Saints Win At Hull
Southampton travelled north to face Hull City in their Yorkshire stronghold in hopeful mood as they tried to extend their unbeaten run.
Saints were ten games undefeated but hosts Hull were themselves in the middle of a good run having gone eleven games since their last defeat.
The game began brightly with both sides trying to play open football and using the full width of the pitch. With Hull playing with width it didn't take long for Saints to find a way through and the first chance fell to Rickie Lambert after some good work from Guly who crossed for Lambert to send a powerful header downwards towards goal. Hull keeper Vito Mannone made a stupendous save to keep us at bay.
Moments later, Saints went close again when Fox got down the left side and cut the ball across to Lallana, whose shot again was again pushed away by the Hull stopper on his line. The game was open and next it was Kelvin Davis who had to make a save from a low drive by Josh King.
The breakthrough for Saints came after a teasing ball out to Fox led to him crossing for Lambert only to see the ball put into his own net by Hull defender Jack Hobbs. Good start for Saints and they led 1-0 much to the 600 odd fans congregated behind the Saints goal.
Two minutes later and Saints should have gone two up. Jack Cork put Lallana through one on one with Mannone and after going round him with the goal gaping he somehow managed to poke the ball wide. A massive relief for Hull and one which kept them in hope of getting back in the game.
Hull retaliated with a shot from Robert Koren, and then with a rasping drive from King which clipped the crossbar as it flew. Davis stood rooted to the spot well beaten.
Chances were being made at both ends but Hull were beginning to ind it difficult as Lallana and Cork were dictating play for the most part. Ten minutes from half-time they did get another gilt edged chance but Robbie Brady screwed his shot after some great work on the wing from King.
Steve De Ridder came on in place of Guly do Prado shortly after the second half began and quickly antagonized the referee earning himself a booking. After that he then made a couple of speedy runs down the flank before crossing but neither cross came to any effect.
The game was going through a period where neither side seemed capable of holding on to the ball. During this period Lallana was fouled just inside the Hull half, and from the resulting free kick Saints struck their second goal of the night. Puncheon's free kick was met by Jose Fonte who saw his low shot poked home by his central defensive partner Jos Hooiveldt.
The Saints were leading by two goals and Nigel Adkins soon made another change with Dean Hammond replacing Jason Puncheon. Hull were now making a serious effort to find a way through but Saints were holding firm. As the clock began to run down Kelvin Davis made a good save from King before being called upon to make the save of the match from a Tom Cairney wonder strike from range.
A final save from a Cameron Stewart effort and the game was over and we had won the three points. The performance was dogged rather than fluid and the workman like manner of the win was pleasing as we made it four away wins on the trot.
Not bad for a team that couldn't get anything away not so long ago and was the one feature likely to spoil our promotion chase.
An excellent three points which were made to look even better after hearing other results involving promotion seeking rivals.
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Nigel Adkins - 8
Nigel seems to be able to make the right choices more often than not and again chose his team well.
Nick Barmby - 7
Set his team up well enough but our superior strike power was always going to enable us to gain the win.