‘It’s a strength’ - Russell Martin pinpoints where Preston North End hurt Southampton in draw

Southampton snatched a point from Preston North End in the sixth minute of added time. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)Southampton snatched a point from Preston North End in the sixth minute of added time. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Southampton snatched a point from Preston North End in the sixth minute of added time. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Preston North End were denied a much-needed win against Southampton following the visitors’ 96th-minute equaliser at Deepdale

Southampton manager Russell Martin has identified Preston North End's key trait that resulted in his side drawing 2-2 at Deepdale.

The spoils were shared in Lancashire on Wednesday night as a 96th-minute own goal from Brad Potts salvaged a point for the Saints. Kyle Walker-Peters had opened the scoring for the visitors. But substitute Milutin Osmajic equalised on 52 minutes, before Potts put North End ahead three minutes later.

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"All of their chances came from set pieces and the second phase because we had to defend too many,” said Martin.

"It’s a strength of theirs with the size and power in their team. Gavin (Bazunu) was outstanding when called upon. He’s a brilliant young man with a great mentality. He shouldn’t concede two goals tonight, we have to help him. Nobody showed enough for him in the 10 minutes on either side of half-time."

Osmajic and Potts’ three-minute salvo was a key point in the game and it knocked Southampton off course. As pointed out, Preston troubled Saints from set-pieces and that is where one of their goals came from. Ben Whiteman's free-kick wasn't cleared properly and Osmajic was able to strike on the volley after the visitors failed to clear their lines.

A statistical view on the game saw Preston limited to just 28-per-cent possession. However, they registered only one less shot than their opponents. Meanwhile, Southampton played more than double the amount of passes than the hosts, but Preston took them off their stride a bit after the restart.

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The opposition boss admitted their game plan had to change to cope with the home side’s momentum. Martin added: “It’s frustrating that we’ve had to pretty much rely on a late goal to get a point, but I’m really happy with the way we’ve performed over the 90 minutes.

“It’s a dramatic one I know, but the two 10-minute periods either side of half-time have cost us in the end. We needed to defend our box much better, but when they scored twice pretty quickly it seemed to energise Preston and their fans and that didn’t help our situation.

"At the end of the first half, we conceded way too many set pieces because we weren’t brave enough to play. A couple of kicks long which we hadn’t done the whole game. We then carried that on into the second half and that wasn’t the message at half-time, so it’s the most frustrating thing in the world. We wobbled a little bit but even after a scare or whatever, you need to stick to the plan and the detail."

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