Ryan Fraser nets late winner as Southampton beat Millwall
Ryan Fraser’s stoppage-time goal extended Southampton’s unbeaten run to seven matches as they defeated a spirited Millwall 1-0 at The Den.
The Lions had been indebted to their goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, whose heroics looked to have earned them a point in SE16.
But substitute Fraser sent the 3,031 travelling fans into raptures with a late clincher – meaning Russell Martin’s side have taken 17 points from a possible 21.
Fraser’s other goal for Southampton was also a late winner – at Hull on October 21 – while Saints also snatched a point against Preston in added time.
Millwall’s main threat in the opening 45 minutes came from George Saville’s corners and they hit the crossbar from one of them. Jake Cooper nodded Saville’s delivery back across goal and Wes Harding, who had scored in the last two matches, saw his header come back off the woodwork.
Southampton, though, controlled the possession and forced Bialkowski into a number of saves in the first period.
First the Polish goalkeeper tipped over Stuart Armstrong’s shot in the 20th minute, the first notable attempt in the match, and he also pushed away full-blooded strikes by Carlos Alcaraz and Will Smallbone.
Southampton dialled up the pressure at the start of the second half and it needed another excellent save from Bialkowski to deny Stuart Armstrong, who had stormed onto Kyle Walker-Peters’ low cross.
There was more resilient defending by the Lions soon after. Harding blocked Walker-Peters’ low strike while the visitors’ top scorer Adam Armstrong lashed over after Smallbone had bulldozed his way through a couple of challenges inside the box.
Bialkowski continued to frustrate Southampton, repelling Kamaldeen Sulemana’s attempt from a swift counter-attack led by Alcaraz in the 74th minute.
Stuart Armstrong’s skidding shot went narrowly wide of Bialkowski’s left upright before Fraser failed to find the target after Alcaraz’s initial attempt was blocked by Millwall captain Jake Cooper.
Millwall were posing only the most intermittent of threats, although Zian Flemming and Ryan Longman both produced respectable attempts even if they did not force Gavin Bazunu into action.
The influential Alcaraz’s 25-yard free-kick was parried away by Bialkowski in the 84th minute but Fraser had the final say when he slid the ball beyond Bialkowski from a cutback by Adam Armstrong.
Millwall look set to name their new manager next week and caretaker boss Adam Barrett has collected two points from a possible 12. This was a fifth home league loss of the campaign – making for the joint worst home record in the division along with QPR.
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