Impressive Saints sink Tykes

Southampton extended their club-record run of consecutive league victories to eight with an impressive 1-0 victory over Barnsley at Oakwell.

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Connolly (left): Close-range header earned Saints victory

Connolly (left): Close-range header earned Saints victory

Saturday's Championship win for Saints is the first time they have won their opening two league games for 23 years.

Veteran striker David Connolly's close-range header on the half-hour mark was enough to secure victory for Nigel Adkins' men, who survived a late Barnsley rally after substitute Richard Chaplow was sent off on 84 minutes for a rash challenge on Jay McEveley.

The result means Keith Hill's side are yet to score a goal or win a game this season.

Scott Wiseman, Nathan Doyle and David Perkins all returned to the Barnsley starting line-up after being rested for the Carling Cup in midweek.

Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, skipper Dean Hammond, fellow midfielders Adam Lallana and Jack Cork, and striker David Connolly all returned to Southampton's side having also been rested during the week.

Southampton began the brighter of the two sides. Barnsley struggled to get into any sort of rhythm, much to the home fans frustration as lone striker Craig Davies found himself isolated for the majority of the first-half.

Much of the Saints' good work came through Adam Lallana, who was drifting in from the right-wing to great effect. He should have opened the scoring midway through the first-half, but his delayed shot was well blocked by Jimmy McNulty.

The visitors eventually took the lead on the half-hour mark, the 34-year-old Connolly taking advantage of poor Barnsley defending and hesitant goalkeeping from David Preece to head home from close-range, his second goal of the season.

Connolly almost doubled his side's lead minutes later, but could only drag his effort wide of Preece's post.

The Barnsley players were fortunate to go in at half-time with only a one goal deficit and their supporters voiced their disapproval, causing Tykes boss Allen to shuffle his side at the interval, moving Danny Haynes to partner Davies in attack.

The switch paid almost immediate dividends, but the former Ipswich striker's tame effort was easily saved by Southampton goalkeeper Davis.

The change in tactics failed to make any significant difference to the game however, as Southampton dazzled their opponents with their swift passing and moving. Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Ricardo Vaz Te, introduced for the home side, struggled to see the ball as Southampton became content to retain possession. Indeed, the visitors should have put the game beyond doubt with eight minutes to go, but Lallana's scuffed effort failed to test Preece.

But the game changed with six minutes left when Southampton substitute Chaplow was dismissed, his studs up challenge to McEveley's midriff deservedly earning him a straight red card.

That sparked a late Barnsley flurry, who three times came within inches of snatching an injury-time equaliser. Vaz Te twice forced great saves from Davis, while Miles Addison's effort was somehow cleared off the line with the last kick of the game.

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Position Team P GD PTS
1 Leicester 43 36 93
2 Burnley 43 32 86
3 Derby 43 29 78
4 QPR 43 14 73
5 Wigan 42 17 70
6 Brighton 43 12 65
7 Reading 43 10 64
8 Ipswich 42 8 64
9 Bournemth 43 -1 62
10 Blackburn 43 3 61
11 N Forest 42 4 59
12 Middlesbro' 42 10 58
13 Watford 41 16 57
14 Bolton 43 -2 55
15 Sheff Wed 43 2 53
16 Leeds 42 -9 50
17 Huddersfld 43 -9 47
18 Birmingham 41 -10 43
19 Doncaster 43 -28 43
20 Charlton 42 -24 42
21 Blackpool 43 -27 42
22 Millwall 42 -30 40
23 Barnsley 42 -28 39
24 Yeovil 43 -25 37

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