Saints stun Villa at St Mary's

First published in Saints News

Rickie Lambert-inspired Southampton produced a superb comeback to collect their first victory back in the top flight against Aston Villa today.

Saints came into the match rooted to the bottom of the standings after four successive defeats but secured three points on the south coast as their 30-year-old talisman netted twice and set up another.

Their miserable start to life back in the Premier League had looked set to continue after sloppy defending allowed Darren Bent to break the deadlock in the first half.

It was the 15th goal conceded by Nigel Adkins' side in just five top-flight matches but, for once, their inability to defend did not cost them.

Lambert drew the hosts level in the second half after firing home under pressure and the match turned on its head five minutes later.

Nathaniel Clyne slotted home from close range after latching on to a superb through-ball from new boy Gaston Ramirez, before Jason Puncheon saw a shot deflected in by Villa defender Ciaran Clark to make it 3-1. Lambert netted his second of the day from the spot in stoppage-time.

The big talk pre-match was about Nigel Adkins' gutsy decision to drop club captain Kelvin Davis in favour of Premier League debutant Paulo Gazzaniga.

The 20-year-old Argentinian goalkeeper joined the south coast club from Gillingham in the summer and was one of three changes made after the 6-1 hiding at Arsenal last weekend.

Recent acquisitions Maya Yoshida and Ramirez were handed their first starts for the hosts, who were quickest to settle at St Mary's.

Puncheon saw a neat one-two that was just too strong for Ramirez, who then played through Lambert on the left flank only for the striker to blaze over unbalanced.

For all of Southampton's early pressure they were being reduced to long-range efforts, with former Villa midfielder Steven Davis and Ramirez both screwing wide from distance.

The visitors had not created the same opportunities but were looking dangerous whenever they attacked the hosts' new-look backline, with a late lunging tackle by Jose Fonte preventing Bent.

Going forward Adam Lallana was proving Southampton's most dangerous outlet and attempted an over-head kick during a penalty box melee on the half-hour mark.

That was caught comfortably by Brad Guzan, and when Villa broke, Stephen Ireland's deep cross was volleyed wide by Barry Bannan.

It was a warning shot that Saints failed to heed as Bent handed Villa a 36th-minute lead.

Saints failed to clear their lines as Ireland's mis-hit shot fell to the England international, who reacted quickly to ghost in between Yoshida and Danny Fox to tap home.

It was just reward for Villa as their tactics of frustrating the hosts and waiting for a mistake by their leaky defence paid dividends.

Ron Vlaar was booked as half-time approached for a trip before the break, where both sides made changes.

Ashley Westwood replaced Ireland for Villa, while Saints hauled off Fox and brought on right-back Frazer Richardson.

Clyne switched to the left as a result for Saints, who saw Puncheon test Guzan from an acute angle seconds after the restart.

Villa, though, were playing confidently with Bent forcing Gazzaniga into action at his near post after latching on to a nice through ball by Benteke.

The Belgium international was impressing on his first start and should have extended Villa's advantage in the 50th minute, meeting a Bannan corner with a powerful header that flew just over.

Eric Lichaj was booked for a late challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin as Southampton pushed for an equaliser, with referee Jon Moss waving away penalty appeals from Lambert at the resulting-free-kick, denying him a chance at levelling from the spot.

However, the 30-year-old would not be stopped for long as he expertly controlled a driven Lallana cross from the right and lashed home under pressure from four Villa defenders.

The 58th-minute leveller seemed to lift a weight off the Southampton players' shoulders as Lallana soon flashed a 25-yard effort just over, before Clyne then snuck in to put Saints ahead.

Having started the move, the defender burst into the box and collected an exquisite Ramirez ball to slot home from close range in the 63rd minute.

Clyne was booked in the aftermath as Villa introduced Gabby Agbonlahor and Joe Bennett in a bid to stem the flow, with the latter's first action seeing Puncheon cut past him and curl just wide.

It was 3-1 in the 72nd minute when Puncheon picked up the ball from Lambert and showed good control before rifling home a shot from the edge of the six-yard box which was defended in by Villa defender Ciaran Clark.

Puncheon received a standing ovation from the majority of the 30,713 inside St Mary's when he was substituted, with replacement Emmanuel Mayuka curling inches wide in the 78th minute.

Mayuka saw a shot saved at the near post as the clock wound down before he was brought down in the box by Guzan in stoppage time.

The American received a booking for the challenge and Lambert slotted home the spot-kick to give Saints their first Premier League victory since defeating Norwich 4-3 in April 2005.

Comments (33)

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5:59pm Sat 22 Sep 12

simon101 says...

Adkins made the changes to turn things around. Great to hear his name ringing around St Marys after a thrilling second half display. Onwards and upwards.
Adkins made the changes to turn things around. Great to hear his name ringing around St Marys after a thrilling second half display. Onwards and upwards. simon101
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Sat 22 Sep 12

saintforever says...

was fantastic game - especially second half - and fair play to nigel adkins who made some great substitutions.
well done to everyone today, fans included.
was fantastic game - especially second half - and fair play to nigel adkins who made some great substitutions. well done to everyone today, fans included. saintforever
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Velleity says...

Can I be the first to say "Adkins out!"
Can I be the first to say "Adkins out!" Velleity
  • Score: 0

6:13pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Spirit of 58 says...

this will show the doomsters on MOTD that Saints can score quality goals and defend a lead well done to all who have kept the faith - we travel to Everton in better heart next week with the confidence of a fine home win.

I fear the fishy trolls will be absent tonight.

COYR
this will show the doomsters on MOTD that Saints can score quality goals and defend a lead well done to all who have kept the faith - we travel to Everton in better heart next week with the confidence of a fine home win. I fear the fishy trolls will be absent tonight. COYR Spirit of 58
  • Score: 0

6:13pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Spirit of 58 says...

this will show the doomsters on MOTD that Saints can score quality goals and defend a lead well done to all who have kept the faith - we travel to Everton in better heart next week with the confidence of a fine home win.

I fear the fishy trolls will be absent tonight.

COYR
this will show the doomsters on MOTD that Saints can score quality goals and defend a lead well done to all who have kept the faith - we travel to Everton in better heart next week with the confidence of a fine home win. I fear the fishy trolls will be absent tonight. COYR Spirit of 58
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Spudsaint says...

Can we please stop knocking Nige. He's doing a great job and is a future England manager in my opinion. Honest, bright, positive, all round good news. Get behind the boys. We're gonna win some, we're gonna lose some, we're gonna stay up. Nailed on certainty. We are Premier League. COYR!
Can we please stop knocking Nige. He's doing a great job and is a future England manager in my opinion. Honest, bright, positive, all round good news. Get behind the boys. We're gonna win some, we're gonna lose some, we're gonna stay up. Nailed on certainty. We are Premier League. COYR! Spudsaint
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Sat 22 Sep 12

insane saint says...

don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him.

get in there saints more to come bring on everton.

loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...
don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him. get in there saints more to come bring on everton. loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen... insane saint
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Sat 22 Sep 12

insane saint says...

don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him.

get in there saints more to come bring on everton.

loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...
don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him. get in there saints more to come bring on everton. loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen... insane saint
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Sat 22 Sep 12

insane saint says...

don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him.

get in there saints more to come bring on everton.

loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...
don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him. get in there saints more to come bring on everton. loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen... insane saint
  • Score: 0

6:47pm Sat 22 Sep 12

warrens 76 says...

Sen F***ing sational....
The best thing about NA is how his decent, honourable approach is making US fans better people, tolerance, support, decency, all seem to be rubbing off.....not only are we on the way to a superb football team but I think he is making our people and therefore our city an even better place.
Sen F***ing sational.... The best thing about NA is how his decent, honourable approach is making US fans better people, tolerance, support, decency, all seem to be rubbing off.....not only are we on the way to a superb football team but I think he is making our people and therefore our city an even better place. warrens 76
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Sat 22 Sep 12

CharlieGeorgesMissingFinger says...

Is there a better player than Lallana in this league!
Is there a better player than Lallana in this league! CharlieGeorgesMissingFinger
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Sat 22 Sep 12

SFCOLDBOY says...

Jose Fonte was a tower of strength today.I think it has been his best game since he got injured last season.
Great to see our full backs getting forward, Mayuka was a real handfull when he came on.Rickie,Yoshida and Ramires had great games.
On wards and upwards Saints.
COYR.
Jose Fonte was a tower of strength today.I think it has been his best game since he got injured last season. Great to see our full backs getting forward, Mayuka was a real handfull when he came on.Rickie,Yoshida and Ramires had great games. On wards and upwards Saints. COYR. SFCOLDBOY
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Sat 22 Sep 12

SFCOLDBOY says...

CharlieGeorgesMissin
gFinger
wrote:
Is there a better player than Lallana in this league!
Probally not.His first half was a bit iffy but second half he bit the bullet and had a good go.The quality around him now can only make him better.
[quote][p][bold]CharlieGeorgesMissin gFinger[/bold] wrote: Is there a better player than Lallana in this league![/p][/quote]Probally not.His first half was a bit iffy but second half he bit the bullet and had a good go.The quality around him now can only make him better. SFCOLDBOY
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Sat 22 Sep 12

insane saint says...

insane saint wrote:
don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him.

get in there saints more to come bring on everton.

loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...
just looked at this again and the bl00dy server sent the quote three times dam computers
[quote][p][bold]insane saint[/bold] wrote: don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him. get in there saints more to come bring on everton. loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...[/p][/quote]just looked at this again and the bl00dy server sent the quote three times dam computers insane saint
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Sat 22 Sep 12

s@int Matt says...

And 3 English goal scorers as well, how many Prem teams can claim that!!
And 3 English goal scorers as well, how many Prem teams can claim that!! s@int Matt
  • Score: 0

7:29pm Sat 22 Sep 12

the third hardest man in sholing says...

Great performance today. Its fantastic to see Ricardo and Adam and Morgan show that players can come through the leagues and produce top class performances.
Great performance today. Its fantastic to see Ricardo and Adam and Morgan show that players can come through the leagues and produce top class performances. the third hardest man in sholing
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Sat 22 Sep 12

p.i. staker says...

well I bame adkins for this win,he really is out of his depth.snatching a win from the jaws of defeat he needs to learn and learn quickly.we could quite easily have won this game two one but old useless nigel had to tinker and bring on the subs, and look at what happened.I think cortese will sack him now only scoring four at home he aint got a clue what he's doing.and as for the new signings, well what a waste of money. ramireze was nowhwere and the japanese guy made at least one mistake.and as for fonte he won everything that came his way.sorry but he just aint good enough for the prem.sorry to sound pessimistic but I don't think we can live in this league
and unless we act now and get redknapp in and spend at least another 50 mill we aint got a prayer.
well I bame adkins for this win,he really is out of his depth.snatching a win from the jaws of defeat he needs to learn and learn quickly.we could quite easily have won this game two one but old useless nigel had to tinker and bring on the subs, and look at what happened.I think cortese will sack him now only scoring four at home he aint got a clue what he's doing.and as for the new signings, well what a waste of money. ramireze was nowhwere and the japanese guy made at least one mistake.and as for fonte he won everything that came his way.sorry but he just aint good enough for the prem.sorry to sound pessimistic but I don't think we can live in this league and unless we act now and get redknapp in and spend at least another 50 mill we aint got a prayer. p.i. staker
  • Score: 0

8:21pm Sat 22 Sep 12

mike saint says...

At long last weve got another goalkeeper although we done well today without davis.”
At long last weve got another goalkeeper although we done well today without davis.” mike saint
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Sat 22 Sep 12

OSPREYSAINT says...

insane saint wrote:
insane saint wrote:
don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him.

get in there saints more to come bring on everton.

loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...
just looked at this again and the bl00dy server sent the quote three times dam computers
..and spelt full back wrong on each occasion lol.
[quote][p][bold]insane saint[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]insane saint[/bold] wrote: don't want to knock anyone today except to say lala looked more confident and lively with a confident fall back behind him. get in there saints more to come bring on everton. loved it when the whole of the saints faithful was singing theirs only one Nigel Adkins.. then we got the pen...[/p][/quote]just looked at this again and the bl00dy server sent the quote three times dam computers[/p][/quote]..and spelt full back wrong on each occasion lol. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 0

8:26pm Sat 22 Sep 12

OSPREYSAINT says...

mike saint wrote:
At long last weve got another goalkeeper although we done well today without davis.”
How good is Borat?
[quote][p][bold]mike saint[/bold] wrote: At long last weve got another goalkeeper although we done well today without davis.”[/p][/quote]How good is Borat? OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Sat 22 Sep 12

OSPREYSAINT says...

Skysports 2 now, come back after with your comments!
Skysports 2 now, come back after with your comments! OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 0

8:28pm Sat 22 Sep 12

seventh-junction says...

F@ckin right touch!!!
COYR
F@ckin right touch!!! COYR seventh-junction
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Farmer Matt says...

Can't wait to watch MOTD tonight, let's see if Hansen thinks we've "had it"now.
Can't wait to watch MOTD tonight, let's see if Hansen thinks we've "had it"now. Farmer Matt
  • Score: 0

11:07pm Sat 22 Sep 12

DisplacedFan says...

However wrote this article must not have watched the game. How they described the pass from AL to RL and the shot by Pucheon was inaccurate to say the least. I wonder if the writer lives a little east of here?
However wrote this article must not have watched the game. How they described the pass from AL to RL and the shot by Pucheon was inaccurate to say the least. I wonder if the writer lives a little east of here? DisplacedFan
  • Score: 0

11:08pm Sat 22 Sep 12

DisplacedFan says...

Sorry, meant Whoever, not however. Getting carried away with the great victory.
Sorry, meant Whoever, not however. Getting carried away with the great victory. DisplacedFan
  • Score: 0

11:37pm Sat 22 Sep 12

Walter K says...

Great result great 3 points. Some decent performances esp. Lambert but won't be getting too carried away as I don't believe that too many worse teams than that Villa side will be coming to St.Marys this season - they were terrible!
Great result great 3 points. Some decent performances esp. Lambert but won't be getting too carried away as I don't believe that too many worse teams than that Villa side will be coming to St.Marys this season - they were terrible! Walter K
  • Score: 0

6:25am Sun 23 Sep 12

costa gaz says...

The decisions to drop KD and to substitute Fox at half time proves that Nige is more than capable.
Must have been one hell of a half time team talk because it was like watching two different sides.
Ramirez is looking like the real deal.
The decisions to drop KD and to substitute Fox at half time proves that Nige is more than capable. Must have been one hell of a half time team talk because it was like watching two different sides. Ramirez is looking like the real deal. costa gaz
  • Score: 0

7:34am Sun 23 Sep 12

Seedhouse the Unrepentant says...

Walter K wrote:
Great result great 3 points. Some decent performances esp. Lambert but won't be getting too carried away as I don't believe that too many worse teams than that Villa side will be coming to St.Marys this season - they were terrible!
Miserable old git.
[quote][p][bold]Walter K[/bold] wrote: Great result great 3 points. Some decent performances esp. Lambert but won't be getting too carried away as I don't believe that too many worse teams than that Villa side will be coming to St.Marys this season - they were terrible![/p][/quote]Miserable old git. Seedhouse the Unrepentant
  • Score: 0

11:57am Sun 23 Sep 12

Strasbourg Saint says...

Walter K wrote:
Great result great 3 points. Some decent performances esp. Lambert but won't be getting too carried away as I don't believe that too many worse teams than that Villa side will be coming to St.Marys this season - they were terrible!
That's it, Walter, don't get too carried away, save getting carried away for when things don't go as well, then you can really let rip with your 'ADKINS OUT!' tirade.
[quote][p][bold]Walter K[/bold] wrote: Great result great 3 points. Some decent performances esp. Lambert but won't be getting too carried away as I don't believe that too many worse teams than that Villa side will be coming to St.Marys this season - they were terrible![/p][/quote]That's it, Walter, don't get too carried away, save getting carried away for when things don't go as well, then you can really let rip with your 'ADKINS OUT!' tirade. Strasbourg Saint
  • Score: 0

11:58am Sun 23 Sep 12

Strasbourg Saint says...

p.i. staker wrote:
well I bame adkins for this win,he really is out of his depth.snatching a win from the jaws of defeat he needs to learn and learn quickly.we could quite easily have won this game two one but old useless nigel had to tinker and bring on the subs, and look at what happened.I think cortese will sack him now only scoring four at home he aint got a clue what he's doing.and as for the new signings, well what a waste of money. ramireze was nowhwere and the japanese guy made at least one mistake.and as for fonte he won everything that came his way.sorry but he just aint good enough for the prem.sorry to sound pessimistic but I don't think we can live in this league
and unless we act now and get redknapp in and spend at least another 50 mill we aint got a prayer.
:) Wonderful irony!
[quote][p][bold]p.i. staker[/bold] wrote: well I bame adkins for this win,he really is out of his depth.snatching a win from the jaws of defeat he needs to learn and learn quickly.we could quite easily have won this game two one but old useless nigel had to tinker and bring on the subs, and look at what happened.I think cortese will sack him now only scoring four at home he aint got a clue what he's doing.and as for the new signings, well what a waste of money. ramireze was nowhwere and the japanese guy made at least one mistake.and as for fonte he won everything that came his way.sorry but he just aint good enough for the prem.sorry to sound pessimistic but I don't think we can live in this league and unless we act now and get redknapp in and spend at least another 50 mill we aint got a prayer.[/p][/quote]:) Wonderful irony! Strasbourg Saint
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Sun 23 Sep 12

spratt says...

What a performance. If only we had had this crop of players up and running when the season opened. And now we have an International goalkeeper as well. I hope Mayuka is given plenty of action as I feel he could give rival defenders real problems. No need for Nigel to leave either
What a performance. If only we had had this crop of players up and running when the season opened. And now we have an International goalkeeper as well. I hope Mayuka is given plenty of action as I feel he could give rival defenders real problems. No need for Nigel to leave either [joke] spratt
  • Score: 0

8:10pm Sun 23 Sep 12

Tirau Dan says...

SFCOLDBOY wrote:
Jose Fonte was a tower of strength today.I think it has been his best game since he got injured last season.
Great to see our full backs getting forward, Mayuka was a real handfull when he came on.Rickie,Yoshida and Ramires had great games.
On wards and upwards Saints.
COYR.
It was a real team game that showed we can learn and perform better. I think a word of praise or two should also go in for Frazer Richardson who got up quickly and got his first cross in beautifully. I'd like to see more of this combination with Nathan at Left Back.
[quote][p][bold]SFCOLDBOY[/bold] wrote: Jose Fonte was a tower of strength today.I think it has been his best game since he got injured last season. Great to see our full backs getting forward, Mayuka was a real handfull when he came on.Rickie,Yoshida and Ramires had great games. On wards and upwards Saints. COYR.[/p][/quote]It was a real team game that showed we can learn and perform better. I think a word of praise or two should also go in for Frazer Richardson who got up quickly and got his first cross in beautifully. I'd like to see more of this combination with Nathan at Left Back. Tirau Dan
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Mon 24 Sep 12

CB FRY LIVES says...

A fantastic second half comeback after more diabolical defending in the first 45 minutes gave villa a goal on a plate.Ramirez looks worldclass.Rickie L has sheer dynamite in his boots when it comes to taking a spot kick.Yoshida looks classy as does Gazz in goal and Nathan Clyne who took his goal well.nice to see F.Richardson given a chance he gave his usual polished performance.Mayuka looked quick and dangerous when he came on.WELL DONE THE SAINTS.
A fantastic second half comeback after more diabolical defending in the first 45 minutes gave villa a goal on a plate.Ramirez looks worldclass.Rickie L has sheer dynamite in his boots when it comes to taking a spot kick.Yoshida looks classy as does Gazz in goal and Nathan Clyne who took his goal well.nice to see F.Richardson given a chance he gave his usual polished performance.Mayuka looked quick and dangerous when he came on.WELL DONE THE SAINTS. CB FRY LIVES
  • Score: 0

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