Saints go marching into the Premier League with walkover against Coventry
Southampton 4 Coventry 0
Southampton secured their return to the Barclays Premier League after
a seven-year absence with a comfortable win against already relegated
Goals from Billy Sharp and Jose Fonte in the first half and Jos Hooiveld and Adam Lallana after the break gave a record St Mary's crowd the result they had been eagerly hoping for.
The home side dominated from start to finish, rarely allowing their lowly guests a sight of goal.
And Southampton could well have won by more, but Rickie Lambert and Guly Do Prado both wasted golden opportunities in front of goal.
For manager Nigel Adkins and the players and coaching staff at the south coast club those misses will not have mattered.
As, almost three years to the day after a 10-point deduction effectively consigned them to relegation to League One, the Saints are marching back into the top flight.
Coventry enjoyed the first two sights of goal early on but Carl Baker ballooned his effort over the crossbar when well placed inside the area and Kelvin Davis in the Southampton goal got down well to deny Gary McSheffrey.
And having squandered such glorious chances in the first 10 minutes, the Sky Blues were made to pay as the Saints stormed into the lead.
On 17 minutes, Fonte burst out of his own area and teed up Do Prado on the right and, when the Brazilian's cross was met by Lallana's volley, Sharp was on hand to redirect the ball past Coventry keeper Joe Murphy.
Nerves settled, Southampton quickly went about their demolition job and edged further in front.
Danny Fox's corner from the right picked out Fonte, who outmuscled his marker to bury a header beyond Murphy. St Mary's went ballistic.
Baker tested Davis once more before half-time, in a rare foray forward for the visitors, while Lambert saw his goalbound effort blocked by Martin Cranie.
The second half picked up exactly where the first had left off, with Southampton in utter control.
Do Prado headed over from Danny Butterfield's cross and Lambert's fizzing effort went within inches of adding a third for the hosts.
But soon the Saints could start celebrating on the terraces, as the home side pushed themselves out of sight.
Fox's right-wing corner broke to Sharp and, after the striker's initial attempt was blocked, Hooiveld was on hand to scramble the ball home.
Pressure now fully released, Southampton had the liberty to run wild.
It did not take long for a fourth goal to arrive. This time it was Lallana's turn to get on the scoresheet, tapping home from close range after Lambert nodded the ball back across goal.
As time ran out, and the fans assembled pitchside for the inevitable end-of-match invasion, the hosts continued to press.
And while their heroes were unable to add to their afternoon's haul, come the final whistle the supporters did not care.
The Saints go marching on.
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.