Saints slip to Burnley defeat

By SFC Media time Sat 15 Feb Saints v Burnley
Photo by Matt Watson | Stuart Armstrong
Sat 15 Feb 12.30PM
Premier League
Ings [18']
Westwood [2'] Vydra [60']
Vestergaard (16') Obafemi (88')
yellow card
Hendrick (26') Mee (44')
Referee: Simon Hooper | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 26,302

Southampton slipped to a disappointing home defeat against Burnley, as the Clarets made the most of horrific conditions at St Mary’s.

In a game that lacked fluency from the start, Saints found themselves behind after just 93 seconds in bizarre fashion, as Ashley Westwood’s innocuous corner sailed straight in.

It was Danny Ings in the near-post position who had the chance to clear and didn’t, but the striker was soon putting things right with a typically ruthless finish from the edge of the box in the 18th minute.

Saints then hit the bar through Jack Stephens in a first half in which both teams lost players to injury, as Sofiane Boufal and Chris Wood hobbled off.

Ultimately it was Wood’s replacement, Matej Vydra, who struck the decisive blow on the hour to extend Saints’ winless run against Sean Dyche’s side to seven matches.

Ralph Hasenhüttl handed a long-awaited debut to Kyle Walker-Peters, who has been training with his new teammates for two weeks and finally had the opportunity to play alongside them.

The boss could also call upon James Ward-Prowse, fit to play after suffering a gruesome cut to the knee in the FA Cup replay at Tottenham, but had to do without Nathan Redmond, who has picked up a muscle injury.

Presumably with conditions in mind, as Storm Dennis loomed ominously, the winning captain at the toss opted for a change of ends.

The visitors got straight on the front foot to win a corner, and were soon celebrating an unusual opener in front of their travelling fans.

With less than two minutes on the clock, Westwood’s inswinging delivery was left by Ings at the near post, with Alex McCarthy stood behind the goal line, meaning by the time it reached Saints’ last line of defence, the ball was already in.

Ben Mee swept home the rebound in any case, but Westwood’s corner had gone in untouched. Whether due to the conditions or just a breakdown in communication, it was certainly avoidable.

20200215 Southampton v Burnley
Kyle Walker-Peters in action on his Saints debut

A rare lapse from Ings, then, but Saints’ leading marksman did not take long to make amends.

After an intended backheel for Stuart Armstrong bounced back to him, the striker took all of his frustration out on the loose ball, rifling a crisp low shot just inside the near post from 20 yards, leaving Nick Pope unsighted by the defender in front of him and powerless to prevent a clinical equaliser.

In between times, that strangest of openers suddenly made more sense, as the wind swirled into McCarthy’s face, making life difficult for the hosts in their own defensive third. Playing out from the back, though admirable, appeared ill-advised.

Former Saint Jay Rodriguez threatened to haunt his former club either side of the leveller, heading into McCarthy’s arms before sliding to meet a skewed Phil Bardsley shot that zipped across goal.

But no sooner had Ings restored parity than opposite number Chris Wood was limping down the tunnel nursing a hamstring injury, replaced by Vydra.

The momentum was with Hasenhüttl’s team, and some Sofiane Boufal trickery worked a crossing position for the Moroccan to pick out Jack Stephens, whose header thumped against Pope’s crossbar.

When Boufal ventured down the left and crossed again soon after, he sunk to the turf and raised an arm to signal his discomfort, and would prove unable to continue, as Moussa Djenepo was summoned to replace him.

If the winter break was brought in to help prevent injury, Wood and Boufal had not read the script. 

20200215 Southampton v Burnley
Danny Ings fires home Saints' first-half equaliser

Saints’ new left side almost combined to goalscoring effect three minutes into the second half, as Djenepo slid the ball inside for Ryan Bertrand, who sent the side-netting billowing in the wind.

Then Ings escaped down the inside-right channel, but his cross seeking strike partner Shane Long was overhit.

Instead it was Burnley, yet to threaten since the interval, who restored their lead on the hour thanks to some individual brilliance from substitute Vydra.

Receiving a long ball on his chest, his second touch took him away from Bertrand and freed up space to send an unstoppable left-footed shot high into the net from 15 yards.

Almost as if prompted by the bad news, Dennis vented his anger with a vicious downpour while the wind continued to gust around St Mary’s.

Burnley smelt blood and McCarthy looked uncomfortable under another awkward corner, before Hasenhüttl opted for a change of shape, as Michael Obafemi entered the fray on 74 minutes.

That meant the end of Walker-Peters’s debut, with the defender having shown fleeting glimpses of his pace and confidence going forward from right-back.

Ché Adams later followed Obafemi off the bench, but it was skipper Pierre-Emile Højbjerg who came closest to earning a point, only to be denied by Pope as the England international came rushing out to shut down the angles, after both referee Simon Hooper and, retrospectively, VAR decided against penalising Mee for handball when a Stephens cross struck his outstretched arm. 

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Head to Head Stats

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Alex McCarthy (GK)
Jannik Vestergaard yellow card
Kyle Walker-Peters
replace Michael Obafemi (73′) yellow card
Ryan Bertrand
Jack Stephens
Stuart Armstrong
James Ward-Prowse
Sofiane Boufal
replace Moussa Djenepo (39′)
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Shane Long
replace Che Adams (86′)
Danny Ings goal
Angus Gunn
Che Adams
Jan Bednarek
Moussa Djenepo
William Smallbone
Oriol Romeu
Michael Obafemi


Nick Pope (GK)
Charlie Taylor
Phil Bardsley
Ben Mee (C) yellow card
James Tarkowski
Dwight McNeil
Ashley Westwood goal
Jeff Hendrick yellow card
Jack Cork
Jay Rodriguez
Chris Wood
replace Matej Vydra (22′) goal
Erik Pieters
Kevin Long
Robbie Brady
Josh Brownhill
Joe Hart
Aaron Lennon
Matej Vydra
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