SAINTS recovered from a second-half wobble to secure a vital three points with a 3-1 win over Birmingham City at St Mary’s.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Charly Alcaraz and Adam Armstrong scored the goals, with the former two getting their first notches of the season.

It was an eighth of the campaign for Armstrong, who drew level with the top scorers in the entire division as he reduced pressure on his defence late on.

Here is how we rated each of their performances…

Gavin Bazunu – 7.

Confident and clever playing out the back quickly. Fortunate to get away with not conceding a penalty in the first half. Not too much else to do and goal was not saveable.

Kyle Walker-Peters – 7.

Two successful dribbles and won all of his defensive duels in the first half. Great low cross for Arma in second half but the forward headed wide. Caught by Jay Stansfield and beaten for the goal. Still to be considered a good performer.

Jan Bednarek – 8.

Most passes of any player in the first-half (64) as a regular conduit between Bazunu and the midfield. Helped limit Birmingham to just three hopeful shots in that time. Remained colossal throughout. Awarded man of the match in the stadium.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis – 8.

Scored first goal for the club with header in the box – might have been marginally offside but no VAR in the Championship. Missed a second headed chance later in the half.

James Bree – 7.

Kept his place at left-back ahead of the returning Ryan Manning and exhibited another confident performance. Only put one pass astray in the first half and you could argue Smallbone was on his heels.

Flynn Downes – 8.

Aggressive from the first minute and must have set season records for the longest slide into a tackle. Some important work to calm down the side under pressure after Birmingham’s Stansfield response. One of the club’s best summer signings.

Will Smallbone – 6.

Quiet start but tidy in possession as usual. Least impactful of the midfield three with next to no expected goals or assists all afternoon. Replaced in the last 10 minutes with the team flagging.

Stuart Armstrong – 8.

So creative and a certain starter when fit, they miss him when he is not in the side. Tidy one-two to release Kamaldeen for the second goal, and set up Arma for what should have been a third later in the contest.

Adam Armstrong – 7.

Great cross for the opener, after a bit of skill to beat his man. Should have added a third in first-half added time but missed a one-on-one. Put a diving header wide after the break. Massive goal with a close-range finish to seal three points.

Kamaldeen Sulemana – 7.

Couple of loose early touches but exhibited the end product we want to see to set up Charly for the second. Lost his legs in the second half as he still carries a minor injury and was substituted.

Charly Alcaraz – 7.

In the right place for an easy finish and his first goal of the season. He won half of his duels but had a poor pass success rate comparatively. Struggled in the second half and was let off after a wayward pass and loose touch while the team was under pressure.


Joe Aribo – 6.

Has the unfortunate drawback of just not looking at all comfortable with the ball at his feet, and that cannot help the perception of his quality. Did nothing wrong as Saints saw out the contest.

Ryan Fraser – 7.

Attempted a lob from a tight angle after breaking free down the left but was nowhere near with the finish. His ball in led to the Arma’s goal securing all three points. A really good option to have off the bench, as he keeps proving. 

Sam Edozie – 7.

The winger’s knockdown for Arma’s all-important goal just minutes after coming on. The desired impact. Caused problems to keep the ball in the opposition half at key moments.

Shea Charles – N/A

Operated in midfield in the final minutes of the game. The stability of side was improved but nothing individual to note.