Nathan Tella scored his first senior goal for Southampton in their comfortable win over relegated Fulham. The 21-year-old came off the bench to net his side’s second while Fulham’s consolation came from 18-year-old Fabio Carvalho, his first goal for the club.
Southampton took the lead in the first half when Che Adams scored from a James Ward-Prowse free-kick, before Tella slotted home on the hour mark.
Just as Southampton looked to be cruising towards all three points Carvalho pulled one back for Fulham.
But less than 10 minutes later substitute Theo Walcott restored Southampton’s two-goal advantage with a clinical finish.
“I was very pleased with my side today, the guys showed a very good performance,” said the Southampton manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl.
“It’s just getting better and better and it’s not a coincidence that we’ve scored 10 goals in the last four home games. It is definitely part of our game that has developed since we have had more opportunities, more players coming back also.
“The subs had a brilliant impact, this is what you need sometimes in a tight game.”
With Fulham’s fate already sealed Scott Parker decided to give some of the players who had not featured significantly this season a chance, including a first senior start for Carvalho. Despite the pressure being off them, many of the same problems remained, especially in the final third, and they managed a paltry three shots on target.
Joachim Andersen was called into action in the 16th minute to clear the ball away from close to goal to prevent the Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino from tapping in the opener.
After a scrappy start, Southampton took the lead with the first shot on target when Adams fired home.
Carvalho had the chance to level the score when he was fed by Ivan Cavaleiro but he was unable to get power on the shot that was straight at Alex McCarthy.
Southampton had their second when Tella tapped the ball into the net soon after coming on. Stuart Armstrong drove forward before finding Walker-Peters, who played in the final ball for the youngster to score.
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Not to be outdone by Tella, Carvalho pulled one back in the 75th minute. He timed his run behind the backline before being played in by Bobby Decordova-Reid and then fired the ball in off the underside of the bar.
However, Walcott soon restored Southampton’s two-goal cushion when his deflected shot went past Areola, with Tella turning provider for his fellow substitute.
“It didn’t surprise me,” said Parker of Carvalho’s performance. “He’s in the team because we’re searching for goals.
“At under-23 level he scores goals and he’s shown in training that he can do that so he was in the team because he deserved to be in it.
“I’m delighted for him, there’s one shining bright light and that’s Fabio.”