RUSSELL Martin was proud Saints found a new way to win as they extended their unbeaten run to eight matches with a 2-1 victory over West Brom.

Will Smallbone and Adam Armstrong’s strikes maintained Southampton's promotion push, but it came in a much scrappier style than Martin would have liked.

The Baggies dominated the second half, equalised through Kyle Bartley and could have led but Darnell Furlong’s header came back off the crossbar.

However, thanks to a Gavin Bazunu save deep into added time, Saints held on for a seventh one-goal win of the season to claim their 20th point of the last 24 available.  

Speaking after the match, Saints boss Martin said: “It was a different win to those we’ve had previously.

Daily Echo: Russell Martin was yellow carded during the contestRussell Martin was yellow carded during the contest (Image: Stuart Martin)

“I just said to the players it was built on character, spirit and togetherness. The energy from the crowd was amazing as well. It was that rather than dominance and control.

“They are one of the best teams we’ve played. I have so much respect for Carlos (Corberan). They make it seriously difficult for you. They have a lot of power and athleticism.

“In the second half, the momentum swung and we were too untidy on the ball. Their goal was coming, but we weren’t good enough in that period.

“We wanted the chance to fall to Adam, with his finishing abilities and mentality. I enjoyed watching my players play and fight for each other.

"It is a big difference to the way we defended the goal at the start of the season. I can’t be entirely pleased with the performance but I can be proud of the way we won in a different way.

“I think the fans are now understanding the team and I hope they are starting to enjoy it. They stuck with it through a tough period.”

Saints took the lead in the fifth minute when Stuart Armstrong cut back to A Armstrong from the byline. His shot was saved but the rebound fell to Smallbone to convert from close range.

Daily Echo: Will Smallbone scores his third of the seasonWill Smallbone scores his third of the season (Image: Stuart Martin)

Conor Townsend thought he had cleared off the line but the goal-line technology confirmed West Brom had conceded the first goal in a match for the first time since September.

The visitors equalised after banging at the door for an extended spell. Brandon Thomas-Asante powered a header from Jed Wallace’s cross, with centre-back Bartley following up to bundle over the line for his second of the season.

The momentum continued when Townsend’s wicked cross was attacked by Furlong and crashed against the crossbar.

But Armstrong went straight up the other end to calmly pull down Ryan Fraser’s cross and finish.

Martin added: “I thought it was a really good game of football. The pace of it, in the first half in particular, we had some really good moments and they had a couple.

"Then the momentum shifted in the second half, we had a few of the guys carrying niggles and stuff and it started to show, so we tried to get some subs on the pitch but couldn’t do it in time.

“They were good, really good; aggressive, athletic, set pieces are a real threat, Gavin had to make one brilliant save, didn’t give them too much in open play, and we didn’t have much either."