Southampton v Burnley
St.Mary’s - Sunday, 16th October 2016
> A brace for Charlie Austin, including a penalty
> A good goal for Nathan Redmond
> Targett off injured, but Sam McQueen excels in his place
IBO Reporter : Spot51
Bertrand was the only Saint missing because of international duty but, with Cédric still carrying an injury from our last League game, Puel was obliged to replace both fullbacks. The only other change from the line-up at Leicester saw Clasie replace Højbjerg. The Dane was shattered having played in two tough defeats for his country. Burnley’s shape has been 4-5-1 during Andre Gray’s enforced absence - with Southampton lad Sam Vokes their sole striker.
Saints began kicking towards the Northam. Burnley had the first chance when their free kick was only partly cleared. The ball was swung back in but Keane planted his header wide.
The home team were soon attacking with Austin bursting into the box to win a corner. Davis’ cross was cleared but the next Saints attack saw a dangerous cross from Redmond knocked away. Burnley were penned back and a fine cross from Targett found the head of Austin. Charlie headed it down but Heaton dived full length to tip it round the post. It was a terrific save that has drawn comparisons with Banks from Pele in 1970. Austin met the resulting corner but headed over.
Saints continued to press. Redmond had 2 shots blocked before Tadić drew another save from Heaton. On 12m Charlie was fouled but, before the free kick could be taken, Mike Dean’s attention was drawn to Matt Targett who had gone down, clutching the back of his thigh. The physios confirmed Targett was unable to carry on and he was replaced by a Saints debutant, Sam McQueen.
As McQueen eased himself into the match, Burnley began to enjoy a bit of possession. First Lowton got down the right but overhit his cross. On 19m Ward charged down the other flank and found Vokes at the near post. The big striker hit it first time but Fraser watched it go beyond his post. Burnley were getting little joy going forward as demonstrated by Hendrick’s awful long range punt that sailed into the Chapel End.
On 24m Tadić ballooned a cross beyond the back post and Charlie, retreating, got in McQueen’s way. The youngster was not discouraged and his influence began to grow. His beautiful left wing cross was headed clear by Keane.
On 29m Defour fouled Redmond and was booked. Burnley then got forward and forced Fraser into a huge kick downfield. This turned into a wonderful pass as Tadić ran beyond the defenders. A better first touch might have seen him score - Heaton was almost on top of the Serb to smother his shot.
On 33m Gudmundsson went over Virgil’s outstretched leg in our box. The referee waved it away but (obviously) Sean Dyche saw it as a clear penalty. Indeed, you’ve seen them given.
Saints immediately broke downfield and a beautiful Tadić pass saw Charlie free on the left. The striker made a pig’s breakfast of the chance, first getting the ball caught under his feet then snatching at his shot and sticking it wide.
Sky’s studio pundits were Jamie Rdnpp and Le Tiss. They agreed that one of Charlie’s great strengths is not being put off by missing chances. He keeps making the runs, keeps looking for opportunities to score and never hides. This was well demonstrated moments later as Charlie almost latched onto a neat through-ball by Alfa.
Heaton’s alertness was tested again on 37m when Redmond tried to beat him at his near post. Saints wasted the resulting corner. Then Fonte fouled Boyd allowing Burnley to send their big defenders forward. Saints cleared leaving Mee and Keane stranded upfield and Charlie again chased the ball down the left flank.
It is generally recognised that Burnley’s record signing, Steven Defour, has been their most influential player this season. The Belgian chased down Austin and made a crucial interception – before collapsing holding his leg. Burnley’s physios confirmed he too would have to come off. His replacement was Aussie teenager Aiden O’Neill.
Saints continued to attack. Redmond curled a shot beyond the post before Charlie met Martina’s cross but headed wide. On 45m Fonte’s header caused panic in the Burnley ranks with Keane hacking it out. The corner came out to Clasie who turned it into Redmond’s path. The striker drove into the box and stung Heaton’s hands with a cross shot. As ever, Charlie was poaching at the far post, but was unable to sort his feet out in time to score.
There were 4 added minutes, during which time Boyd needed treatment after a challenge with Fonte. In the dying moments, Virgil hit a powerful drive that Heaton clutched into his chest. It was half-time and still 0-0.
Saints began the 2nd half on the front foot. On 49m a quite exquisite move ended with a horribly sliced shot by Martina. Then Tadić was booked for fouling Mee. Unusually the free kick was missed by Virgil, but Austin was covering and put the ball out. He then rose to clear the corner kick.
Saints went back on the attack and on 52m, Davis won a corner on the right. Tadić hit the ball long where Virgil got up to head it back across goal. It hit Romeu and dropped to Austin. The striker’s first attempt came back off the shins of Vokes but Charlie stuck the rebound in to give Saints the lead: 1-0.
Burnley had to become more adventurous. They got certainly got forward, but had little success delivering a final ball. This gave Saints a little more room in attacking areas and on 57m, Tadić skinned 2 defenders on the right – then overran the ball.
McQueen was relishing his first team debut and on 60m delivered a lovely pass to Redmond wide left. He found Tadić whose fierce drive was turned over by Heaton. The corner went beyond the Saints running towards the near post and fell towards Redmond who had created space between him and Marney. He met the dropping ball with a right foot volley, guiding it beyond both defender and keeper on the line and into the back of the net: 2-0 Saints.
Saints were rampant. Tadić played in McQueen who tested Heaton with a fierce cross shot. Then Boyd gave the ball away to Davis whose shot was charged down. On 65m Sky put up a caption showing Saints had enjoyed 78% possession since the break. Moments later, Tadić again sent McQueen into the box but this time the full-back went over under Gudmondsson’s challenge. Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Charlie took it and sent Heaton the wrong way: 3-0.
On 68m Marney was carded for a nasty tackle on Virgil. Then Romeu drove forward. His forward pass was played back into his stride and his shot drew another save from Heaton. Both sides then brought on substitutes – Kightly replaced Gudmondsson and Rodriguez came on for Austin.
Burnley then won a couple of corners. Fonte headed the first out but as the second came over Mike Dean again signalled a penalty. Sky’s commentators were flummoxed but replays suggested Tadić had got in Ben Mee’s way. The big defender went over and that was enough for the referee. Vokes struck the ball sweetly enough: 3-1.
With Sky desperately trying to talk up Burnley’s chances of further closing the gap, Saints wrested back control of the match. Redmond had another shot blocked before Alfa fired another over from range. Tadic was looking almost unplayable at times and on 79m clipped a lovely ball just millimetres beyond Jay Rod.
Moments after replacing Boyd with Bamford, Burnley won a corner off of Virgil. As the kick came in the lino’s flag went up – it had curled out of play. At the other end Tadić shot over. Then Davis drove forward, executed a neat one-two with Martina, before shooting just wide.
On 87m JWP replaced Redmond who got a deserved standing ovation. Saints won a corner which Fonte rose and headed just inches wide. Then Ward-Prowse drew another decent save from Heaton with a curling shot.
In the 5 added minutes Saints continued to attack. McQueen created a great chance for Jay Rod but his shot bounced up allowing Heaton to parry. On 93m Burnley won a free kick for Alfa’s foul on Kightly. Virgil’s headed clearance fell to Lowton who smashed a shot well wide. In the last minute Heaton made two further saves to bring his total to 11. That, and Saints 34 shots on goal, are both Premier League records this season.
It finished 3-1. Jay Rodriguez swapped shirts with his old mate Sam Vokes. Saints are looking in good shape for their rather tougher upcoming fixtures. Burnley are still seeking league points away from Turf Moor.
MoM: For the second time running, I’m struggling to pick one of the Saints because so many of them played well. Quinn gave it to Charlie but any number of the home side might have warranted it. However, this match only remained a match because of the heroics of Burnley’s keeper. Without his excellent display the Clarets would have been buried, so my MoM is Tom Heaton.
17 van Dijk
33 Targett (McQueen 14')
11 Tadic - Booked 49'
10 Austin (Rodriguez 71')
22 Redmond (Ward-Prowse 88')
25 Berg Gudmundsson (Kightly 70')
8 Marney - Booked 68'
16 Defour - Booked 30' (O'Neill 41')
21 Boyd (Bamford 81')
Austin 52', 66' (Pen)
Vokes 72' (Pen)
Referee : Mike Dean
Attendance : 29,040
Shots on Target