Southampton were made to work for their narrow 1-0 FA Cup third round victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Fulham 0 Southampton 1
Ward-Prowse on target on 29′
James Ward-Prowse scored the only goal of this keenly contested cup clash to secure the Saints’ progression to the fourth-round.
Shane Long was looking lively for Southampton early on but was caught offside on a couple of occasions after threatening to break through the Fulham backline.
Sofiane Boufal and Lucas Piazon were both closed down well as they looked to get shots away from the edge of their host’s box before Long headed a Ward-Prowse cross off target.
Ward-Prowse fired wide following a swift break forward by Boufal, but then struck home just moments later with a well-hit shot into the bottom-right corner of David Button’s goal.
The Saints failed to take advantage of a succession of corners ahead of a half-chance for Fulham as Stefan Johansen fired wide.
The half ended with Tim Ream heading a Ryan Sessegnon cross just over the Southampton crossbar.
The Premier League side were by no means having everything their own way and were made to work hard for opportunities. Boufal was forced to shoot from outside the box, but failed to hit the target, ahead of a Stefan Johansen shot from wide left that was kept out by Alex McCarthy at the other end.
Long was laid on by Steven Davis with 63 minutes played but again skewed wide, and Ryan Bertrand fired over from a 70th minute set-piece.
Long continued to miss half chances, before so nearly setting up Jack Stephens from a corner, but his header from close range hit the bar.
Denis Odoi’s 76th minute free-kick then failed to threaten the Saints goal, while Oliver Norwood was just off with his late header from a Sessegnon cross for the last real chance of the tie.