Derby matches are intense and fiery encounters where form and league position often count for nothing. The south coast derby was no exception to this. David Norris rescued a well-earned point for Portsmouth at St Mary’s with a wonder strike in injury time.
Portsmouth started well with a shot from outside the box by Kelvin Etuhu which was pushed away by keeper Kelvin Davis.
However, it was Southampton who took the lead through Billy Sharp. Portsmouth’s defence could not clear the ball from danger and Sharp latched onto a Rickie Lambert pass, which he slotted into the bottom left hand corner in the 27th minute.
Portmouth battled hard all afternoon and responded 9 minutes after Sharp’s goal. Chris Maguire lashed the ball home from a tight angle outside the box. Davis may have been disappointed to have let the ball past, but the shot was fierce and Maguire was not closed down by the Saint’s defence.
The second half continued at a frenetic tempo and Maguire could have doubled his tally but shot well wide. Portsmouth’s keeper Ashdown pulled off two fantastic saves within a minute. First he pushed wide a Lallana volley and then tipped over Fonte’s header from the resulting corner.
Southampton looked to have gained all three points when one minute from time, Sharp scored again when he poked home at the back post. The goal was given offside, but the decision was reversed.
Norris stunned the St Mary’s faithful with a superb volley from 20 yards which nestled into the left hand corner.
Overall, Southampton had the best chances with Lallana and De Ridder failing to shoot when needed. However, the point was reward for Pompy’s attitude and persistence. Their players were not scared to shoot and trusted their techniques. The point leaves them six points from safety and relegation seems inevitable for the blues. Southampton go top of the table, but only on goal difference. Southampton seem to be stumbling towards top flight football next season, rather than marching there.