Gunn saves penalty as Saints warm up for City with win over Championship side
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Angus Gunn made a penalty save to ensure Southampton won their friendly against Bristol City ahead of Friday’s trip to Norwich City.
The friendly was split into three periods of 45 minutes, with Stuart Armstrong giving the Saints the lead inside the first minute at St Mary’s after the pace of Irish striker Michael Obafemi had forced visiting keeper Daniel Bentley into an error, allowing Armstrong to slot into an empty net.
Just six minutes later the Premier League team doubled their lead, with Armstrong bursting in from the right to finish a slick team move, thanks to some clever play from young midfielder Will Smallbone.
The Robins took advantage of some sloppy defending to pull one back through Niclas Eliasson in the 14th minute and levelled midway through the first period when a quick counter finished with Callum O’Dowda smashing a shot past Alex McCarthy from 10 yards.
Danny Ings was sharpest to a loose ball after an Obafemi shot was saved shortly before the first break, to reclaim the lead with the last of the goals on the day, despite another 90 minutes being played.
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Fit-again former Canaries winger Nathan Redmond was involved in the first two periods and went close to extending Southampton’s lead as both teams started to make substitutions.
But it was still 3-2 when former Norwich number one Gunn came on for the final 45 minutes and the Norfolk-born keeper ensured his team held on for the friendly win, denying Benik Afobe in open play and with a penalty save.
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Star performers James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who is being strongly linked with interest from Tottenham and Everton as he enters the final year of his contract, were both in action during Friday’s game, alongside 15-goal top scorer Ings.
Gunn made 51 appearances for the Canaries while on loan from Manchester City during 2017-18, earning a £15m switch to the south coast. He was number one earlier in the season but lost the gloves to McCarthy after a shock 9-0 home loss to Leicester, only featuring in the FA Cup since that October nightmare.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team sit 14th and seven points clear of the relegation zone prior to the Premier League restart and Friday’s game at Carrow Road (6pm).
They had lost four of their last five league games when the season was suspended in March, following up a 3-1 loss at West Ham with a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle - after a strong mid-season run of seven wins in 11 games had pushed them clear of trouble.