Southampton got the point they needed to secure their Premier League survival as they drew against Bournemouth in an entertaining clash at St Mary’s Stadium.
Shane Long gave the hosts a deserved 12th-minute lead with a shot that took a deflection off of Nathan Ake following Nathan Redmond’s pass.
But Bournemouth equalised with their first shot of the match when Dan Gosling finished off a quick counter-attack after being set up by Callum Wilson.
Long then could only hit the post with an open goal before Wilson put Bournemouth ahead from a rebound as Angus Gunn could not hold on to David Brooks’ effort.
However, Saints fought back and James Ward-Prowse’s low strike made it 2-2 before substitute Matt Targett headed the hosts in front from Yan Valery’s right-wing cross.
But Wilson grabbed his second – and Bournemouth’s third – late on, bundling the ball home from close range after Ryan Fraser’s run.
Despite not getting the victory, Cardiff’s 1-0 loss at Fulham means the draw was enough for Southampton to maintain their Premier League place.
After the Cardiff result was announced, the Southampton players and fans celebrated on the pitch, with chants of “we are staying up” ringing around St Mary’s.
Their Premier League survival looked a long way off in December when former manager Mark Hughes was sacked.
The club were 18th in the table with one win from 15 matches and only nine points on the board when Ralph Hasenhuttl was appointed for his first managerial role in England.
But the Austrian has made sure the Saints are safe with two games of the campaign remaining thanks to a record of eight wins, five draws and eight defeats from the 21 Premier League matches since he took over.
A thrilling south coast derby
In front of a capacity crowd, this south coast derby proved to be a thrilling and hugely enjoyable encounter.
The Saints took a deserved lead through Long before Bournemouth gained a surprise equaliser with a fine move finished off by Gosling.
Long should have restored the hosts’ advantage but produced one of the misses of the season when he hit the post with an empty goal from only a few yards out after Artur Boruc had parried his first effort.
Instead, Wilson gave the Cherries a half-time lead, but the hosts equalised within eight minutes of the restart.
A powerful header from substitute Targett – his first Southampton goal – swung the match back in the Saints’ favour, before Wilson’s second with four minutes remaining brought it level again.
With Gareth Southgate watching on, the England international had a chance for a hat-trick to seal the win for Bournemouth, but Gunn made a fine save to deny Wilson when he was through on goal.
After the final whistle at St Mary’s, the home players faced an anxious wait for confirmation of Cardiff’s defeat before the celebrations could start.
Source – BBC