Saints climb clear of danger
Published 25/11/2012 | 17:14
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins denied predecessor Alan Pardew a winning return to St Mary's as the south coast club impressively despatched Newcastle United 2-0.
Pardew made his return to Southampton for the first time on Sunday afternoon, having led Saints for just over a year, but the hosts edged the first half and took a deserved lead through captain Adam Lallana.
Lallana then linked with Jason Puncheon to set up Gaston Ramirez for their second goal after the break. Newcastle were unable to find a response, meaning they have won just one of their eight Barclays Premier League matches as Saints earned a first clean sheet of the season and three points to propel them out of the relegation zone.
The hosts named an unchanged side from the one that won 3-1 at QPR, while the Magpies named six of the side that played against Maritimo in the Europa League on Thursday. Demba Ba was one of those returning and nodded wide inside five minutes.
Southampton were looking shaky at the back, though, and goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was fortunate to see a clearance blocked by Ba come to no harm. Opposite number Tim Krul sprinted off his line to stop Rickie Lambert connecting with a misplaced Cheick Tiote pass.
The Netherlands international then denied a 25-yard Ramirez free-kick, before thwarting Puncheon from a Lambert cutback. Saints were getting closer and, after an expertly-struck Lambert free-kick rattled the crossbar, they took a 34th-minute lead.
Krul rushed off his line to stop Puncheon down the right, but his clearance only found Nathaniel Clyne. The right-back's long shot was headed away by Mike Williamson, but Ramirez collected the ball and squared for Lallana to score from close range.
Steven Taylor denied Southampton a second goal three minutes later by blocking a goalbound Morgan Schneiderlin drive, before Ba headed straight at Gazzaniga from a corner after the break.
Adkins' side did get the second goal in the 60th minute after an excellent one-two between Puncheon and Lallana saw the latter put in a cross that Krul parried into the path of Ramirez to fire home. Puncheon hit the post but Gazzaniga had to launch himself across goal at the other end to deny Davide Santon.
Krul denied substitute Steven Davis at his near post when Saints returned to the attack, with Jose Fonte then hitting the bar before Lallana was denied as substitute Jay Rodriguez had a goal chalked off for offside late on.
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