REPORT: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
Saints cruised to their seventh home league win of the season with a fully deserved four goal win over the Magpies at St Mary’s.
It was another day that Southampton’s England stars shined in, as three different goal scorers strengthened their claims for Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad this summer, with Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana all on target for the hosts.
After a dominant 45 minutes, Saints got the breakthrough goal they warranted on the stroke of the interval when Rodriguez tapped in his first of two goals in the game by converting Lambert’s pass to ease the tension that had built up by not finding a way past the visitors.
If Saints felt that their good work hadn’t been recognised by the scoreline, then the team and the supporters were in for a second half treat as the home side asserted their control in fine fashion to run out convincing winners.
Lambert struck on 50 minutes to make it a long way back for the Geordies, but the gloss was really added to the win by further goals from Lallana and Rodriguez, with the former’s strike an incredible finish from 30 yards which capped a terrific day all-round for Saints.
Newcastle, who had lost each game they have conceded the first goal in away from home this season, were second best all game, as Saints leapfrogged the Magpies into eighth place in the Barclays Premier League table where they sit just four points shy of the 52 that secured that same position in 2002/03.
Mauricio Pochettino made one change to the team that started the loss at Spurs. Nathaniel Clyne missed out through injury, so Calum Chambers was restored at right back in the side.
Morgan Schneiderlin returned to the squad after missing out last weekend with knock, but he started this game on the bench alongside Saints Academy graduates Harrison Reed and Sam Gallagher.
Saints got the game underway, attacking the Northam stand on a bright and sunny afternoon inside St Mary’s, with Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana taking the game’s first touches on halfway.
Newcastle lined up in their changed strip of yellow shirts and blue shorts, and started the contest with a high line to try and combat a fast start from the hosts who had to gently probe for their first opening of the game as they attacked the goal which was exposed to the sunlight in the opening 45 minutes.
With three minutes on the watch, Lambert held the ball up on the edge of the Newcastle area before playing the ball into Steven Davis, whose neat interchange with Lallana resulted with the skipper earning his side a corner.
Saints’ early movement with the ball was easy-on-the-eye, but it was from a more direct approach that their next opportunity came. Lovren’s long diagonal pass picked out the run of Jay Rodriguez, who beat the last defender, but with the angle against him, the striker put his shot just wide of the near post as the ball stroked the side-netting.
Rodriguez crept a little closer to the target with his next chance on eleven minutes when he got on the end of Chambers’ deep cross to the far post, but this time the header from the frontman crashed straight into the side-netting from six yards out.
The left side of Rob Elliot’s goal continued to take a battering as Saints made all of the early running in their opponent’s half.
A marvellous piece of trickery from Lallana created the chance for Lambert to cross for Rodriguez, whose header was tipped away by Elliot at the left post, before James Ward-Prowse was the next man to strike the side-netting with a low strike from the edge of the area.
On the quarter hour, Elliot was at his best to deny Lambert from taking full advantage of Steven Davis’s through-ball which the striker beat Massadio Haidara to, but his clipped effort was batted away by the Newcastle goalkeeper, who preserved his team’s clean sheet a little longer.
Two minutes later, a different approach led by Lambert’s long pass picked out Chambers inside the area, and the full-back’s header across goal picked out Lallana, who this time headed wide of the right post, with that the clearest of the chances to have come the way of the home side.
On 19, former Saint Mike Williamson put Chambers’ low cross out for a corner, but the resulting set piece from Ward-Prowse was headed over by Lovren, who couldn’t adjust himself properly to land his effort on target.
Elliot was worked moments later though when Gouffran’s loose pass gave the ball to Rodriguez, who in turn laid it into the path of Lambert, and this time the Newcastle keeper pushed the ball behind for a corner.
Rodriguez flashed another shot narrowly wide of the right post as Saints’ early dominance remained unrewarded, and the striker was again close to finding the target in 27 when he clipped Shaw’s cross just wide of the far post.
From another corner, Saints caught Newcastle flapping, with Elliot missing his catch and the ball cleared only as far as Lambert, who with the angle very much against him, lifted the ball back towards the goal, only for it to land on the top of the net.
After an impressive opening half an hour from the hosts, the game fell into a lull, with the intensity dropping off a notch, but Saints maintained their superiority in the middle of the park.
Playing in a more direct style through the centre made Newcastle sit even deeper, but it was from the flanks again where Saints were to get their next chance, as Elliot produced a magnificent close range save. It was from Lambert’s header back across goal which found Rodriguez, whose diving header from eight yards was brilliantly clawed away by the Geordies glovesman.
Just when it appeared that the game was going to be goalless heading into the break, the 45 minutes of pressure eventually told on the stroke of half-time. Davis’s ball over the top on the right picked out Lambert on the right, and the striker unselfishly played the ball across to RODRIGUEZ who this time, from six yards out beat Elliot at his near post for his 16th goal of the season.
With only one minute of stoppage time played, Saints were cheered into the half-time break with their one goal lead intact.
HALF-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 1-0 NEWCASTLE
Newcastle made a double substitution t the break with both Davide Santon and Luuk de Jong entering the action in place of Yanga-Mbiwa and Ben Arfa respectively.
And within five minutes of the restart, Saints doubled their lead. An especially naïve piece of defending from Santon saw him leave Lallana’s cross at the far post, and the ball fell to LAMBERT who made no mistake from six yards out by finding the roof of the net at the near post for 2-0.
The early second goal felt as though it was further reward for Saints’ first half endeavour, but they were keen to show lessons had been learned from recent matches, by protecting the advantage they had given themselves.
Opponents Newcastle offered a rare bit of hope when Sissoko got to the byline to flash a low cross into the six yard area, but no-one in a yellow shirt was alert to turn the ball in from close range, as the visitors struggled in their opponent’s half just as much as they had in their own.
Elliot caught a hanging cross from Steven Davis from under his own crossbar, before there was a lengthy stoppage whilst Calum Chambers received treatment for a knock sustained on the right touchline.
When play resumed, Haidara won a corner for the visitors, but Saints cleared their lines with little difficulty. A couple of further corners went the way of the visitors, with the latter conceded by Shaw as he came back onto the pitch after receiving treatment for an ankle knock.
The Magpies grew into the game a little from there, but Saints still looked the more likely to threaten, and they sealed their win with a third goal of real quality.
Brilliant determination from Cork ensured that Saints held the ball in the Newcastle half, where LALLANA picked the ball up 35 yards from goal, advanced forward a few feet, before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top right corner for 3-0 on 70 minutes.
Newcastle tested Saints’ resolve when Cisse burst into the box to shoot low at Boruc, who pushed the ball out for a corner. From the resulting set piece, the ball worked its way out to Tiote, and the shot from the midfielder flew well wide.
Saints brought Morgan Schneiderlin onto replace Steven Davis in the 72nd minute, and moments later, Saints were inches away from increasing their lead even further.
Lambert’s cross from the right found Rodriguez who headed onto the post and from the follow-up Ward-Prowse’s shot was pushed away for a corner as somehow the ball stayed out of the net.
The Magpies made their final change when defender Paul Dummett replaced Sissoko with 12 minutes remaining, as the visitors sought damage limitation in the game’s closing stages.
Saints were still on top though, with Lallana twisting and turning his way through to set up Rodriguez for a header at the far post which was deflected out for a corner which Lovren headed over from four yards out.
Gaston Ramirez was Saints’ second substitution with the Uruguayan playmaker making an 83rd minute appearance in place of Lambert to keep the frontline fresh.
Rodriguez tested Elliot from range after Schneiderlin had won possession in the Newcastle half, and the frontman was not to be denied a second goal of the game late on when RODRIGUEZ collected Ramirez's pass to slam home through the legs of the goalkeeper for 4-0.
Sam Gallagher replaced Lallana as four minute of stoppage time were added on, with celebrations well underway by that point on an enjoyable afternoon at St Mary’s.
FULL-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 4-0 NEWCASTLE
Southampton team: Artur Boruc, Calum Chambers, Jose Fonte, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, Jack Cork, Steven Davis (Morgan Schneiderlin 72), James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana (c) (Sam Gallagher 90), Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert (Gaston Ramirez 83)
Unused substitutes: Paulo Gazzaniga, Guly do Prado, Jos Hooiveld, Harrison Reed
Goals: Rodriguez, 45 & 89; Lambert, 50; Lallana, 70
Newcastle team: Rob Elliot, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Michael Williamson, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Davide Santon 46), Vurnon Anita, Cheick Tiote, Moussa Sissoko (Paul Dummett 78), Hatem Ben Arfa (Luuk De Jong 46), Yoan Gouffran, Papiss Cisse
Unused substitutes: Jak Alnwick, Dan Gosling, Shola Ameobi, Steven Taylor
Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: 31, 360 (including 2,187 away)