Saints signed off their promotion winning season in fitting style as they defeated Walsall 3-1 at St Mary’s.

Nigel Adkins’ team showed no hint of a let up on the final day of the campaign as goals from Guly Do Prado, David Connolly and the fit again Alex Chamberlain did the business.

The result confirmed Saints finishing in second place in League One, ending the season just three points behind champions Brighton and five ahead of third placed Huddersfield but vitally guaranteeing a place in the Championship next season.

A crowd of 31,653 turned out to rock St Mary’s with Walsall fans joining in as they avoided relegation thanks to results elsewhere.

Saints were revelling in the great atmosphere and started off flying.

Guly Do Prado almost gave Saints the lead after just a minute with a good strike that Jimmy Walker managed to just about turn wide.

Rickie Lambert had a go himself moments later with a decent shot that was just off target.

Saints really were rampant and on seven minutes Dean Hammond fired over the bar.

The 1,700 Walsall fans, who were playing their part in a terrific atmosphere, were jubilant after hearing relegation rivals Notts County and Dagenham & Redbridge had both conceded early goals.

Walsall were given another scare by Saints on 19 minutes as Lambert did well down the right and lifted a cross into the box that picked out David Connolly.

He opted to head back across goal rather than have a go himself and found Do Prado whose effort was smartly saved by the feet of Walker.

However, there was no stopping the Brazilian on 26 minutes.

Do Prado cut in from the right and as the keeper advanced the Saints man opened himself up and curled a left footed shot around Walker for 1-0.

It was a deserved lead for Saints who had dominated the match and given Walsall a bit of a battering.

They didn’t let up either and doubled their lead just three minutes later.

This time it was Connolly who got himself on the scoresheet with an excellent low near post effort that left Walker helpless.

Hammond so nearly added another very quickly as he tried an audacious effort that Walker just got his fingertips to to turn onto the post.

The game appeared all but over all of a sudden.

Saints were just tearing Walsall apart and all the Saddlers fans could suddenly concentrate on was what was happening elsewhere.

It was party time for Saints though and the packed house at St Mary’s was loving seeing their side play some exhibition stuff with slick passing, attacking football.

Walsall made an attacking change on 35 minutes to try and turn things around with defensive midfielder Antoine Gbarssin replaced by Will Grigg as the Saddlers put two up front.

It wasn’t making much of an immediate difference as Saints were still dominating possession and Walsall, under pressure when they got it, were giving it away rather cheaply.

They did create a chance two minutes before the break through a set-piece.

A corner was whipped into the far post and found Andy Butler who had lost his marker but put his header wide.

And suddenly out of nowhere Walsall did a pull a goal back.

In first half stoppage time Julian Gray had the ball out on the right and drifted back across the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a left footed shot that beat Kelvin Davis and made it 2-1.

Saints were still comfortable at the break but at least Walsall had shown they weren’t prepared to let the home side turn it into an exhibition match in a game that was so crucial to the Saddlers.

There was not much to choose between the sides in the opening stages of the second period which was more a reflection on the attacking change that Walsall had made rather than Saints slackening off.

The first decent chance of the half fell to Walsall on 57 minutes as the ball drifted over to the far post to Jon Macken whose half volley smashed into the side netting.

Saints followed that with a popular substitution as Alex Chamberlain made his return from injury as he came on for Do Prado.

What an impact he made as only moments after coming off the bench Chamberlain stormed down the right and fired in a shot that smashed against the post.

The ball came back out and was collected by Adam Lallana who laid on a golden chance for Connolly but somehow he missed from six yards out.

Walsall responded with Emmanuel Ledesma coming on for Jordan Cook.

There was action all over the place as Walsall were the next to break forward and it was Ledesma who forced Davis into a good save before Grigg’s follow up hit the post.

Macken thought he had equalised for Walsall from a scramble after a corner but the flag was up for offside and it was ruled out.

Saints went straight up the other and got another goal as Chamberlain cut in from the left and bent a brilliant shot from 20 yards past Walker for 3-1.

Radhi Jaidi and Matt Richards both went quickly into the book before both sides made a change with Richard Chaplow replacing Schneiderlin for Saints and Darren Byfield coming on for Macken for Walsall.

Chaplow had a crack shortly after coming on with a shot whistling just wide.

Saints made their final change with Dan Harding replacing Dickson before Gray was booked.

Walker made a fine double save on 81 minutes as first Chamberlain threatened to add another before the rebound eventually found its way to Connolly who was also thwarted by the Walsall keeper.

Chamberlain was causing mayhem since coming on and almost scored again after a nice ball from Lambert.

The fans were desperate for the game to finish to allow them to celebrate – and when the final whistle went they did just that.

There was a mass pitch invasion as the promotion party well and truly got started.