SAINTS celebrated Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first anniversary in charge by climbing out of the Premier League ’s relegation zone with a second win in four days.

First-half goals from Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand were enough to give Saints back-to-back wins for the first time this season, writes Simon Walter.

They were enough to haul them out of the relegation zone, thanks in part to Everton’s defeat at Liverpool, as Saints hung on after Teemu Pukki reduced the deficit in the second half.

Ings gave Saints a 22nd-minute lead with a near-post header from James Ward-Prowse’s left flank free kick.

An inswinger whipped in with pace straight off the training ground, he anticipated it well and glanced the ball past Tim Krul at the Norwich goalkeeper’s near post.

Ings had a magnificent all-round game alongside Shane Long, who was recalled for his handed his second start of the season and marked his 100th for the club with a performance full of vigour.

Perhaps taking inspiration from Sofiane Boufal’s cameo four days earlier, Ings skipped past challenges as the Northam End burst into a rendition of ‘he’s one of our own’.

After receiving the ball on the half-turn, Moussa Djenepo fizzed a left-footer just over the bar, while Ings continued to threaten. He had a left-foot shot blocked and then a right-footer deflected behind for a corner, from which Saints doubled their lead in the 43rd minute.

Ward-Prowse’s flag-kick from the right was headed down to the back post by Long, where the unmarked Bertrand slammed home a side-footed volley for his first goal in 15 months.

It was arguably his most crucial in a Saints shirt. 

Pierre-Emile Hojberg ended an excellent half with a stunning, 25-yard half volley that would have warmed Krul’s finger tips as he deflected it over the bar for another corner.

Norwich made two changes at half-time and within a minute of the restart Teemu Pukki thumped a right-footer that Alex McCarthy palmed away with his right hand.

Long was unfortunate not to get a penalty after being shoved in the back while Nathan Redmond responded positively to Hasenhuttl’s criticism of his performance against Watford.

After holding the ball up his offload found Long, who poked wide.

Norwich were better in the second half but then they could not have been much worse. Sam Byram shot straight at McCarthy after they created an overload down the left, while sub Marco Stiepermann blazed over after a dummy from Todd Cantwell.

Djenepo needed treatment after taking a heavy knock as he laid the ball off, while Ings volleyed agonisingly wide of the far post after chesting down Redmond’s hooked pass. 

Within a minute Norwich were back in the game. An exquisite through ball from Alexander Tettey found Pukki who arrowed in a left-footer past McCarthy from the inside-left channel.
Moments later, Cedric had a shot beaten away.

It was end-to-end, edge-of-the-seat stuff that brought to mind Saints’ 4-3 win when the sides last met as bottom-three Premier League sides 15 seasons ago. Both were relegated then but Saints have given themselves a real shot in the arm with this result.

Hasenhuttl’s substitutions have been better of late and his introduction of Romeu for Djenepo added ballast to the midfield as he sought to protect Saints’ lead.

With Ward-Prowse pushed forward, Saints did their best to maintain a high press but legs were tiring and with 14 minutes left Ings made way for Che Adams.

A terrific cross from Long eventually came to Redmond whose shot was blocked at the far post.

Then Adams sent another flashing across the face of goal.

Long ran all night and was rewarded with a standing ovation when he was replaced by Maya Yoshida with five minutes of normal time remaining.

The sighs of relief were audible around St Mary’s when Patrick Roberts fired over in injury time.

SAINTS (4-2-2-2): McCarthy, Soares, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Djenepo (Romeu 71), Redmond, Long (Yoshida 85), Ings (Adams 76).
Subs unused: Gunn, Boufal, Obafemi, Danso.

NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul, Aarons, Byram, Godfrey, Zimmerman, Hernandez, Cantwell (Buendia 82), Trybull (Tettey 46), Pukki, Mclean, Amadou (Stiepermann 46).
Subs unused: Fahrmann, Vrancic, Lewis, Srbeny.