SAINTS slumped to a fourth consecutive loss as a second-half penalty from Jonny Howson secured a 2-1 win for Boro.

Adam Armstrong had given Southampton the lead midway through the first half, but Riley McGree’s goal saw them level at the break.

Here is how we rated every Southampton player’s performance….

Gavin Bazunu – 6.

Nervy moment dropping the ball to Crooks’ feet but referee awarded a foul. Boro nearly scored directly from a corner as Irishman’s box presence lacked. Be frustrated to concede another long-range goal. Good save to deny Coburn Boro’s third.

Mason Holgate – 4. 

Brought in for first game since Sunderland. Spaces formed behind him on a few occasions. Made an important back-post-headed interception in first half. Lost possession foolishly for Boro leveller and that was his last involvement as Martin opted for a half-time change.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis – 4. 

Confident diagonal passing, completing four out five in the first half and continuing trend after break. Credited with important clearances. Stupid penalty to concede, pulling down Coburn and paid the price. Conceding possession for what should have been Boro’s third and finisher.

Jan Bednarek – 6.

Certainly not the real problem with the defence. Nice step forward in possession and diagonal range to Fraser – something both centre-backs exhibited. Defended the box well, regularly cutting out balls in.

Kyle Walker-Peters - 6. 

Left Charles short with a midfield pass and Boro nearly scored a leveller from the resultant counter. Did well in defence and looked dangerous in attack in second half, sparking one counter which Fraser could have scored from. Was vocal to encourage intensity in final minutes.

Shea Charles – 6.

Big early impact intercepting inside the area multiple times. Improved player in midfield. Did not do anything wrong but was on the losing side by 70th-minute substitution.

Flynn Downes – 5.

Won back possession high for opening goal. Dropped into holding midfield role after Charles went off. Not much to report, which is not a good thing on this occasion. 

Will Smallbone – 6.

Regularly involved. Sent Adams through one-on-one but the Scot missed. Created two chances in the first half, which was the most of any Saints player. Performance did not grow after break despite courage to take shots at goal. 

Ryan Fraser 5.

Offered more tracking back than in attack and was credited with four first-half recoveries. Attacked space and could have shot but saw his cross just about turned behind in second half. Attack did not do enough. 

Adam Armstrong – 6.

Good tracking and slide tackling early on. Calm touch to beat keeper and finish for his fifth of the season. No other big impact for the rest of the match. 

Che Adams – 5. 

Missed first big chance, after doing so also against Ipswich Town, firing wide of the post one-on-one from an admittedly difficult range. Great slip for Arma’s opener but sacrificed by Martin after going behind. 


Ryan Manning – 5.

Immediately involved heavily after coming on during the break but gave away possession in dangerous areas. Boro chances were free flow in the closing stages.

Kamaldeen Sulemana – 5.

Lost possession multiple times by turning into opposition. Far too casual on the ball given the circumstances. Had to be urged by Walker-Peters to speed up to take a corner in the final minutes with his team behind.

Stuart Armstrong – 5. 

Introduced on 72 minutes with Saints chasing an equaliser. Only managed 22 touches and 14 passes. Unable to help Saints make another breakthrough. 

Sam Edozie – 6.

On his heels in the box as a ball broke in the final 10 minutes. Denied a leveller by a diving Dieng with a good effort that was turned over. Probably the best of the subs. 

Joe Aribo – 5. 

Introduced in midfield for final 10 minutes with Charly Alcaraz left on bench. Weak pass to Edozie in the box to concede a potential big chance. Didn't halt the Boro onslaught when he could have.