Saints produced a superb rear-guard action to secure a vital three points with a 2-1 win at Leicester to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three.

James Ward-Prowse’s penalty gave Saints an early lead at the King Power Stadium, but they were reduced to ten men in the first half when Yan Valery was sent off.

Shane Long scored his first goal since April to give Saints a two-goal cushion to defend in the second period and, though Leicester got one back through Wilfried Ndidi, Saints defended with great determination to get a deserved win against Claude Puel’s side.

Saints showed good intensity early on and caused Leicester all manner of problems.

They won the ball back in midfield to earn Stuart Armstrong a shooting chance from 25 yards out but under pressure he dragged it wide.

Armstrong came even closer on nine minutes as Saints launched a superb counter attack.

Armstrong played the ball forward to Nathan Redmond and produced a lung busting run to get up to support the midfielder.

He was fed a pass on the outside and took a touch in the area but it just gave enough time for Nampalys Mendy to get across and make a sliding block.

Mendy made another big contribution just moments later as he gave away a penalty.

There was little doubt about it as he put his arm round the shoulder of Shane Long and dragged him down in the box.

James Ward-Prowse stepped up to take the spot kick, struck it cleanly was relieved to see it go in as Kasper Schmeichel dived to his right and got his hands to it but couldn’t keep it out as Saints took the lead on 11 minutes.

Ward-Prowse’s set piece delivery almost helped add another as an outswinging corner on 28 minutes picked out Jack Stephens ten yards out and unmarked, but Schmeichel made a relatively routine save.

The Foxes finally created something five minutes later as Ben Chilwell’s lifted cross found Harry Maguire backtracking and he headed off target.

It seemed to lift them as Jan Bednarek was called upon to clear off the line from Wes Morgan, whose shot had beaten the recalled Alex McCarthy, with the Foxes appealing vigorously for a penalty as the ball rebounded off the arm of Jannik Vestergaard.

Saints were dealt a blow before half time as Yan Valery was sent off for a second bookable offence.

The wing back had been a little fortunate to only collect a yellow card for a foul and subsequent shove on Chilwell earlier in the half and then hauled back Marc Albrighton, leaving referee Michael Oliver with no real choice.

However, against the odds, Saints added another goal before the break.

Long’s persistence paid off as he broke forward and outmuscled Mendy. Schmeichel got a hand to his shot across goal but only seemed to help it into the far corner to give Saints something even more meaningful to defend.

Saints went to a defensive 5-3-1 formation for the second half with Leicester making two attacking changes as both managers set out their stall.

McCarthy had to make early saves from Maguire’s heavily deflected shot and James Maddison’s swerving effort from distance as Leicester tried to build pressure.

It paid off on 58 minutes as Ricardo Pereira stayed on his feet as he bustled past Oriol Romeu and cut the ball back from the right by-line to Wilfried Ndidi who directed it home from eight yards out with the inside of his thigh.

Saints weathered the storm and were defending very well, so compact and organised, with Leicester trying to stretch the play but with little joy.

When Long was withdrawn Saints dropped even deeper and Maddison quickly threatened with a curling effort that went wide.

Leicester inevitably went very direct in the closing stages with both centre halves playing as makeshift strikers, but Saints stood firm to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.