Southampton boost hopes

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:37

Southampton boost hopes

Shane Long grabbed his first Premier League goal for 14 games before a Jason Shackell own goal rubberstamped the victory on a bittersweet afternoon for Saints, who had Fraser Forster stretchered off with a serious-looking knee injury.
Burnley played with their usual gusto as both Danny Ings and Sam Vokes were denied in the first-half by substitute goalkeeper Kelvin Davis but Saints created the better chances with Graziano Pellè and Steven Davis rattling the crossbar.
The hosts were dealt a huge blow inside 10 minutes as the in-form Forster went down after a routine clearance from a back pass.
As he went to punt the ball clear his left knee seemed to buckle and he signalled to the bench straight away that something was seriously amiss. He was stretchered off and was taken straight to hospital.
His replacement Davis, who was making his first Premier League appearance since New Year’s Day 2014, was called straight into the action as he denied Sam Vokes from 10 yards with a superb block.
Burnley continued to provide most of the attacking spark and George Boyd wanted a penalty on 24 minutes after Jose Fonte caught his trailing leg in the box but referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved. 
Southampton’s build-up was impressive to watch but a killer finish was lacking as the crowd began to get a tad restless with their side, who had only scored one goal in their previous home matches.
Pelle, who hasn’t scored in the Premier League for 12 games, bore the brunt of their groans but it was his mis-kick that played a part in the opening goal on 37 minutes.
Nathaniel Clyne fired a strike at goal from the right hand side of the box and Pelle completely duffed his kick from eight yards but lucky for him, Long was waiting at the back post to stab home.
The goal triggered a crazy ten minutes of football with both teams creating numerous chances.
Pelle was the first to miss, smashing a very presentable effort against the crossbar from six yards after a Fonte knockdown before Ings broke up the other end and drew another great save from Kelvin Davis.
Clyne then fizzed a deflected shot inches wide of Tom Heaton’s far post and just seconds later Steven Davis rose to meet a Dušan Tadic cross but the ‘keeper tipped the ball onto the crossbar. 
There was still time in the first-half for Vokes to test Kelvin Davis from 12 yards with a firm header after good work from Ings.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman made a switch at half-time to counter Burnley’s attacking nous by bringing on holding midfielder Victor Wanyama for the attack-minded Tadic and it worked a treat as the visitors were restricted to half-chances as Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin bossed the midfield from then on.
After the tactical switch, Saints were the side creating all the chances and doubled the lead on 58 minutes when Shackell got himself into a muddle in his six-yard box and diverted a fizzed in Ryan Bertrand cross into the net.
Burnley never gave up in the closing stages but lacked the quality in the final third to create any real pressure on a superb Southampton defence that has conceded just 21 goals all season – the best defensive record in the league.
The victory puts pressure on both Manchester United and Liverpool before their clash at Anfield tomorrow in the race for Champions League qualification while Burnley remain in the bottom three.
Soccer Saturday reaction: Paul Merson
“It was a difficult game for Burnley and it was in the balance for a while. After Long scored, Southampton got on top and they should have got a second, Pelle misses an absolute sitter. Burnley go up the other end and it falls to Ings and then Davis make a worldie save.
“Davis came on for Forster, it was out of nothing. He went to kick the ball and his knee gave way. Davis came on and made two or three good saves. They had their chances as they always do when they go away from home.
“I was impressed with Southampton. I thought they were really good, they passed the ball around second half. Bertrand was absolutely outstanding, he gave Trippier a torrid time. Shackell couldn’t do much about the own goal but after that Burnley never looked like scoring. For the first time that I’ve seen them this season they looked tired.”
Player Ratings
Southampton: Forster (6), Clyne (7), Fonte (7), Alderweireld (7), Bertrand (8), Schneiderlin (7), S. Davis (7), Tadi? (6), Mané (7), Long (7), Pellè (5).
Subs: Wanyama (7), Davis (8)
Burnley: Heaton (6) Trippier (6), Shackell (6), Duff (6), Mee (6); Boyd (6), Arfield (6), Jones (6), Barnes (6); Vokes (5), Ings (5)
Subs: Wallace (6), Jutkiewicz (6), Sordell (6)
Man Of The Match: Ryan Bertrand 

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