Lambert hat-trick keeps Saints supreme at home

Southampton 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0

St Mary's

Rickie Lambert scored his second hat-trick of the season yesterday to keep Southampton five points clear at the top of the Championship. A powerful far-post header and two penalties brought his total to 14 goals, 12 in the League – four better than any other player in the division, and good going for a 29-year-old playing at this level for the first time in his career.

"He's looking fit, sharp and hungry and he's scoring good goals," Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager said.

The victory was Southampton's 20th in succession at home. Not since Manchester United won an FA Cup fourth-round tie here on 29 January have Southampton failed to win in front of their own fans, and they have scored in every match this season.

Brighton, who beat Southampton to last season's League One title, had hopes of repeating last season's draw in the fixture. But their cause was not helped by indiscipline on the part of Mauricio Taricco, their defender and assistant manager, whose red card for dissent after the award of the first of Lambert's penalties left Brighton with 10 men for most of the second half.

While Gustavo Poyet, the Brighton manager, would not excuse his assistant's actions without reading the referee's report, he was seething about the penalty, which he described as "embarrassing – it was half a yard, a yard, outside the box. It was game over. I thought at 1-0 there would be a chance sooner or later, but they are the best team in the League."

Such a comfortable victory for Southampton had seemed highly improbable after a tight and almost chanceless first half as Brighton kept possession and none of Southampton's usual barrage of crosses produced a chance to force a save from Steve Harper.

Sooner or later, though, one had to find a target, and it happened two minutes into the second half. Right-back Frazer Richardson cut inside and crossed left-footed for Lambert, who easily outjumped Taricco and Noone to head in.

"We wanted the full-backs to get forward and Rickie to pull off [the central defenders]; that was a goal we had worked on," Adkins said.

After 57 minutes Southampton were 2-0 and a man up. Jose Fonte's forward run was ended by Lewis Dunk's trip and Lambert converted the penalty, but not before Taricco had manged to argue himself into a dismissal. The Argentinian had also been sent off for dissent on his debut for Brighton last season.

Lambert completed his hat-trick in the 70th minute with his 14th goal of the campaign, another penalty, after the referee, Peter Walton, judged that he had been fouled by Inigo Calderon.

Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; Chaplow, Cork, Hammond (Schneiderlin, 61), Lallana (De Ridder, 77); Guly Do Prado (Barnard, 82), Lambert.

Brighton (4-2-1-3): Harper; Taricco, Greer, Dunk, Painter; Bridcutt, Navarro (Sparrow, 66); Harley (Calderon, 58); Noone, Paynter (Barnes, 66), Mackail-Smith.

Referee Peter Walton.

Man of the match Lambert (Southampton).

Match rating 5/10.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star