Alex Pritchard capitalised on Southampton keeper Angus Gunn’s mistake to rescue a draw for Huddersfield in their final Premier League game before dropping into the Championship.
The hosts were cruising after Nathan Redmond’s opener but Saints goalkeeper Gunn was too relaxed on the ball as Pritchard stole possession and rolled in a second-half equaliser.
Redmond had fired a stunning opener after a disappointing first 40 minutes as Southampton looked on course to end a run of four games without victory.
James Ward-Prowse nearly doubled Saints’ lead with an equally fierce strike after the interval but Premier League debutant Joel Coleman acrobatically tipped the ball over the bar.
Pritchard’s equaliser ensured the Terriers claimed only their seventh point on the road as they finished bottom of the table, but perhaps their recent draws with Manchester United and Southampton will carry momentum into the new campaign.
While Huddersfield drop down a division after two seasons in the Premier League, Southampton will have to eliminate their mistakes if they are to avoid flirting with a similar fate next season.
With nothing riding on the result, the game failed to live up to the glorious weather on the south coast and Karlan Grant’s tame effort was the only shot on target for 40 minutes in the beaming sunshine.
But with the game heading for the break, Redmond cut inside on to his favoured right foot before smashing past Coleman from just outside the area.
The visitors fluorescent shirts aside, the winger was the brightest spark on display, also making more key passes (6) than any other player on the pitch.
As he said after the game, the “game’s end of season feel” made it difficult with “nothing to play for”.
Gunn’s careless error certainly added to the match’s lackadaisical feel.
The 23-year-old was in no apparent danger from Ryan Bertrand’s pass back, but his touch eluded him allowing Pritchard to take possession and score in front of the vociferous Huddersfield fans.
Southampton finished just five points above the drop zone and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s recruitment drive over the summer will be key to ensuring they finish in a better position this time next year.
Source – BBC Sport