Che Adams continued his fine form to help fire Southampton to all three points in a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Norwich.
Southampton dominated the opening stages of the game but struggled to break down a deep-lying Norwich defence, failing to create a clear-cut chance early on.
The hosts’ best chance of the half came when a James Ward-Prowse cross dropped in front of goal for Mohamed Elyounoussi to pounce on, but he struck it straight at Canaries ‘keeper Angus Gunn.
Saints continued to produce wave after wave of attack, and finally found their way through ten minutes before the break thanks to the resilient Adams. Valentino Livramento delivered a cross towards the goal-mouth where Adams made a run, and after Gunn managed to get a foot to it, Adams pounced on the rebound to poke Southampton ahead.
Both sides had chances to add to the scoreline in the second half, and Saints made the game safe when Oriol Romeu fired home from the edge of the box with two minutes left on the clock.
Norwich remain bottom with 17 points from 26 games.
TALKING POINT – NORWICH ARE IN BIG TROUBLE
They didn’t just lose, but they looked so unconvincing. They defended quite well in the opening exchanges and kept Saints at bay for the majority of the first period, but they were probably lucky to go in at the break just one-nil down after Southampton missed a hatful of good chances.
They have a goal difference of -39 after the game, and hardly threatened Fraser Forster’s goal all evening. Six weeks ago they put on a dominant display at Vicarage Road, beating Watford 3-0 for a brief flurry outside of the drop-zone and shake up the relegation battle, but they looked like a different outfit at St Mary’s. They remain rock-bottom – five points from safety – and unless they pull something seriously impressive out the bag, they’ll be playing Championship football next season.
MAN OF THE MATCH – STUART ARMSTRONG (SOUTHAMPTON)
After a string of injuries, Stuart Armstrong looked back to his best. On another day he could have taken home the match ball with the chances he made for himself, but if he continues his good form the goals will surely start to materialise.
He proved a constant threat down the left-hand side and gave Brandon Williams one or two things to think about as the driving force of the majority of Saints attacks.
SOUTHAMPTON: Forster 6, Livramento 7, Bednarek 6, Salisu 7, Walker-Peters 7, Romeu 8, Ward-Prowse 7, Armstrong 8, Elyounoussi 7, Broja 5, Adams 7 Subs: Stephens 6, Djenepo N/A, Long N/A
NORWICH: Gunn 7, Gibson 5, Williams 6, Aarons 4, Hanley 5, Normann 5, McLean 6, Gilmour 3, Rashica 4, Sargent 4, Pukki 6 Subs: Rupp 5, Lees-Melou 5, Dowell 5
35 – HUGE CHANCE SOUTHAMPTON! Ward-Prowse delivers a cross which comes off the head of Broja and drops for Elyounoussi in front of goal, but he hits it straight at Gunn!
36’ – GOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 1-0 NORWICH (ADAMS): It’s scrappy, but Southampton won’t care! Valentino Livramento delivers a cross towards the goal-mouth where Adams is making a run, and after Gunn gets a foot to it, Adams pounces on the rebound.
58’ – HALF A CHANCE FOR NORWICH! There’s a mix up between Bednarek and Salisu at the back and Pukki is on to them. He picks up the loose ball and looks to thread a pass through but his pass is poor, and in frustration at himself losing the ball gets booked.
88’ – GOAL! SOUTHAMPTON 2-0 NORWICH (ROMEU): What a strike! He absolutely hammers in a rebound from a corner. No chance for Gunn, what a finish!