Saints outdone by single goal

By SFC Media time Sat 07 Mar Saints v Newcastle
Photo by Matt Watson | James Ward-Prowse
Sat 07 Mar 3PM
Premier League
Newcastle United
Saint-Maximin [79']
yellow card
Manquillo (45+3') Ritchie (56') Joelinton (90')
Djenepo (28')
red card
Referee: Graham Scott | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 30,096

Allan Saint-Maximin grabbed the winner as Southampton fell to a 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United at St Mary's on Saturday afternoon.

The game was full of talking points, following an early dismissal for Moussa Djenepo, and a first-half penalty miss from Matt Ritchie - which were both decided by VAR.

The three points puts Newcastle within touching distance of Premier League security, while Saints remain six shy of the 40 points target, which traditionally sees clubs safe.

Yan Valery was the only surprise inclusion in Ralph Hasenhüttl's team selection on the day, returning from four months out, while Djenepo and Danny Ings were also recalled.

20200306 Southampton v Newcastle
Valery in action during the first half against Newcastle

The first chance fell the way of Saints. It began with Sofiane Boufal winning a free-kick wide right, allowing James Ward-Prowse to deliver centrally.

Two corners ensued, before Boufal again wriggled free down the right, this time unattended, and fizzed a ball towards Djenepo. The winger took a swing at it, and nearly connected, had it not been for the boot of Ritchie.

Saints were then saved at the opposite end by a hat-trick of superb saves from the formidable Alex McCarthy. Jonjo Shelvey had escaped down the wing, and poked a cross towards Almirón.

It was actually Dwight Gayle who had the initial effort, before two follow ups from the Paraguayan were rebuffed by McCarthy in quick succession.

Heroic goalkeeping from Saints’ No.1, as Newcastle looked near certain to break the deadlock in the eighth minute.

20200306 Southampton v Newcastle
McCarthy denies Newcastle in the early stages

After a lively start from both sides, the game settled down somewhat. McCarthy’s sharp reflexes had denied the visitors, but that represented their only threatening spell, and before long, Saints were again on the hunt.

Shane Long got himself into a great position in the 18th minute, but fired his cross beyond Ings and Djenepo, who were up in support. Leading marksman Ings was the obvious target, with the striker two off taking his tally to a round 20 for the season.

Valery’s shot on the quarter mark did fairly little to trouble Martin Dubravka, but the build-up play was promising, with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg at the heart of it.

The hosts suffered a setback shortly after, following a VAR review, as Djenepo tried to recover a ball he’d overrun. The winger caught Isaac Hayden late, with no malice, but was adjudged to have endangered the opponent.

He initially received a caution, but after referee Graham Scott consulted the touchline monitor, a red card was shown, leaving Saints with ten men - and 62 minutes of the tie remaining.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Moussa Djenepo of Southampton after being shown a red card during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 07, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Djenepo dismissed after colliding with Hayden

Gayle had more than one chance to open the scoring in the moments following that, with the home side rocked by the red card decision, but McCarthy was again to the rescue, denying the Newcastle man from point blank range.

The visitors had been more than wasteful in the attacking third, with Gayle again firing wide of the mark in the 35th minute. Lascellas volleyed a Ritchie free-kick into the net 60 seconds later, but was a clear yard offside.

It went from bad to worse in the 43rd minute, with VAR seemingly conspiring against Hasenhüttl’s side. Newcastle were awarded a penalty by the video assistant referee, following a dubious handball from Boufal.

Ex-Portsmouth man Ritchie stepped up to take from 12-yards, but was denied by yet another fantastic stop from McCarthy, who got down low to his left and palmed to safety.

Saints were indebted to their stopper once more, before the whistle was blown for the interval, giving everyone inside St Mary’s a deserved breather.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Alex McCarthy of Southampton celebrates after saving a penalty during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 07, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
McCarthy and Jack Stephens celebrate after the keeper saves from the spot

After a breathless first period, the second began quietly. Saints, with a man less, carved out the first chance five minutes after the restart.

Højbjerg fed Long on the run, who shot wildly, with the angle against him. Ings was arriving in the box with intent, screaming for the square pass, which never arrived.

Hayden headed tamely wide a matter of moments later, with McCarthy happy to watch it past his left hand post. The crowd were playing their part inside St Mary’s, revelling in the adversity of several contentious decisions.

Steve Bruce made his first change on the hour mark, introducing Joelinton to partner Gayle up top, and it nearly made instant impact. The pace of Saint-Maximin beat the Saints backline momentarily, before the recovery run of Ryan Bertrand stopped the Frenchman in his tracks.

A goal from nearly nothing came next. McCarthy kicked long, to Long, who took the ball down well on the swivel and unleashed a vicious strike, stinging the gloves of Dubravka. He repelled the effort effectively enough, with Boufal baring down.

That was to be the Irishman’s last involvement, as he departed for Ché Adams, but not before receiving a standing ovation from the Saints faithful – who seemed to appreciate his tireless efforts.

20200306 Southampton v Newcastle
Long claps the fans as he receives a standing ovation when leaving the pitch

That prompted a shift in momentum, but not in the way Hasenhüttl would have wanted. Full-back Valery was caught in possession in the 79th minute, with Saint-Maximin the beneficiary of the youngster’s hesitation.

He nicked the ball and then beat McCarthy with a low shot that found the net via the inside of the post. Advantage Magpies. And that's the way it would stay.

The first-half dismissal of Djenepo ultimately proved crucial, as the hosts tired late on, allowing Newcastle to steal the points through Saint-Maximin's solo strike.

The second half was actually more even than the first, in which McCarthy kept Saints in the game with a flurry of saves, including a penalty stop - his performance deserving much more than to be on the losing side.

Saints next face Norwich at Carrow Road, continuing the quest for 40 Premier League points, but still have plenty of distance between themselves and the dreaded drop zone.


Head to Head Stats

Newcastle United
  • Possession (%)
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  • Corners
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  • Passes Complete
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Alex McCarthy (GK)
Jan Bednarek
Jack Stephens
Ryan Bertrand
Yan Valery
Sofiane Boufal
replace Michael Obafemi (85′)
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Moussa Djenepo red card
James Ward-Prowse
Shane Long
replace Che Adams (77′)
Danny Ings
Angus Gunn
Jannik Vestergaard
Oriol Romeu
Kevin Danso
Kyle Walker-Peters
Che Adams
Michael Obafemi

Newcastle United

Martin Dubravka (GK)
Federico Fernández
Javier Manquillo yellow card
replace Valentino Lazaro (72′)
Danny Rose
Jamaal Lascelles (C)
Matt Ritchie yellow card
replace Joelinton (61′) yellow card
Jonjo Shelvey
Allan Saint-Maximin goal
Isaac Hayden
replace Sean Longstaff (79′)
Miguel Almirón
Dwight Gayle
Sean Longstaff
Karl Darlow
DeAndre Yedlin
Nabil Bentaleb
Valentino Lazaro
Fabian Schär


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