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Late Long goal sees Saints through to FA Cup fourth round

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A late Shane Long goal saw Saints beat Norwich 1-0, setting up a home tie against Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup

Southampton v Norwich City - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

A stoppage time goal from Shane Long was enough to see Saints through in the FA Cup this evening.

In a drab game befitting the half empty stands and dire atmosphere at St Marys, Long's goal was one of few moments of action in the whole game.

Claude Puel named a young side, with six academy graduates starting, and while they had the better of the match, they offered very little.

Jordy Clasie had a couple of early efforts, as did Jay Rodriguez, but Norwich sat back in a 5-4-1 formation and allowed the hosts to have the ball in non-threatening areas.

There was a lack of width and very little penetration in a performance that is typical of Southampton this term. The team's lack of confidence was epitomised when Shane Long and Sam McQueen both passed up the opportunity to hit an inviting Norwich clearance, leaving it to each other with the visitors breaking up the pitch and earning a free kick.

Southampton v Norwich City - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

There was very little improvement in the early stages of the second half, with Saints pedestrian and unimaginative. James Ward-Prowse shot straight down McGovern's throat and Rodriguez failed to get Cuco Martina's cross under control, before the first genuine chance came nearly an hour in. Josh Sims brilliantly beat Sebastien Bassong in the box, and slid a ball across towards Rodriguez for an easy tap in, unfortunately Ivo Pinto slid in to clear the ball behind.

The game pressed on with poor quality on display from both sides, Long firing a shot just wide just after the hour mark. With the substitutes warming up on the sidelines, the hosts looked to be improving - Rodriguez hooking an effort close to goal.

Then, as if to halt his side's brightening display, Puel chose to put defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu on in a game his side were dominating. Former Norwich man Nathan Redmond also came on with Harrison Reed and Jay Rodriguez making way.

Moments before the subs, Josh Murphy picked out Kyle Lafferty in the box, who stretched but couldn't get on the end of it in what was a reminder of how the game was poised.

Ward-Prowse looked to have finally broke the deadlock with 15 minutes remaining, his curling free kick rippling the side netting. Saints were getting closer. Minutes later, the Englishman had another free kick further out, which saints duly wasted with one of their favoured short set plays.

Clasie's effort was spilled by the 'keeper with Long lurking, before the Irishman nicked the ball from Pinto, feeding Sims whose chip drifted well over the bar. Substitute Sergi Canos had a chance to score with his first touch, failed to make it count before Martina hit a shot way over the bar.

Saints upped the pressure late on, with Redmond snatching at three separate chances before Long finally settled the replay in injury time. Sam McQueen's ball was seemingly wasted by the Irishman, who was fortunate to bury the rebound.

Saints will now face Arsenal in the fourth round, whom they dumped out of the League Cup earlier this season. Next in the league are Champions Leicester, with Liverpool after that and a chance at making it to a Wembley final.

Teams

Saints: Lewis; Martina, Yoshida (c), Stephens, McQueen; Clasie, Reed (Romeu 70), Ward-Prowse; Sims, Long, Rodriguez (Redmond 70).

Subs: Taylor, Cédric, Gardos, Tadić, Romeu, Redmond, Højbjerg.

Norwich: McGovern; Pinto, Bennett, Klose, Bassong, Martin (c); Jo. Murphy (Ja Murphy 72), Godfrey (Grant 85), Brady, Pritchard; Lafferty (Canos 79).

Subs: Jones, Naismith, Canos, Ja. Murphy, Grant, Ramsay, Middleton.