Southampton 2-2 Newcastle: Manolo Gabbiadini double rescues point for Saints
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 16/10/17 8:12am
Manolo Gabbiadini's double inspired Southampton as they twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Nissan Super Sunday.
Isaac Hayden's first Premier League goal put the Magpies ahead at St Mary's on 20 minutes, but that was cancelled out by a fine individual strike from Gabbiadini early in the second half.
Ayoze Perez punished an error from Fraser Forster to restore Newcastle's lead within 86 seconds, but, once again, Gabbiadini was the Saints' hero as his emphatic penalty 15 minutes from time sealed a point.
The result lifts Southampton up to 10th in the Premier League, two points and one spot behind ninth-placed Newcastle.
Manolo Gabbiadini was drafted into the Southampton line-up in place of captain Steven Davis, who started on the bench. Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, handed starts to Isaac Hayden and Florian Lejeune as Ciaran Clark and Mikel Merino dropped out.
Having failed to score in eight of their last nine home matches, Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino was under pressure ahead of kick-off, pressure which would have increased further had Christian Atsu's ninth-minute effort found the target and not the side-netting.
The Saints responded as Nathan Redmond's cross found Dusan Tadic at the far post on 16 minutes, but the Serb headed a gilt-edged chance over and the hosts were made to pay shortly afterwards as Hayden's crisp volley flashed past Forster in the home goal from 20 yards out.
Virgil van Dijk, making his first appearance at St Mary's since January, had the chance to mark his return with a goal, and draw a line under a tumultuous summer, but, having beaten Newcastle 'keeper Rob Elliot to the ball at the near post, the defender's glancing header drifted wide.
Saints pressed and probed for an equaliser but it was Newcastle who came closest to scoring again as Joselu turned Perez's centre onto the crossbar within two minutes of the restart.
But, out of nothing, a moment of brilliance hauled Southampton level as Gabbiadini plucked a long ball down in the area and kept Javi Manquillo at arm's length before trickling the ball into the bottom corner.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Perez fired the ball past Forster after the Saints stopper spilled his initial near-post effort.
But, after Florian Lejeune brought Shane Long down in the area, up stepped Gabbiadini, this time from 12 yards, to rescue Southampton once more, before substitute Steven Davis prevented Lejeune from atoning for his penalty error by hacking his goal-bound header off the line at the death.
Southampton: Forster (5), Cedric (6), Van Dijk (6), Yoshida (6), Bertrand (6), Redmond (6), Romeu (6), Lemina (8), Tadic (6), Long (6), Gabbiadini (9).
Subs: Davis (6), Austin (5), Boufal (5).
Newcastle: Elliot (6), Yedlin (6), Lascelles (6), Lejeune (5), Manquillo (5), Ritchie (6), Hayden (7), Shelvey (6), Atsu (5), Joselu (5), Perez (7).
Subs: Murphy (5), Gayle (5), Merino (6).
Man of the Match: Manolo Gabbiadini
- Southampton have only lost one of their last 24 home league matches against Newcastle (W16 D7).
- There were just 87 seconds between Southampton's equaliser and Ayoze Perez restoring Newcastle's lead at the start of the second half.
- Perez ended a run of 1135 minutes without a Premier League goal - his last goal came against Bournemouth in March 2016.
- Manolo Gabbiadini scored twice in this match - more than he'd managed in his previous 15 Premier League appearances (1).
- Isaac Hayden scored his first Premier League goal in his eighth appearance in the competition - it was his first goal since April when he scored against Cardiff in a Championship fixture.
Mauricio Pellegrino: "We conceded a couple of, in my opinion, soft goals. We were in our best moment (in the match). We could have won the game but also we could lose the game. We are conceding goals in every single game at home and we can do better. It is one point, it is not the best for us but in how we conceded the first and second goals the point is positive."
Rafa Benitez: "My big disappointment was for the fans. It was a pity because we couldn't get three points so they could go back happy. It was difficult but at least we got a point. We can be better and hopefully we will be better but we have to defend better."
Man of the Match - Manolo Gabbiadini
Gabbiadini was making his first start in more than a month but showed no signs of rustiness as he cancelled strikes in either half from Hayden and Perez. Mauricio Pellegrino will hope his brace prompts a return to the sort of form that saw the Italian score six goals in his first four games for Southampton last season.
The striker's intervention here will also come as a relief to England hopeful Forster after the goalkeeper endured several shaky moments and was caught out of position for both Newcastle goals.
Newcastle host Crystal Palace at St James' Park next Saturday at 3pm before Southampton welcome West Brom to St Mary's in the evening kick-off.