Southampton 2 Norwich City 2 (Southampton win 6-5 on penalties)
Norwich City were agonisingly dumped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after a last gasp equaliser and penalty shoot-out agony.
Norwich City were agonisingly dumped out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy after a last gasp equaliser and penalty shoot-out agony.
A Papa Waigo N'Diaye goal from virtually the last kick of added time prevented City from winning the tie in normal time at St Mary's after Gary Doherty's third goal in two games and Chris Martin's 12th of the season had put the Canaries ahead following N'Diaye's 14th minute opener.
In the shoot-out, Lloyd James was first to miss - Fraser Forster saving - but Michael Nelson's subsequent spot kick was also blocked.
Paul Wooton sent the shoot-out into sudden death where Matty Gill, Michail Antonio and Cody McDonald all had efforts saved, before Wayne Thomas broke City hearts from 12 yards, 6-5 on penalties.
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It will be the Saints who now face MK Dons in the southern area final for a place at Wembley, after Paul Ince's side won 4-1 at Hereford.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert named a surprisingly strong line-up, making just two changes to the team that drew 3-3 at Yeovil in League One on Saturday - Korey Smith and Jens Berthel Askou making way for Tom Adeyemi and Michael Nelson respectively, with Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt enjoying their first Trophy appearances.
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Southampton made by far the brighter start and Morgan Schneiderlin had already forced a block from Forster before the home side took the lead on 14 minutes.
N'Diaye broke free from deep and although Russell Martin got back to cover, the striker was still able to shake off his attention, rolling the ball under the City goalkeeper and into the unguarded net.
The goal stirred City into life, Tom Adeyemi showing superb feet to draw a smart stop from Bartosz Bialkowski, while Chris Martin should have done better after good work from Hoolahan.
But City had the goal their improved play deserved on 33 minutes. Holt was fouled by Jacob Mellis and from Simon Lappin's free-kick, Doherty rifled home from 10 yards after Chris Martin made a nuisance of himself in the area.
It was the centre-back's third goal in two games after his brace at the weekend.
And City completed their comeback in tenacious fashion 10 minutes after the break.
Excellent persistence from Darel Russell allowed Hoolahan to break through the midfield and his slide rule pass sent Holt through on goal.
The Saints 'keeper got something on the ball as Holt tried to round him, but in the ensuing scramble, the ball fell kindly to Chris Martin in the six yard box and the striker couldn't miss.
Substitute Antonio's first touch saw Adam Drury's block loop narrowly wide of Forster's goal as Saints pressed, while Nelson should have done better than heading Russell Martin's corner over the bar.
Nelson and Chris Martin were both booked - one a cynical foul as Antonio threatened to have a free run at City's back tracking defence, the other for a reasonable aerial challenge on Chris Perry - both times the home fans unreasonably baying for blood.
Both Holt and Rickie Lambert had chances to notch before the final whistle, both skewing well off target.
But with virtually the final kick of the game, N'Diaye pounced on a loose ball in the City area to send the tie straight to penalties.
Southampton: Bialkowski, James, Trotman, Perry (Thomas 77), Harding, Hammond, Schneiderlin (Wotton 46), Mellis (Antonio 60), N'Diaye, Lallana, Lambert. Subs: Forecast, Holmes.
Norwich: Forster, Drury, Nelson, Doherty, R Martin, Adeyemi (Otsemobor 63), Russell, Lappin (Gill 63), Hoolahan, C Martin, Holt. Subs: Steer, McVeigh, McDonald.
Ref: Kevin Wright (Cambs)