Manager Russell Martin hailed super-sub Joe Rothwell after his quickfire double helped Southampton stay on track in the Championship promotion race after beating Sunderland 4-2.

Stuart Armstrong and Adam Armstrong had put Saints into a comfortable first-half lead before Romaine Mundle and Jobe Bellingham hit back.

But Rothwell’s 73rd-minute introduction turned the momentum with two goals in three minutes to condemn Sunderland to a sixth straight defeat.

Martin said: “Joe is an amazing finisher. The first one looks easy but it isn’t, it is in the half volley, and then with the second he’s showed great composure.

“He was really great when he came on. Him and Joe Aribo can be frustrated that they aren’t starting but they have two guys in front of them who have been playing really well.

“It is good problems for me but they have to keep doing what they have been doing when they get on to the pitch and being frustrated at not playing.

“We should have been out of sight by half-time is my feeling. We only let them have one shot from inside the box and that hit the post and we should have made them pay for that.

“I’m delighted we have won but am furious and frustrated we have conceded two goals because it shouldn’t happen.

“Credit to Sunderland as I thought they only had 15 minutes more of energy and then they score and we weren’t clean enough and there was a bit of tension around the ground.

“But I think we deserved the win, I don’t think anyone who watched the game would say any different.”

Stuart Armstrong opened the scoring by sweeping in from a yard before Geordie Adam Armstrong converted from the spot after Ryan Manning had been downed in the box.

Mundle pulled one back in the 62nd minute from 20 yards with a strike off a post and Bellingham completed the comeback with a wonder strike after shifting on to his right foot from the edge of the area to beat a diving Gavin Bazunu.

Rothwell then claimed the three points. His first came after Adam Armstrong’s blocked cross landed perfectly for him to follow in and lash home before Adam Armstrong’s low cross was cleared off the line and into the path of the Bournemouth loanee to pounce again.

Sunderland boss Mike Dodds is still winless since taking over from Michael Beale last month and said: “The four goals are avoidable goals from my perspective.

“I want to try and spin positives about going toe-to-toe with two quality teams this week but we need to do that more consistently and get the results – that isn’t lost on me.

“I can see everyone is really trying but things aren’t going our way. It is an important moment for this group and we need to stick together.

“My confidence hasn’t taken a hit. I’m really enjoying the role. It has reinforced that I can still see the path I want to go on and still see the belief in the players.

“They have lost six on the bounce. They aren’t skipping down the corridors or high-fiving each other. But I think they can see what we are trying to do.

“I’m not going to say we deserved to win the game but for large periods we were better than Southampton.”

Newcastle-born striker Adam Armstrong helped extend Sunderland’s losing run to six matches as Southampton’s 4-2 victory breathed new life into their Sky Bet Championship promotion push.

Armstrong, who played 21 times for the Magpies after coming through their youth set-up, converted a first-half penalty after Stuart Armstrong had already poked Saints ahead.

Romaine Mundle and Jobe Bellingham pulled it back to 2-2 but Joe Rothwell’s quick-fire brace off the bench – both with heavy Adam Armstrong influence – maintained Mike Dodds zero per cent record since taking over from Michael Beale.

Sunderland didn’t have a shot on target in the first half but could have led inside 90 seconds but Mason Burstow curled just wide.

Burstow would also shake a post from the most acute of angles but otherwise the hosts dominated and should have gone in better than their 2-0 lead.

David Brooks set the tone in the fourth minute when he was given plenty of time to get a shot away but could only fire wide.

The opener came five minutes later as Brooks clipped a ball to the back post and Bellingham headed back across his own goal under pressure to offer Jan Bednarek a free header. That was saved but only as far as Stuart Armstrong, who swept in from a yard.

It was the Scotland international’s first league goal since December and fourth of the season.

He almost had a second in the 19th minute when a clear shot was deflected behind before Che Adams couldn’t divert a low cross in and Brooks struck a free-kick straight at goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.

Saints’ second came in the 37th minute after Ryan Manning had his legs taken from under him by Leo Hjelde for a stonewall penalty.

Adam Armstrong converted, albeit with a slip which drew complaints of a double contact from the Black Cats, before celebrating in the corner where the away fans were situated.

But the momentum completely changed in the second half, specifically on a pair of double substitutions in the 58th minute.

Russell Martin’s withdrawal of Brooks and Will Smallbone didn’t work but Dodds’ introduction of Adil Aouchiche and Nazariy Rusyn was a masterstroke.

Rusyn had already blasted into the side-netting before Mundle pulled one back in the 62nd minute from 20 yards with a strike off a post.

Bellingham completed the comeback with a wonder strike after shifting on to his right foot from the edge of the area to beat a diving Gavin Bazunu.

But Saints rallied and another double swap reverted their fortunes as Rothwell turned things back around and James Bree shored things up.

Rothwell was in the right place at the right time twice in three minutes within seven minutes of being subbed on in the 73rd minute.

His first came after Adam Armstrong’s blocked cross landed perfectly for him to follow in and lash home before Adam Armstrong’s low delivery was cleared off the line and into the path of the Bournemouth loanee to pounce again.

Southampton boss Russell Martin joked about hating the basketball nature of his side’s breathless 5-3 Sky Bet Championship victory over Huddersfield at St Mary’s.

Saints trailed 2-0 and 3-2 and were looking at their 24-game unbeaten run ending before a manic second half ended up with the high-flying hosts claiming victory thanks to Joe Rothwell’s double, a Tom Lees own goal and late strikes from Sekou Mara and Samuel Edozie.

They might have kept their club-record run, and maintained second spot in the table, but master of perfection Martin was less enthralled by the “carnage” on view.

“I enjoyed the feeling at the end. That isn’t my kind of game. It was like basketball at one point, it was carnage,” he said.

“I love basketball but not on a big pitch.

“My immediate feeling is immense pride and gratitude towards the players and the supporters for the energy they showed.

“The conversation we had at half-time was about how it is never easy to play the way we want to play.

“To do what they are doing is incredible. Nobody should ever take that for granted. It takes immense work, courage and intensity. We lacked all of that in the first half.

“Then, to bring it back to 2-2, what a response. Then we got caught up in that emotion. To go 3-2 down and deal with that setback was incredible.

“I’m frustrated at the first half. I’m frustrated that we have conceded as many goals today as we have in our last 10 home games.

“But big credit to Huddersfield, I thought they were great. They came here with complete freedom. They deserved to be leading at half time, but we deserved to win it by the end of the game.

“We will take a lot from that second half, but we will also learn a lot from the first half. The gaps were too big and we lacked courage because what Huddersfield were doing to us.

“We got spooked for the first time in a long time. To overcome that in the way that we did was immense. I am so proud of them.”

Sorba Thomas’ 36th-minute opener saw Southampton trailing at home for the first time in almost 22 hours before David Kasumu gave the struggling visitors a 2-0 half-time lead.

However, Saints were level inside five minutes of the second half with Rothwell firing home a superb first-time volley before netting his second after being set up by fellow Bournemouth loanee David Brooks.

But the Terriers found a second wind to lead again through a heavily-deflected Alex Matos shot in the 65th minute, before Saints rallied once more to net three times in the last 10 minutes and claim a dramatic win.

Rothwell’s low centre saw Lees put through his own goal before Mara and Edozie completed the turnaround.

Interim Huddersfield boss Jon Worthington, who saw his side beat relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 in his first game in charge, said “I enjoyed the game. The lads gave everything I asked of them and followed the plan to a tee.

“There are loads of positives especially as a coach and from the way we played.

“I’m really proud. I believe in this group of players and they have trust in me and the staff to follow the game plan.

“We are disappointed with the result. I want to win games, and hate losing and so do the players.

“Loved the performance and the front four and that is how I think it should be played.

“At 2-0 up we didn’t want to sit back because that would be what Southampton wanted.”

Russell Martin’s half-time hairdryer set up Southampton’s second-half surge to send them to a 3-0 FA Cup replay win over Watford and a fifth-round clash with Liverpool.

Saints were dismal in the first half before Sekou Mara bagged a brace of well-hit strikes and Che Adams secured a 24th game unbeaten for the Championship promotion hunters.

“I wasn’t happy with the first half and told the players that,” said Martin.

“It is the first time in some time I have done that. My throat was a little bit sore.

“The team is built on being really brave with the ball but really aggressive without and we lacked aggression.

“We were just a bit too nice, we’ve been horrible to play against for a while but we weren’t in the first half.

“At half-time it was about mentality and energy. Second half we were relentless and could have scored one or two more.”

Adams diverted a ball through to Mara and the Frenchman sent Daniel Bachmann the wrong way to finish at the near post and get Saints moving in the 52nd minute.

Six minutes later, Mara bagged his fifth goal of the season when he emphatically finished a counter-attack by thumping into the near post again, this time from outside the box.

Adams finally got the goal his persistence deserved when he calmly diverted Joe Rothwell’s sumptuous free-kick from the left flank past substitute Ben Hamer.

Saints could have made it a wider margin when Samuel Edozie and Sam Amo-Ameyaw struck the post.

The reward is a trip to Anfield, something to which Martin is looking forward.

“It will be exciting, it will be brilliant but we have five games before then,” he said.

“It is a great place to play football and to play against one of the best managers in the world in his last season there will be amazing.

“It holds a special place for me because I scored there on the day my son was born, probably the only point we ever took at Anfield in a fair few visits.”

Watford boss Valerien Ismael said: “It was disappointing, for sure.

“After the first half we were actually in the game. We knew coming here against a team with a lot of confidence and haven’t lost a game in a long time, we knew we had to be strong and solid.

“We grew up in the game and created some situations and told the guys we needed to step up and push for more.

“But in the second half after the first goal we mentally dropped quickly and had tiredness. We started to make mistakes and it became difficult for us to come back into the game.”

Dominic Solanke came off the bench to send Bournemouth into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup after beating Championship side Stoke 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium.

Striker Solanke netted six minutes after coming on at half-time before Joe Rothwell’s free-kick burst through a crowded penalty area to settle the tie.

It sent the Cherries into the fourth round for the sixth time in 10 seasons, having only managed the feat twice in their first 54 attempts.

Bournemouth made eight changes from their 3-1 defeat to Brighton on Sunday in a week they play three games in seven days.

Stoke made six of their own, after losing to Hull, and all the alterations made for a first half full of misplaced passes, heavy touches and frustration from the stands.

Added to that, neither side had any kind of form to hold onto. The Potters are winless in five in the Championship while the Cherries have only beaten Swansea in the last round under Andoni Iraola.

It took until the 13th minute for either side to have a shot of note, when Milos Kerkez stung the palms of Stoke goalkeeper Jack Bonham with a fierce shot from inside the penalty box.

The crowd was finally sparked into life with eight minutes left in the first half as Bournemouth enjoyed some sustained pressure.

Dango Ouattara produced an outrageous flick to turn Ki-Jana Hoever and earn space in the box but his thrash towards goal was pushed behind.

At the other end, Stoke, who had pressed with good discipline, threatened as Jordan Thompson ended a fine move by curling over before Wesley failed to meet a low cross.

Iraola unsurprisingly wrung the changes at half-time with regulars Solanke and Ryan Christie brought on.

It only took six minutes for top scorer Solanke to find the net.

The former Liverpool forward controlled a low cross from Adam Smith before finishing with a neat swivel for his fourth goal of the season.

Three minutes later, the Cherries were in complete control when Rothwell’s free-kick from the left side of the box escaped everyone’s touch and bounced into the bottom corner.

It was the midfielder’s first goal since arriving from Blackburn before last season.

Christie forced Bonham into a good diving save with a dipping effort from outside the box while Nathan Lowe’s acrobatic effort and Sol Sidibe’s flash across goal in stoppage time couldn’t set up a grandstand finish for Stoke.

The only sour note of the second half for Bournemouth was Solanke’s withdrawal five minutes from time having picked up a knock.

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