Southampton 4 Newcastle 0 match report: Jay Rodriguez opens floodgates for rampant Saints
Rodriguez's double sandwiched goals from Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana as all three boost World Cup credentials
Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, must have wished his stadium ban had continued for one more match. Back in the ground where he began Southampton’s climb back from administration to their present success, Pardew was still denied access to the touchline, but he had a perfect view from the stands of a woeful surrender by his team, and a dominant performance by the home side and their goalscoring England trio of Jay Rodriguez , Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.
With only eighth and ninth place in the Premier League at stake, this must have looked like the perfect low-key, end-of-season game for Andre Marriner after the referee’s aberration last week at Chelsea, when he sent off the wrong man. But Saints looked hungry, and deservedly overtook a lethargic Newcastle, losing for the third time in four matches.
Only their goalkeeper, Rob Elliot, understudying the injured Tim Krul, prevented complete humiliation, while a goal was never on the agenda in the continuing absence through injury of Loïc Rémy.
“If you never threaten the opposition they are going to keep coming and that’s what Southampton did,” Pardew said. “They played very well and made it difficult for us. The difference in energy levels was marked. Our fans left [Newcastle] at 5.30am and have seen a performance that isn’t us.”
As for Marriner, there were few controversial moments – although he should have shown at least a yellow card to Newcastle’s Papiss Cissé for an over-the-top foul on Calum Chambers. The only danger of mistaken identity was that someone might confuse the visitors’ back four with a Premier League rearguard – not that there was much possibility of that.
Right-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa set the tone by misjudging Steven Davis’s early diagonal pass, but Rodriguez could only find the side-netting, as he did with a leaping header from Chambers’s cross. Lallana headed a good chance wide and Elliot saved from Lallana and Lambert, twice, saving his best for a close-range effort from Rodriguez.
The Saints finally landed a knock-out blow in first-half injury time, when goalkeeper Artur Boruc’s throw allowed Davis’s quick pass over the top to find Lambert and Rodriguez onside as Yanga-Mbiwa was slow to come out, Lambert setting Rodriguez up with a chance he could not miss.
At the interval Pardew took off Yanga-Mbiwa and Hatem Ben Arfa, who had shown scant interest in tracking the runs of Luke Shaw. But it made no difference whatsoever, as Lallana found Lambert unmarked where Yanga-Mbiwa’s replacement, Davide Santon, should have been, and he scored with ease.
After 71 minutes Jack Cork bulldozed through two tackles in midfield and Lallana almost took out the back of the net from 25 yards with his left foot. A Rodriguez header hit the post and Elliot saved miraculously again from James Ward-Prowse and Lambert before Rodriguez turned inside Santon to shoot under Elliot.
It rounded off Southampton’s biggest win of the season – “An amazing performance,” according to Mauricio Pochettino, their manager. “I’m happy for the fans,” he said. “And not just because of the win but for the way we played. We made a hero of their keeper.”
Southampton (4-3-3): Boruc; Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; S Davis (Schneiderlin, 72), Cork, Ward-Prowse; Lallana (Gallagher, 90), Lambert (Ramirez, 83), Rodriguez.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Elliot; Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon, h-t), Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara; Tioté, Anita; Ben Arfa (De Jong, h-t), Sissoko (Dummett, 79), Gouffran; Cissé.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Man of the match: Elliot (Newcastle)
Match rating: 7/10
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