Harry Redknapp is still searching for his first win in charge as Southampton after a Liam Rosenior own goal ensured the Saints and Fulham shared the spoils following a six-goal thriller at St. Mary’s.
The hosts dominated proceedings but had to settle for a point following the young Fulham defender’s spectacular own goal that brought the scoring to an end in a crazy second half. Papa Bouba Diop nodded the visitors ahead with a powerful header after a turgid start but a quickfire double from Kevin Phillips had the home fans dreaming of climbing off the foot of the league table.
Fulham equalised just before the interval through Steed Malbranque and when Tomasz Radzinski scored for the third game in succession to make it 3-2 it looked as though Chris Coleman’s side might sneak a rare away win. But Rosenior’s inadvertent rocket of a finish – as he diverted Mattias Svensson’s cross powerfully past a helpless Edwin van der Sar – handed the home side a point.
A poor opening period certainly burst into life with three goals in six minutes. Saints left Diop unmarked at Pembridge’s free-kick and the imposing midfielder made them pay with a powerful header. Fulham’s lead lasted barely a minute. Phillips headed home his seventh goal of the season former Fulham winger Fabrice Fernades’ cross and the contest had turned on its head when Phillips latched onto a forward ball from Peter Crouch and spun away from Zesh Rehman and Zat Knight in quick succession before shooting low past van der Sar.
Malbranque magicked up an equaliser right on half-time. Rory Delap’s poor clearance put Southampton in trouble and when Antti Niemi could only palm away Luis Boa Morte’s cross, Malbranque was on hand to sweep the ball into the net. Fulham went back in front minutes after the break when Pembridge threaded a lovely ball through the home defence allowing Radzinski to slot home his ninth goal since leaving Everton. Andy Cole then passed up an opportunity to make it four three minutes later, shooting wide when well placed.
Fulham would come to rue that moment. Southampton roused themselves with Anders Svensson driving over from the end of the box and Jamie Redknapp seeing his shot lose all its sting after taking three deflections on its way through to van der Sar. But the Dutch goalkeeper could do nothing about Rosenior’s calamitous own goal as a riveting contest ended up all square.
SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-2): Niemi; Telfer, Lundekvam, Davenport (Jakobsson 84), Higginbotham; A. Svensson, Delap, Redknapp, Fernandes (McCann 44); Phillips, Crouch. Subs (not used): Smith, Cranie, Ormerod.
BOOKED: Redknapp, Phillips.
GOALS: Phillips (21, 29), Rosenior (o.g. 71).
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Rosenior (Fontaine 90), Bocanegra, Rehman, Knight; Diop, Pembridge, Malbranque; Radzinski (John 61), Boa Morte, Cole. Subs (not used): Crossley, Clark.
BOOKED: Rehman (73), Cole (90).
GOALS: Diop (20), Malbranque (43), Radzinski (50).
REFEREE: Graham Poll (Hertfordshire).