Belfast Telegraph

Austin has one eye on busy fixture schedule after netting Southampton equaliser

Southampton striker Charlie Austin had one eye on the tough fixture schedule ahead after claiming a second-half equaliser in a 1-1 Premier League draw with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

The home side went ahead four minutes before the break as Ryan Fraser collected Andrew Surman's pass just inside the 18-yard box and slotted the ball under a diving Fraser Forster for a half-time lead.

Saints' pressure for an equaliser paid off just after the hour mark as Nathan Redmond's low cutback found Austin, who fired home with a crisp finish for a share of the spoils.

Austin to ld Sky Sports: "It was a good performance, we changed it around in the second half so it's a point - we go into a big December now.

"We deserved a goal if anything, we looked like we were going to nick it at the end but we had to be careful we weren't going to throw it away either."

Austin and Nathan Ake both went close with late headers but neither could find a winner, and Austin admitted he should have completed his brace.

He said: "I think so, yeah. Front post, the same as last week, I think I should have scored but these things happen. You've got to be in the position...I was in the right place at the right time. I just couldn't put the ball in the net this time."

Austin's goal was his third in three games and, coming on only his second Premier League start this season, will offer Saints encouragement that he can be the solution to their scoring problems.

He added: "I'm just in the team to score goals, work hard and try to help us to win games and that's what I've been doing so far.

"Unfortunately we didn't get the three points today but - like I say - it's a point away from home and we've got big games coming up."

Two penalty appeals, one at each end, had both sides feeling aggrieved. Sofiane Boufal's reckless sliding challenge deserved to concede a penalty but it was so mistimed that Adam Smith saw it coming and overplayed the fall. Referee Jon Moss booked him for diving.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe was disappointed his side were not awarded a "stonewall penalty" for that challenge.

He said: "For me it's a stonewall penalty. I think as anywhere else on the pitch, it's a free-kick. I think the referee's probably tried to be a bit clever with it.

"As soon as Adam Smith got his toe to the ball before the defender, I knew that he was in trouble and that Adam was going to go over the leg - because he had nowhere to go. So I'm amazed it wasn't given.

"I think it's a really poor decision....it's really unfair on us."

Howe was pleased with his side's performance but thought they could have won it at the end, saying: "It was a very competitive game. Quite even, a lot of chances at both ends. That's the pleasing thing for us today, we really did work their goalkeeper.

"In general our performance was totally different to Wednesday night (a 2-1 loss to Burnley). I'm very pleased with the players.

"We're disappointed overall. I think once you take the lead (then) not to win (you will be), but I think you have to acknowledge that Southampton did do very well at times in the second half.

"Ultimately we became strong again and I think we could have nicked it at the end."

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