Saints hit by late sucker punch

By SFC Media Sat 04 Nov Saints v Burnley
Photo by James Bridle | Ryan Bertrand
Sat 04 Nov 3PM
Premier League
Southampton
0
Burnley
1
Vokes [81']
Referee: Lee Probert | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 30,491

Sam Vokes came off the bench to score a late winner for a Burnley side who spent most of the day on the back foot at St Mary’s.

It was goalkeeper Nick Pope who kept the visitors in the contest, making smart saves from Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond, and an outstanding one from Maya Yoshida, before Vokes pounced nine minutes from time.

With Saints pushing for a winner of their own, Johann Berg Gudmundsson crossed from the right and Vokes did the rest with a towering header from 12 yards to beat Fraser Forster down to his left.

Mauricio Pellegrino made two changes to his side following the 1-1 draw at Brighton last time out, restoring Yoshida to his defensive line and Redmond to the wing.

Wesley Hoedt and James Ward-Prowse were the unlucky duo to miss out, sitting on the bench alongside strike duo Shane Long and Charlie Austin – the former Burnley man having recovered from an ankle knock.

Pellegrino would have hoped for a similar start to the one Saints enjoyed at the Amex Stadium, but Burnley are a notoriously tough nut to crack these days, and there were no clear chances to break the deadlock early on.

Boufal’s clever flick found Cédric in a presentable crossing position, but Stephen Ward shut down the angles to concede a corner that the visitors cleared.

At the other end, Gudmundsson tried his luck with a well-struck shot from 20 yards that fizzed a yard or two wide of Forster’s goal.

Saints remained patient, enjoying the bulk of the possession, but it was when Boufal played a more direct pass beyond the Burnley defence that the Clarets looked unsettled for the first time, as goalkeeper Pope fumbled under pressure from Manolo Gabbiadini before gathering at the second attempt.

Nick Pope would prove a frustrating figure for Saints in the Burnley goal

By the half-hour mark, Saints’ pressure was building momentum. Ryan Bertrand met Dušan Tadić’s far-post cross and headed over, before Redmond skipped past Matthew Lowton only to shoot over on his left foot with the ball running away from goal.

Then Redmond’s cross from the right flicked up off a Burnley head and dropped invitingly for Boufal to strike.

As the Moroccan let fly on the volley, the ball skipped up off the turf and had to be pushed aside by Pope at his near post.

Saints produced their best piece of football ten minutes before the interval when Bertrand played one-twos with Boufal and Redmond en route to the byeline, only to find Pope in the right place to clutch his low cross.

Bertrand was proving to be one of the most potent attackers on the pitch from left-back. Following in another Tadić cross, he lined up a thunderbolt only for James Tarkowski to throw himself in the way.

Meanwhile, Pope was busy again when Redmond vacated his touchline, drifting in off the left and forcing the keeper into a sprawling save down to his right.

Burnley would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle, and found themselves on the back foot again when Gabbiadini glanced a header wide from Cédric’s cross.

Pope was tested for the first time since the restart when he was forced into a stunning acrobatic save from Yoshida, who pivoted on the spot to connect sweetly on the half-volley. It looked a certain goal, only for the keeper’s fingertips to intervene.

Pope saved brilliantly from Maya Yoshida with Saints pushing for an opener

Twenty minutes into the second half, Pellegrino introduced Austin for Gabbiadini, while opposite number Sean Dyche threw on two strikers in the form of Vokes and Ashley Barnes, despite his team being on the back foot.

For the first time in the match, Burnley gave Saints something to think about defensively, and the hosts’ dominance was curtailed.

Pellegrino responded by bringing on another frontman in Long, sacrificing Tadić, before Steven Davis twisted and turned into a shooting position, sending a left-footed strike only inches over.

Forster had not made a save all afternoon, but Saints were hit by a sucker punch when Vokes climbed to meet Gudmundsson’s cross with a brilliant downward header.

Burnley would have to survive a late siege, but none of the balls pinging around in the box would drop for a red and white shirt, and the visitors held on to continue their flying start to the season.

Today's match sponsor: Domino's Pizza Southampton
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Burnley
  • Possession (%)
    63
    37
  • Shots
    13
    5
  • Shots on target
    3
    1
  • Corners
    9
    1
  • Passes Complete
    466
    239

Southampton

44
Fraser Forster (GK)
3
Maya Yoshida
17
Virgil van Dijk
21
Ryan Bertrand
2
Cédric Soares
11
Dusan Tadic
Shane Long (76′)
14
Oriol Romeu
22
Nathan Redmond
19
Sofiane Boufal
James Ward-Prowse (90′)
8
Steven Davis (C)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
Charlie Austin (65′)
10
Charlie Austin
16
James Ward-Prowse
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
38
Sam McQueen
7
Shane Long
6
Wesley Hoedt
13
Alex McCarthy

Burnley

29
Nick Pope (GK)
5
James Tarkowski
6
Ben Mee (C)
23
Stephen Ward
2
Matthew Lowton
16
Steven Defour
4
Jack Cork
12
Robbie Brady
17
Johann Berg Gudmundsson
13
Jeff Hendrick
Ashley Barnes (65′)
11
Chris Wood
Sam Vokes (65′)
18
Ashley Westwood
28
Kevin Long
37
Scott Arfield
10
Ashley Barnes
9
Sam Vokes
22
Anders Lindegaard
26
Phil Bardsley
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