Mark Clattenburg was back in charge for the first time since Chelsea alleged he racially abused John Obi Mikel against Manchester United a month ago - claims that have since come to nothing.
Clattenburg received a warm reception at St Mary's, although that soon petered out as the game began to heat up.
Despite handling in the build-up, Rickie Lambert broke the deadlock, while Saints boss Adkins felt the challenge in the build-up to Robert Snodgrass' leveller should not have been a free-kick.
"The first half we were on the front foot and there was a verve about us," the Saints boss said after the 1-1 draw.
"We scored a good goal through Rickie Lambert and could have scored one or two others.
"Unfortunately, the game has changed for us bang on half-time with the goal we have conceded.
"I don't think it was a free-kick from where I was in the dugout, watching the video back, Nathaniel Clyne made contact with the ball first [before Snodgrass].
"The ball has gone in that direction, indicating he made contact first, but the referee has given the decision and we've got to save it.
"That gave them a big uplift and in the second half I thought they were the better team.
"All-in-all, we've got another point. That is eight points in the last four games so we'll take the positives from that and move onto the next game."
While Adkins was frustrated with the free-kick, he concedes goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga should have saved Snodgrass' shot at his near post.
Asked if it was a bad mistake by the Argentine, he said: "Yeah, but you'll always highlight a goalkeeper when the ball goes in the back of the net. He'll learn from that; he'll have to."
It was a goal that Hughton believes Norwich deserved on the balance of play at St Mary's, especially after Lambert handled before breaking the deadlock.
"I think it was a fair result," the Canaries boss said. "I thought Southampton were better in that first period and we took a little bit of time to get going.
"We were stung a little bit by the goal, but I thought we were very good in that second half.
"As the game opened up, I thought we defended very well and if anybody was going to score on the break I thought it was going to be us.
"I think it was nothing less than we deserved, to get back into the game.
"I have seen it again and the first impression of the players there were to appeal for handball.
"I spoke to a couple of players that were very close to the incident and they both said it was handball.
"Nothing has changed my mind since seeing it. I think it is a difficult one as there were a lot of bodies there but certainly it was a handball.
"But we showed enough character to get back in and we've done that. We have had two tough away games and we have done well."
The decisions surrounding both goals may have left the managers frustrated but both were pleased to see Clattenburg refereeing again.
"He is an excellent referee," Hughton said. "I think probably more than the actual performance itself, I think I speak for most when I say we were absolutely delighted to see him back.
"He has a real passion for what he does and he is very, very good at what he does.
"We need as many good referees and them performing week in, week out."
Adkins echoed those sentiments, adding: "Of course I am pleased to see him back.
"It was an unfortunate situation that arose and meant he was out for a month, but he is a fine referee and has a great career in front of him."