Shane Long scored a dramatic stoppage time winner to lead Southampton to a 1-0 FA Cup third round replay win at home against Championship side Norwich.
Long's scrappy 92nd minute effort set up a fourth round clash at home to Arsenal -- but the laboured performance did little to restore the fans' faith in under-pressure manager Claude Puel.
Southampton had no fewer than six home-grown players in their starting line-up, suggesting the future remains bright on the south coast.
Maya Yoshida continues to grow in stature with every appearance and has been the main beneficiary of captain Jose Fonte's spat with the board.
The match was watched by Southampton's lowest home gate of the season of just 13,517, with many stay-away fans saying they are voting with their feet against their style of play this season.
For 75 minutes Southampton did not lay a glove on a Norwich side waiting to be beaten, suggesting their recent run of four straight Premier League defeats has dented confidence.
If they play like this against Liverpool in the second leg of their EFL Cup semifinal against Liverpool next week, Wembley will remain a distant dream.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- Puel has taken tinkering to a new level by making 187 changes in his 32 games in charge. The team he picked should have been strong enough to beat Norwich's reserves, but his side's tepid approach will do little to ease criticism of the Frenchman's negative tactics. It took until the final 12 minutes for the Premier League side to get going and Puel did not do enough to influence things from the touchline.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Harry Lewis, 6 -- Puel kept faith in the teenager after his blunder gifted Norwich goal in the original tie. No danger of a repeat as he did not have to make a single save.
DF Cuco Martina, 6 -- Defensively solid but clumsy in possession. Offered very little going forward.
DF Maya Yoshida, 7 -- Donned the captain's armband in the absence of want-away Fonte and Virgil van Dijk and marshalled the side well.
DF Jack Stephens, 7 -- An assured performance from the academy ace to help nullify Norwich's limited attacking threats.
DF Sam McQueen, 8 -- Can count himself unfortunate thatRyan Bertrand is blocking the way to a regular first-team place. The lleft-back was Southampton's greatest attacking threat and set up the goal.
MF Harrison Reed, 5 -- Has not kicked on as Southampton would have liked. Does not look like a Premier League player.
MF Jordy Clasie, 6 -- Some neat touches but did not dominate the game as he should have against Championship opponents.
MF James Ward-Prowse, 6 -- Half the crowd thought he had scored a wonder goal with a free kick curler into the side-netting.
FW Josh Sims, 6 -- Standout performer in the first half when he looked like he could make something happen but could not get into it after the break.
MF Shane Long, 7 -- Saved us from the agony of watching another 30 minutes of extra-time with the late winner, only his second goal of the season.
FW Jay Rodriguez, 5 -- Starved of service, but struggled to impose himself on proceedings before being taken off.
FW Nathan Redmond, N/A -- Should have been called upon much earlier. Injected some much-needed vibrancy to the attack.
FW Oriol Romeu, N/A -- Helped Southampton get a foothold in midfield.