Southampton 1, Norwich City 1

A goal from Robert Snodgrass extended Norwich City's unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions – and left Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga red-faced in the process.

Snodgrass struck with his second of the season in the final minute of the first half at St Mary's Stadium when his low free-kick slipped through the keeper's hands.

The Saints had led for just 12 minutes thanks to Rickie Lambert's sixth goal of the season, when he scored from a free-kick by skipper Adam Lallana, though the Canaries were appealing for handball.

It was another valuable point for Chris Hughton's men, now without defeat in seven Premier League matches, and a welcome boost after the latest injury bulletin on 'keeper John Ruddy.

The much-publicised return of referee Mark Clattenburg was overshadowed, at least from a Norwich perspective, by the bombshell news before kick-off that Ruddy will be out for up to three months as he faces surgery on a torn thigh muscle.

It meant Mark Bunn's first start for City in the Premier League, the only change to the eleven who started the 1-1 draw at Everton.

Declan Rudd stepped up to the bench as substitute 'keeper, while Russell Martin replaced Marc Tierney on the bench one month after his last outing at Aston Villa, when he was replaced at half-time with a back problem.

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Southampton were unchanged after their 2-0 home win over Newcastle and looking for their third successive victory.

City forced the first corner of the game and after it was played short, Snodgrass played a one-two with Anthony Pilkington and struck a crisp left-footer that keeper Paulo Gazzaniga grabbed above his head. There were half-hearted appeals for a penalty for Saints when Sebastien Bassong steered Lallana away from Bunn.

Southampton were on top in the opening minutes as Jason Puncheon had a shot blocked by Ryan Bennett, with the Canaries struggling to get out of their own half. When they did begin to push forward, they had opportunities to get crosses in, but Snodgrass delivered a poor free-kick and an even worse corner in quick succession, and Pilkington curled another free-kick and cross straight into touch.

Saints went close after 24 minutes when Lambert's raking cross from the right was met with a stunning volley by Lallana that just cleared the bar. And the hosts moved ahead on 33 minutes when Lambert fired home from close range for his sixth goal of the season – with City appealing for handball.

A foul by Snodgrass on Luke Shaw gave the Saints a free-kick wide on the left and as Lallana floated the ball towards the six-yard box, it appeared to strike Lambert on the arm as he got between Grant Holt and Javier Garrido before shooting past Bunn.

A body check by Garrido on Puncheon, which earned him a word from the official, gave Saints another free-kick and Gaston Ramirez curled it a fraction wide of Bunn's right-hand post.

On the stroke of half-time, however, City drew level through Snodgrass, his second goal of the season – helped by a horrible error by the home keeper.

A foul by Nathaniel Clyne on Snodgrass on the corner of the Saints area earned another free-kick, which the winger drilled low, left-footed through a clutch of players, with Gazzaniga making a terrible blunder as the ball went straight through his hands as he dived.

• Half-time: Southampton 1, Norwich City 1

Clattenburg was booed on his return to the field in the second half, as he had been for much of the evening by the home crowd.

Soon after the break, City were grateful twice to Ryan Bennett as first he cut out a cross from Clyne into the six-yard box, then dealt with a centre by Lallana after some deft footwork by the Saints' skipper.

The Canaries should have done better after 57 minutes when Alex Tettey sent Snodgrass away and his low cross into the area went begging as Hoolahan failed to move on to it.

City enjoyed a purple patch in the second half with Pilkington foiled by a Clyne tackle, Hoolahan shooting wide, and Holt's header from a Snodgrass corner striking the keeper.

Puncheon brought the best save yet out of Bunn when he turned Garrido and struck a powerful left-footer that the keeper dived to parry.

Lallana volleyed over as the Saints pressed again, and Puncheon wriggled deep into City territory before Bunn cut out his centre. Ryan Bennett was booked for a clear body check on Ramirez, but he did well again to block a shot from the ever-willing Puncheon.

With nine minutes left, Holt unhappily made way for Steve Morison in the first substitution of the night, and Morison's first act was to head over from a Garrido cross.

Lambert fired over from a cross by Jack Cork as the Saints looked for a late winner.

Ryan Bennett made a timely clearance from Ramirez to complete a good evening's work.

His namesake, Elliott Bennett, replaced goalscorer Snodgrass with two minutes left.

As the game entered the final minute, Hoolahan broke through the middle but his shot was blocked by Maya Yoshida.

Jonny Howson was introduced during four minutes of stoppage time but too late to make an impact.

• Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw (Reeves, 85), Cork, Schneiderlin, Puncheon (Rodriguez, 88), Ramirez, Lallana, Lambert. Subs (not used): Davis, Hooiveld, Davis, Do Prado, Mayuka.

• Norwich City: Bunn, Garrido, Bassong, R Bennett, Whittaker, Johnson, Tettey, Pilkington, Snodgrass (E Bennett, 88), Hoolahan (Howson, 90), Holt (Morison, 81). Subs not used: Rudd, R Martin, Jackson, Barnett

• Goals: Southampton: Lambert (32). City: Snodgrass (45)

• Bookings: Southampton: Clyne (44). City: R Bennett (75)

• Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

• Attendance: 29,325 (1,912 away fans)