For match photos, scroll to Photostream above left; for match stats, click on the statistics tab. Manager reaction below
Norwich City captain Grant Holt saw his stoppage-time penalty saved as Southampton battled to a goalless draw in difficult conditions at Carrow Road.
With heavy rain before kick-off being followed by sleet, neither side was able to get any real spell of possession, with clear-cut chances few and far between. Saints captain Adam Lallana blasted over when in front of an open goal, while Japan defender Maya Yoshida made vital blocks to prevent Holt and Robert Snodgrass scoring.
There was late drama, though, as Luke Shaw pushed over Holt just inside the penalty area and referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot after consulting with his assistant. But Artur Boruc produced a decent stop down to his left to secure a well-deserved share of the points for the visitors.
The conditions made for testing control from both teams during the opening exchanges as the ball whizzed across the saturated surface. It was difficult for players to keep their footing, with Holt shown a yellow card on 16 minutes after sliding through on Morgan Schneiderlin.
Southampton created the first decent opening when a low centre from Schneiderlin was beaten away by Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who then tipped over Adam Lallana's rising 20-yard drive. Norwich - who beat Everton here with two late goals a fortnight ago - were struggling to get hold of the ball in midfield as the visitors continued to press.
When right-back Russell Martin did get forward to float in a teasing ball through the penalty area, Boruc got there ahead of Kei Kamara, making his first start since a loan move from Kansas City.
Southampton broke quickly on 28 minutes through Rickie Lambert and his onward pass found Gaston Ramirez in space on the edge of the Norwich penalty area, but his attempted chip was palmed out by Bunn as Javier Garrido mopped up the loose ball. At the other end, Snodgrass whipped in a 25-yard free-kick, which Boruc punched away.
Norwich were forced into a change nine minutes before the break when Anthony Pilkington hobbled off with a hamstring injury, replaced by Wes Hoolahan. Holt was just unable to get on the end of a low cross from Snodgrass which flew through the Southampton six-yard box.
The visitors had a golden chance to take the lead at the start of the second half. Jay Rodriguez burst down the left and cut into the penalty area. His cross was cleared by Sebastien Bassong, but the ball fell to Lallana 12 yards out. With the goal at his mercy, the Southampton captain could only blaze the ball high into the Barclay End.
The pace of the match intensified as Yoshida produced a superb block to prevent Holt getting on the end of Snodgrass' cross after a great knockdown by Kamara. Rodriguez's snapshot was then beaten away by Bunn and Lambert fired the rebound over. At the other end, Snodgrass was played in by Hoolahan, but the ball ran away from the Scotland midfielder as he went around the goalkeeper, which allowed Yoshida to hack clear.
Midfielder James Ward-Prowse came on for Lallana as Southampton looked to freshen things up for the closing stages, before Norwich sent on January signing Luciano Becchio for Kamara.
There was late drama as Shaw's nudge on Holt led to Clattenburg giving a penalty. Holt scored an injury-time winner against Everton a fortnight ago, but there was to be no repeat as Boruc guessed right and earned Southampton a draw.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "I decided to go 4-4-2 today, which means you can perhaps be a bit more open, but I thought we had the better chances. It was not one of our better performances, but the conditions were not easy. If you are speaking to our back four and the midfield two, they are probably more delighted we have got the clean sheet.
"Overall it was between two teams who are fighting hard for their lives and so in the end a draw was probably a fair result."
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "It has been hard for us to get goals, but at a difficult ground such as Norwich, my team played a good game in weather conditions for our type of football was not the best. The team fought really hard today and the result could have been worse with the penalty given in the last minute.
"What is really important is we keep on creating those chances and it depends on the effectiveness of our attacking players, that always comes and goes, and I am pretty sure my strikers will score as we have skilful strikers. We haven't set a number of points; we will try to get as many points as we can from the games we play.”
|06 Apr 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|17 Mar 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|20 Apr 2013||v Reading (H)|
|27 Apr 2013||v Stoke (A)|
|13 Apr 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|30 Mar 2013||v Wigan (A)|