The travelling Sunderland fans are delighted. Thank you for joining me and please do so again.
It is difficult to say that Sunderland do not deserve their victory, as they were resolute and limited Southampton to half-chances. Southampton fans will have expected to win this afternoon, and the side's performance was not up to scratch.
That's full time. 1-0 to Sunderland it finishes.
Guly fires wide and wins a corner. Just looked like a poor effort to me
Wonderful block from Campbell from Ramirez. Fantastic effort
Sunderland still defending the high ball brilliantly
We will have four extra minutes
Clyne blazes over from 30 yards, really poor decision making from the youngster
Sessegnon off for David Vaughan
Southampton have been forced into pushing the ball up to Rickie Lambert, and the striker wins a corner.
Sessegnon is caught offside for Sunderland, which causes the crowd to urge their side forward for the push for an equaliser. The players, again, fail to respond with fluid passing
Sunderland are actually on the attack more than their hosts, which is incredibly frustrating for Nigel Adkins
Lambert Fouls O'Shea, and Southampton move into the last ten mintues without yet creating a golden opportunity
Puncheon replaced by Guly
Phil Bardsley booked for a poor challenge from behind on De Ridder
Kelvin Davis saves a Gardner free kick, and the ball almost does a 'Taibi' and creeps through the legs of the keeper. He smiles in relief!
Johnson replaced by Campbell. Johnson looks to have a knock
Have to say, Gaston Ramirez has not looked a £12million player this afternoon. Often wasteful in possession
Puncheon breaks through, but typically of his side so far today just lacks conviction when in a dangerous area
The rain is absolutely teaming down, the worst of the game so far. It's just making things even more difficult
Phil Bardsley back from injury, replacing Larsson
Southampton's delivery is really grating now. Everytime they get a good opportunity it is wasted
Adam Johnson booked for tugging back the Southampton man
Sunderland look so resilient here, nothing like a side that has struggled so much. Simply challenging Southampton to be inventive enough to score
This will be a real setback for Nigel Adkins if Southampton were to lose this after such a fine run
Fonte's header was actually going wide, which is fairly unforgiveable given the distance out
Finally a great delivery from De Ridder, and Fonte's header is cleared off the line
Another poor set piece delivery from Southampton, that has been a real disappointment so far
Schneiderlin off for Steven Davis for Southampton, their second change
With the pressure from supporters, Southampton's defenders are resorting to lumping the ball up the field somewhat. This game has really dropped in quality since the break
The crowd are really starting to get grumpy at St Mary's, with yet another pass being put out of play by the home team
De Ridder on for Mayuka for Southampton. It is De Ridder's Premier League debut
Sunderland's set pieces quality has been far higher than their hosts today, Larsson and Johnson putting balls right under the Saints crossbar
Sessegnon wins another corner, and it looks like Southampton will make a change shortly
From the corner, Johnson curls the ball comfortably over the bar. Sunderland look better during this second half
Sterling work from Johnson earns Sunderland a corner
Sloppy from Southampton. A couple of poor passes allows Sunderland to break, although danger is averted
Cross-shot from Gardner almost falls at the feet of Fletcher once again
The second half seems to have continued as the first finished, dominating posession bu not seemingly creating
Southampton really need to get players closer to Lambert during this second half
Lambert shoots from 30 yards but the ball flies over
Back underway here...
Fletcher's eighth goal of the season has put the hosts under pressure, with Southampton now 5/1 to turn this game around and win. Fletcher is 8/1 to score the next goal, while Sky Bet go 3/1 that there will be no more goals.
We reach the break. Southampton have had the possession and the territory, but just haven't created enough clear-cut chances. Sunderland, and Steven Fletcher, took theirs and they hold the lead. Join me in fifteen minutes for the second 45.
Seb Larsson is booked for dissent
Sunderland do not deserve their lead, but they have been solid in defence and have taken their first chance since the first minute
Steven Fletcher is just a goal magnet isn't he. Just where would they be without him? A missed shot from Sessegnon falls to the striker who finishes nicely with his left foot.
Goal for Sunderland!!! And it's that man Fletcher
Mayuka breaks the offside trap and cuts it back to Cork, but again Sunderland block the ball. They have shown great resilience so far
The Sunderland striker is holding his back once again. The injury forced him off at half-time last week
Fletcher wins a free kick for Sunderland, thirty yards out
Lambert hasn't had much of a kick so far today, but the striker gets through on goal, only to be tackled by a fantastic challenge from Cuellar
Cross from Gardner, which no Sunderland player gambles enough to reach. This game is meandering slightly towards the break
Steven Fletcher looks to be struggling, which is bad news for Sunderland and their manager.
As if to emphasise the point, Puncheon breaks beautifully but then passes the ball away under no pressure
The gae has lost a touch of its initial fizz, neither side able to create anything inside the box
Despite Southampton's possession, Sunderland are defending proficiently, dealign with crosses intot he box with ease
Southampton are beginning to dominant in this game without creating anythign gilt-edged, enjoying the majority of possession
Another shot from distance from Ramirez, who has begun to drift infield, but it curls comfortably over the bar.
A silly foul from Ramirez with Adam Johnson cornered in defence. A real bugbear of mine
Shot from Ramirez is parried by Mignolet, although perhaps Mayuka was in a better position
Sunderland are now resorting to a more direct ball out of defence, whilst Southampton are looking to use Puncheon and Ramirez on the wings
McClean again forces Davis into a comfortable diving save. Nothing wrong with attempts on a slippery day such as this
Snapshot for Steven Fletcher from a Gardner cross, but it is well wide. At the other end, Mayuka marks his full debut with a tame shot at Mignolet
Shot from Larsson which is comfortable for Davis. Nice move from a corner though
Danny Rose looks to attack down the left. O'Neill will want him to test out full back Clyne
Southampton may be a passing side, but they are not allergic to some real hard work when chasing the ball. They are forcing sudnerland to make a couple of mistakes in midfield
Mayuka wins a free kick for the Saints on the edge of the box. Lambert fires the ball just wide after a deflection off a defender
Sunderland taking the chance to take the sting out of the game by passing the ball around the back. They will have to use McClean and Johnson on the wings to look for success
Really bright start from the Saints after the early scare
Jason Puncheon makes a jinking run into the area, but Danny Rose repels him
It is absolutely teaming it down with rain, passes will need to be measured
Puncheon scuffs a shot wide from outside the area. Could have taken a touch there
The corner is cleared. Replays show just how good that save was from Davis. World class
Brillaint save by Kelvin Davis from Sessegnon. Fantastic fingertip reactions
Howard Webb gets us underway...
One important thing to note is the congratulations in order for the travelling Sunderland fans. Over 2,000 have made the 300+ miles journey
You will not be surprised to hear that it is pouring with rain on the South Coast, although the area has possibly received less of a dousing than some areas of the land
Wigan have just been defeated 1-0 by Arsenal at the DW, which means that neither of these sides can reach Christmas in the relegation zone. A smal mercy.
Sunderland, meanwhile, have won two of their last thirteen in the league and have won just one of their last fourteen away from home, a run stretching back to February
Although the two sides sit in similar league positions, they are in very different form. Southampton have lost just one of their last six, including eight points from four home games.
Joe Copeland is being optimistic on both the goals and Sudnerland front: "sunderland to win 3-2 fletcher brace and mcClean to grab the winner. Ha way the lads!"
A reminder to get your predictions and thoughts on the game sent in to @danielstorey85 as we now have less than half an hour until kick off
No-one wants to hear talk of a 0-0 do they, not on a msierable day such as this. So wrap up warm, keep up-to-date and wait for the goals to keep my fingertips red hot.
Southampton are Evens to inflict more misery on Sunderland, who are 5/2 to snatch an away win, while the draw looks good value at 13/5. Rickie Lambert is the favourite to score first (5/1) but Black Cats fans may fancy the look of Fletcher to get their first at 7/1. Of the correct score market, 0-0 is by no means a bad shout with odds of 10/1 available with Sky Bet.
Check out the advice from people much wiser than me on such matters:
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Rose, O'Shea (c), Cuellar, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher Subs: Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Bramble, Westwood
Southampton: K. Davis, Clyne, Fonte (c), Yoshida, Shaw, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Ramírez, Lambert, Mayuka. Subs: Boruc (GK), S. Davis, Rodriguez, Guly, Richardson, De Ridder
We have the team news for you:
Firstly a touch of housekeeping - get in touch with me on Twitter @danielstorey85 with your thoughts and predictions. The best will be published. Meanwhile, I promise not to use too many festive puns
The match sees the two teams directly outside the relegation zone face each other, and a win for either would be beautiful little Christmas gift
Good afternoon, and welcome to our live commentary from St Mary's where Southampton host Sunderland