Kieran Richardson made a bittersweet return to the Fulham team on Sunday afternoon when he notched his first goal for the Club, before Jose Fonte’s late header meant we had to settle for a point against Southampton.
Richardson was a second half replacement for Alexander Kačaniklić and provided a constant threat to the Saints’ backline, culminating in his 88th minute strike when he converted Sascha Riether’s clever cut-back.
“I thought my goal might have won it,” Kieran admitted to fulhamfc.com. “Sascha did well; he got down the right and cut it back – it was a great delivery. And if the likes of him can get balls like that in the box then I’ll score goals; that’s what I want to do.
“I’ve got mixed emotions really. We’re disappointed we didn't come away with the three points. I thought we played very well second half and everyone in the changing room was gobsmacked that we didn’t get the win. But it wasn’t to be, we’ll take a point away from home and in our next home match [against Aston Villa] we’ll try and kick on and get all the points.”
Southampton’s late equaliser came in controversial circumstances. Fonte headed in after the home side were awarded a free-kick for a foul by Richardson, mere seconds after referee Mark Clattenburg failed to spot a high challenge on Giorgos Karagounis by Maya Yoshida.
“I’m a bit disappointed with the equaliser,” Kieran said. “I gave away the free-kick which they scored from but I was a bit frustrated because we should have had a free-kick a few seconds before for a foul on Giorgos. Someone of my experience should have dealt with the situation better.”
Sunday’s substitute appearance was Kieran’s first run-out for the Whites since his debut against West Ham United over a month ago – a match where he admitted he didn’t do himself justice – and the winger hopes his cameo against Southampton went some way to making amends.
“I wasn’t happy after my first game,” he explained. “But that’s just me, I always strive to be as good as I can be and my standard was below par that day. Hopefully I’ll get my first home start against Villa and put things right.”
To suffer injury so soon after joining a new club is a nightmare for any player, but Richardson paid tribute to Fulham’s medical staff following his return to the First Team fold.
“I’m slowly getting there,” he said. “The fitness coaches have been working with me over the last few weeks and they’ve been top drawer. Hopefully by the time of the Aston Villa game I’ll be fully up to speed.
“It was frustrating [being injured] but we’ve got great physios here and a great rehab team and they’ve been tremendous for me. When I came on against Southampton I felt sharp and that’s all credit to them.”