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Joe Rothwell brace helps Southampton fight back to beat Huddersfield in thriller

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Feb 2024

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Joe Rothwell’s spectacular double saw Southampton recover from 2-0 down to beat Huddersfield 5-3 in a Sky Bet Championship thriller at St Mary’s.

Saints were seeing their record 24-game unbeaten run dissolve in front of their eyes when goals from Sorba Thomas and David Kasumu left relegation-battling Huddersfield in charge at the break.

Rothewell’s brilliant brace levelled things up soon after half-time but Town reclaimed the lead in the 65th minute through Alex Matos.

However, a Tom Lees own goal in the 80th minute saw parity restored and Saints would go on to claim the points thanks to late strikes Sekou Mara and Samuel Edozie, ensuring they remain second in the table.

Jon Worthington’s spell as caretaker manager of Huddersfield had started with a 4-0 victory over fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday and the confidence from that victory was clear.

A variety of early half-chances came and went but Flynn Downes’ exit in the 32nd minute while clutching his groin allowed the Terriers to pounce, as Saints were forced to rejig their midfield.

Jack Rudoni pulled back the ball from the left to an unmarked Thomas who cleverly bounced his low finish over Ryan Manning’s leg to put the visitors 1-0 up in the 36th minute.

It was the first time Southampton had been behind at home in almost 22 hours and only the second goal they had conceded at St Mary’s in three months.

Nine minutes later they had conceded a second. This time Thomas turned provider with a run and cross from the right which wing-back Kasumu crashed into the roof of the net.

Kasumu had played under Southampton boss Russell Martin at MK Dons and this was his first Huddersfield goal on his 50th appearance.

The home side’s performance, tied in with an unhappiness towards referee David Webb, saw loud boos accompany the half-time whistle.

But four minutes after the re-start, Saints got themselves back into the game in style when Rothwell smashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner after Lee Nicholls had punched Stuart Armstrong’s corner to the edge of the box.

It was Rothwell’s first goal since arriving on loan from Bournemouth last month. He only had to wait another 65 seconds for his second.

This time his former Cherries team-mate, and fellow substitute, David Brooks found his run into the box with a clever reverse pass before Rothwell finished with aplomb over Nicholls.

The Saints fans were deafening in their celebrations and were ready to take the roof off when Adam Armstrong was sent clean through but elected to attempt a chip that was claimed by a grateful Nicholls.

Huddersfield then found a second wind and they capitalised when Matos stepped onto his right foot and fired the visitors back in front, his shot deflecting up off Will Smallbone and over the despairing Gavin Bazunu.

But Saints continued their club record unbeaten run in style with two goals in the space of four minutes to go 4-3 ahead.

They levelled things when Rothwell’s low ball from the left was turned into his own net by Lees before Mara put the hosts in front for the first time after Brooks had cut back to him.

Another substitute, Edozie, capped things off in stoppage time after Mara had held off three defenders to tee him up as Saints kept their noses just ahead of Leeds.

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