McCarthy earns point for Southampton

Alex McCarthy retained his position in goal after starting in Southampton’s last Premier League game against Manchester City in May

An inspired performance from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy helped Southampton earn a point against Burnley at St Mary’s.

Burnley controlled the tempo early on in the game, despite only returning from Europa League action on Friday.

McCarthy denied Aaron Lennon early on before keeping out Jeff Hendrick’s low first-half header.

But the hosts came back into the game when new signings Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi were introduced to the action.

Jack Stephens saw his side-foot effort at the back post turned round the corner by Clarets’ keeper Joe Hart, and the former England number one clung on to Mario Lemina’s header.

Ings proved to be a welcome addition for Southampton as the striker headed over the bar from a corner before laying the ball into Elyounoussi’s path in the Clarets’ box, but the Norwegian saw his shot deflected behind Hart’s goal.

No sign of a European hangover

Burnley started the match with a real intensity, which suggests they were not suffering after their trip to Istanbul in Europa League qualifying on Thursday.

The Clarets, who made four changes after their stalemate in Turkey, enjoyed 58% possession in the first half, as Lennon forced McCarthy into an early save.

Saints failed to clear their lines as the former Everton forward latched onto the loose ball before firing at goal, but the Southampton keeper made himself big and kept it out.

The visitors continued to dominate the first half with 12 attempts on goal, but only four were on target.

Hendrick nearly headed Sean Dyche’s men in front in the final minutes of the half, after the ball fell kindly for the midfielder following Ben Mee’s acrobatic overhead kick. But McCarthy was equal to it, getting down low to his right to keep the scores level at the break.

Burnley started the second half in a similar fashion and McCarthy was called into action again as Stephen Ward was first to the second ball following a corner, but the Saints keeper showed good speed to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

Southampton grew into the game after introducing Ings and Elyounoussi, but Hart was in impressive form to deny Stephens, and Dyche will be buoyed by his side’s performance after three matches in the Europe.

Ings shows promise for ‘local’ club

Danny Ings making his debut for Southampton against his former club Burnley

Winchester-born Ings completed a deadline day loan move from Liverpool, which will become a permanent transfer next summer.

With Burnley still dominant, Saints manager Mark Hughes opted to introduce Ings in the second half and the 26-year-old was welcomed by a standing ovation from the home fans.

His arrival appeared to give the rest of the team a lift and the striker was quickly in the action. With the hosts beginning to build momentum, Ings arrived right on cue to meet a corner ahead of his marker, but his fierce effort flew over the bar.

As well as posing a threat to the opposition’s goal, Ings also showed signs of creativity as his well-weighted pass to the back post was almost converted by Stephens but Hart managed to turn the ball round the corner.

Hughes spoke very highly of Ings upon his return to the south coast, saying he had “admired” the former Bournemouth forward for some time.

And based on Sunday’s 40 minute showing, the Saints manager has lots to be optimistic about.

Man of the match – Alex McCarthy (Southampton)

Both goalkeepers performed well, but Alex McCarthy made three crucial saves to claim a clean sheet

What they said – ‘It is not easy to dominate away from home like we did’

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said: “In the first 70 minutes we could have turned that into all three points. I was pleased with how we played. Lots of good openings and passages of play and it’s not easy to dominate away from home like we did.

“A clean sheet away from home is always a good thing especially as they came back into it after a change of shape. You have to have a good mentality in the Premier League and we have a good balance of mentality and quality.”

Southampton manager Mark Hughes said: “I was a bit concerned that Burnley had more competitive games albeit a tough trip in Europe. We didn’t get them on the back foot and they had control in the first half and caused us problems. We changed it in the second half and controlled it. We had any number of chances to win the game.

“We got on the front foot, stopped them hitting balls into the channel and I thought Ings and Elyounoussi came on to good effect. You saw Danny’s clever play today, linking and retaining possession. He allowed us to move further up the field and that augurs well. We’re looking forward to getting him up to speed. He’s a little away from where he needs to be.”

Southampton striker Danny Ings said: “It meant a lot to play for Southampton. I’ve had such a tough time the last few years trying to break into a team that’s one of the best in Europe. It was time for a new challenge and I thought that coming home was the right move. The way we play football here suits me to the ground.”

What’s next?

Burnley return to Europa League action in the second leg of their third qualifying round against Istanbul Basaksehir on Thursday, 16 August (19:45 BST).

Southampton resume their Premier League campaign away to Everton on Saturday, 18 August (15:00 BST).


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