Southampton 2-1 Norwich City: Sloppy Canaries pay for first half lapses in Premier League defeat

Danny Ings gets in between Kenny McLean and Ben Godfrey to open the scoring for the Saints. Picture:

Danny Ings gets in between Kenny McLean and Ben Godfrey to open the scoring for the Saints. Picture: Paul Chesterton - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City’s mini unbeaten run ended in sloppy fashion in Wednesday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to Southampton at St Mary’s.

Teemu Pukki's eighth top flight goal of the season proved scant consolation after the Canaries were punished for defensive lapses in the first half. Danny Ings and ex-City loanee Ryan Bertrand pounced to finish two home set pieces.

Farke named an unchanged starting line up from the side that drew 2-2 with Arsenal at Carrow Road on Sunday, following on from the previous win at Everton.

Alex Tettey returned to the squad on the bench in place of Patrick Roberts. Southampton included City old boy Nathan Redmond but Angus Gunn was again named among the substitutes for the Saints.

Ben Godfrey had to be alert inside the opening 20 seconds to clear at his near post after Ings' run caught City flat-footed.

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Southampton forced the pace in the first five minutes but Norwich's threat on the counter stirred when Todd Cantwell linked with Kenny McLean to set Pukki free.

The Finn tried to cut inside, in the manner of his deflected strike against the Gunners, but the Saints' rearguard were wise to the threat and swarmed around City's top scorer.

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Moussa Djenepo looked a major threat down Southampton's right with a couple of penetrating runs but a lack of end product.

Redmond up against Max Aarons on the opposite flank looked an intriguing duel. Aarons tried to burst free in the 10th minute but the ex-Norwich wide player tracked his foe,

Both sides were guilty of sloppy play in possession thwarting any real flow to the early skirmishes. Onel Norwich finally clicked in the 15th minute when Cantwell picked out McLean, who opened up his body to create a shooting chance 25 yards out, only to drag a low right-footed effort wide.

Southampton replied with Ings towering above Norwich's backline but tamely heading Cedric Soares' deep cross into the ground.

James Ward-Prowse rolled Cantwell, who conceded a free kick trying to haul back the England midfielder. It proved a costly lapse, when Ward-Prowse whipped in a free kick from wide on the left for the unmarked Ings to crash home a close range header.

Ings' movement, allied to his aerial threat, was proving uncomfortable for the City backline. But the visitors' lack of penetration in possession ensured the ball kept coming back towards the experienced frontman.

Djenepo had far too much time and space to turn and measure a swerving shot that cleared Tim Krul's bar in the 32nd minute.

City injected some urgency into their attacking play shortly after when Aarons was found in acres of space but Cantwell was crowded out after the ball arrived inside.

Farke was clearly unimpressed and opted for a change of shape, with Ibrahim Amadou dropping into a defensive three, pushing Aarons and Sam Byram into wing back positions. It also meant a deeper re-deployment for McLean, with Onel Hernandez now chief support for Pukki.

But it was still Ings who looked the man most likely, twisting in midfield to rifle a shot deflected for a corner. City were again undone from a Ward-Prowse set piece two minutes from the break, Shane Long getting the initial flick after a pivoting run to lose both Christoph Zimmermann and Godfrey to nod the ball down for Bertrand at the back post.

Krul denied Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg a third with a flying tip over his bar with Southampton rampant in the shadow of the interval.

Farke made a double change at the break with Marco Stiepermann and Tettey replacing Amadou and Trybull respectively.

Within 20 seconds Pukki unleashed a rising shot Alex McCarthy tipped over. Home fans bayed for a penalty when Long tumbled after what they felt was a shove in the back from Godfrey just inside his box but referee Friend was unmoved.

Southampton continued to boss proceedings and McLean's weak clearances almost came back with interest in the 57th minute when Long stabbed it wide.

City did mount a threatening counter at the other end that saw Byram lash a shot at McCarthy. Pukki then created a decent shooting position for Stiepermann, but the wayward effort skied over the bar had Farke wheeling away in disgust.

Ings lashed a half-volley wide with Krul at full stretch and that miss stung City into a riposte. Tettey slipped a gorgeous threaded pass through for Pukki who advanced to the corner of the six yard box and lashed high past McCarthy.

Farke went for broke with Emi Buendia replacing Cantwell to try and complete the comeback and the Argentine spurned a decent chance in stoppage time for the equaliser when he glanced Aarons' cross wide. There was still time for Byram to slap another big chance over on the half-volley.

- Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy, Soares, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand, Djenepo (Romeu 72), Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Long (Yoshida 85), Ings (Adams 77). Subs (not used): Gunn, Boufal, Obafemi, Danso.

- Booking: Djenepo (foul on McLean, 59)

- Goals: Ings (22), Bertrand (43)

- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram, Amadou (Stiepermann 45), Trybull (Tettey 45), McLean, Cantwell (Buendia 83), Hernandez, Pukki. Subs (not used): Fahrmann (GK), Vrancic, Srbeny, Lewis.

- Booking: Byram (foul on Djenepo, 62)

- Goal: Pukki (65)

- Added on time: 2 minutes / 4 minutes

- Referee: Kevin Friend (Leics)

- Attendance: 27,019

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