7, Fonte 6, Lambert 8, Ramirez 8, Cork 7, Lallana 8, Shaw 7, Puncheon 6 SUBS: Fox 5,
Swansea: Tremmel 6, Rangel 7, Williams 7, Monk 8, Davies 6, Britton 7, de Guzman 6, Ki 7, Hernadez 7, Routledge 7, Michu 5 SUBS: Augustien 5, Dyer 8, Shecter 6.
- Sports & Recreation
- Adam Lallana
- Nathan Dyer