Premier League - Southampton hold Norwich in rainy stalemate

Premier League, Carrow Road - Norwich City 0 Southampton 0

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Premier League - Southampton unsure on Boruc return
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Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc (PA Photos)

Norwich and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw at a rain-soaked Carrow Road, where Artur Boruc saved Grant Holt's stoppage-time penalty.

The match was adversely affected by the horrifically wet conditions, but each side had a number of serious chances to grab what would have been the winning goal.

Mauricio Pochettino's visitors had the bulk of the chances and possession, but also had Japanese defender Maya Yoshida - playing out of position at right-back with the benched Nathaniel Clyne not 100% match fit - to thank for two crucial second-half interceptions to prevent the Canaries a certain opener.

And when Holt went down from a mild Luke Shaw shove in the area in time added on, the striker had his chance to seal a valuable extra two points for the hosts only for Boruc to produce a fantastic save and keep the game goalless.

Both sides – who in the last five years have each sunk to the depths of the third tier before stringing together two successive promotions to return to the Premier League – struggled to play their best football early on, thanks mostly to the soggy conditions and fear of making a crucial error.

It would be the visitors who began to mount the pressure first, taking control of the contest halfway through the first 45 with Adam Lallana forcing a great save from Mark Bunn just before the 20 minute mark.

Gaston Ramirez called the keeper into action again shortly before the half hour when he was played through by Lambert, only for Bunn to rush out and get a hand to the Uruguayan’s chipped effort.

The hosts quickly broke and won a free-kick from which Robert Snodgrass led to a similarly-strong stop from Artur Boruc, but City soon lost Anthony Pilkington to injury with Wes Hoolahan coming on in his place.

The Canaries would at least enjoy a strong finish to the first half, and were furious not to be awarded a penalty and perhaps more when Holt appeared to be held back by teenage full-back Luke Shaw as he tried to tap in a Snodgrass centre from a matter of yards.

Southampton initially regained their control of the contest at the start of the second, but after Lallana somehow fired over with the goal at his mercy on 50 minutes, Chris Hughton’s troops began to create the better chances.

And if not for Yoshida’s vital touch to Snodgrass’s low centre, Holt would almost certainly have given his team the lead on 56.

Jay Rodriguez wasted a couple of decent chances with tame finishes before Yoshida again came to the rescue 15 minutes from the end, nipping in at the last possible second to deny Snodgrass a tap-in after he had rounded Boruc.

Given that Shaw, who had tormented Norwich on the left throughout the game, was lucky to get off scot-free when pulling Holt back at the end of the first half, there was a certain degree of justice when Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot for his innocuous contact behind Holt in stoppage time.

But then when Holt stepped up to surely seal a last-gasp victory from 12 yards, his decent strike was guessed well and kept out brilliantly by Boruc to ensure the first 0-0 between these two sides since 1972.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Maya Yoshida, Southampton – By the time Boruc had saved a point for the away side, the reliable defender had already done so twice. Superb display at the back despite error-inviting conditions.

PLAYER RATINGS

NORWICH: Bunn 8; R Martin 6, Bassong 7, Turner 7, Garrido 6; Johnson 6, Howson 6, Snodgrass 8, Pilkington 5; Kamara 5, Holt 6. Subs: Hoolahan 7, Becchio 5.

SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc 8; Yoshida 9, Hooiveld 6, Fonte 7, Shaw 8; Cork 6, Lallana 6, Schneiderlin 6; Ramirez 7, Lambert 7, Rodriguez 5. Subs: Ward-Prowse 5, Do Prado 5, Puncheon N/A.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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