AS far as 2-0 victories go, Southampton's win over Cardiff City on Saturday was almost as comfortable as they come.

It speaks volumes that the loudest reaction from the travelling Cardiff supporters came after the announcement that their trains back to Wales had been cancelled.

It was the latest moment of disappointment on another Bluebirds afternoon ruined by a Russell Martin side.

The Saints boss has now won all five of his meetings against Cardiff and he let them know following the final whistle.

In truth, this should be a piece about how Southampton have finally blown a team away from start to finish.

That’s not to say that Southampton weren’t utterly dominant. By the time full time had arrived, the hosts had racked up 63 per cent of possession, 18 shots and over 650 accurate passes.

However, after Adam Armstrong’s quickfire brace gave them a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes – which came from Saints’ first two shots on goal - it looked as though Cardiff would be on the receiving end of a thrashing.

Daily Echo: Player ratings as Saints beat Cardiff City at St Mary's

Southampton had plenty of chances to add to the lead. Armstrong sent a tame header into Alex Runarsson’s hands just before a second half littered with spurned chances.

Che Adams had a goal rightfully ruled out for offside. Substitute Joe Aribo struck the post from the edge of the box. Ryan Fraser didn’t have his shooting boots on.

Fraser left the field feeling disappointed that he didn’t score, and Martin was quick to point out that his side should have notched more goals.

Daily Echo: Momentum graph from Southampton's win over Cardiff CityMomentum graph from Southampton's win over Cardiff City (Image: SDE)

Daily Echo columnist and Saints legend Franny Benali sensed that a 3-0 or 4-0 win was on the horizon.

Writing on Saturday ahead of the Cardiff game he said: “Although the perfect game very rarely happens, I think we have a 3-0 or 4-0 game in us. It's coming, and that would be as close to perfect as you could get."

On the basis of this weekend's performance, that game is coming. While Cardiff were poor, Southampton were excellent.

On another day Adams times his run better, Aribo’s shot is an inch or two to the left and Fraser DOES have his shooting boots on.

“I don’t think you can ever get perfect,” Martin added when speaking to the media after the game. “I’m convinced that there is no such thing.

"But we are getting closer and closer to where we want to be. In my four years as a manager, I think there has been a narrative that I want to be slow and keep the ball.

“We try to make the players understand why we do what we do, why we take the ball where we take it and why our position and structure is so important in the team.

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"It’s to try and hurt the opposition as much as you can. Today the chances come so often in the second half because of the amount of work we put into Cardiff in the first half.

“The gaps opened up because they were chasing the game. They have talented players so to nullify their threat while being dominant and not allowing it to be an open game – I’m really delighted with the players."

He continued: “I want to score more goals today and you want to be demanding of the players but we’ve kept two clean sheets in a row now which is going to be just as important (as scoring goals).

“Goal difference might be important at the end of the season, but if you keep clean sheets and you’re ticking over with wins then it’s not a problem.

“We created more chances today then we have done in a while, but we also have away a lot less chances than we have done earlier in the season.

“That’s been a big improvement in the players over the last 10/11 games. We have to keep driving them on in every aspect of the game.”

As Martin mentioned, the defensive frailties that plagued Saints earlier this season are now gone. Saturday’s win marked their second consecutive clean sheet.

More than that, Southampton have only conceded three goals in their last five games, a much-improved difference from the fours and fives they were leaking earlier this season.

The defensive partnership of Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jan Bednarek has much to do with the defensive uptick.

“It’s brilliant to have been able to play behind those two so consecutively,” Gavin Bazunu told the Daily Echo after the game.

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“All three of us know exactly the way we need to play. We don’t even need to talk to each other at times.

“We see each other's body language and we know exactly what we want to do. They are two great players and that makes it very easy.”

Saints travel to Watford next weekend, a game which will serve as another tough test in a relentless Championship season.

Valérien Ismaël's side have only lost one of their last nine games and have kept four clean sheets in that time. Southampton will likely need to be at their goalscoring best to get a result at Vicarage Road.