Southampton 1 West Brom 0 match report: Adam Lallana’s a perfect Saint to make mother proud

West Brom's four-match unbeaten run came to an end with their new manager watching from the stands as Lallana netted winner

St Mary's

Members of the England coaching set up have been regulars at St Mary’s this season, but Roy Hodgson and the rest must have known something yesterday.

Even with a gap in the World Cup squad caused by last weekend’s injury to Theo Walcott and the chance to run the rule over some probables and possibles, they had the good sense to give this one a miss.

Adam Lallana scored the only goal of a poor game after 66 minutes, but Hodgson knows all about him, and few of the other candidates for a place on the plane to Brazil did themselves many favours.

One interested spectator was Pepe Mel, the newly-appointed West Bromwich Albion manager, who takes up his duties next week. The Spaniard saw his team defend well before Lallana’s goal but fail to trouble Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc until the dying seconds, when Shane Long missed a sitter.

 

So Southampton clung on to record only their second victory in 10 Premier League games, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the model that Albion have copied – taking on a manager who has raised hopes with a team in La Liga but then been sacked for failing to deliver on those new expectations, Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino with Espanyol and Mel with Real Betis.

“We’ve lacked solidity at the back,” Pochettino, who celebrates a year in charge of Southampton next Saturday, said. “Today we had that again after many [injury] problems, and have recovered that winning mentality. It’s great to get back to winning ways at home.

“I know [Pepe Mel] so well that he was my teacher when I got my Pro Licence with the Spanish FA. I wish him luck and I hope that he’s able to develop the playing style that he wants at West Bromwich. I hope he’s also lucky enough to find the sort of amazing squad that I was able to find here.”

West Bromwich caretaker Keith Downing’s last match in charge brought his first Premier League defeat after three draws and a victory, but he is glad to be stepping back into a support role next week. “I saw Pepe [on Friday], a warm man who wants to put some good new ideas, Spanish ideas, across and I look forward to working with him,” he said.

“I think he’d have seen us as an organised side but I think we were all disappointed with what we did with the ball. So I assume he’ll work on our possession and creativity.”

Asked whether he and Dean Kiely would remain at the club, despite reports in Spain that Mel still wants to bring in Spanish coaches to the Hawthorns, Downing said: “He has reassured me that he will embrace the current staff as we at Albion have always done.”

Albion routinely pulled nine or 10 men back behind the ball, restricting Southampton to long-range efforts. But after 66 minutes, for no apparent reason, the previously effective marking suddenly fell apart. Substitute Gaston Ramirez’ clever first-time flick inside dropped between Steven Reid and Gareth McAuley, Lallana strolling into the gap to beat Ben Foster with a low shot, his fifth Premier League goal of the season.

Lallana ran to the stand, raising his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the message ‘Happy Birthday Mum,’ but escaped the usual yellow card for displaying slogans, perhaps because the referee, Howard Webb, failed to spot it.

The key had been the introduction of Ramirez to provide a touch of the unexpected. “The substitution added dynamism and the assist for Lallana was great,” Pochettino said. “His evolution in the last month has been awesome and he’s deserving the minutes [on the pitch] he’s getting.”

Downing took off McAuley, arguably his best defender, in favour of another attacker and was almost rewarded for his bravery. But when Long met Liam Ridgewell’s perfect low cross first-time, he hit the ball straight at Boruc from six yards.

Line-ups:

Southampton (4-3-3): K Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; S Davis, Cork (Ramirez, 62), Schneiderlin; Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 83), Lambert, Rodriguez (Do Prado, 90).

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-1-1): Foster; Reid, McAuley (Gera, 80), Olsson, Ridgewell; Amalfitano (Vydra, 86), Morrison, Mulumbu, Brunt; Anelka (Berahino, 76); Long.

Referee: Howard Webb

Man of the match: Lallana (Southampton)

Match rating: 4/10

Arts and Entertainment
Masterchef cooks Tony Rodd (left), Emma Spitzer (second left) and
Simon Wood (right) posing with judges Gregg Wallace (centre) and John Torode (second right), as the three will be seen cooking their hearts out in the hopes of winning the show.
TVReview: Tired Geography teacher John Torode and shaved Scotch egg Gregg Wallace crown the champion
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week
voices
Life and Style
life
News
The Grand Palais in Paris will be transformed into a 4,000-seat cinema, with 44 double beds at the front
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road