Two teams who have been struggling to score each turned up with an old-fashioned pair of strikers.
The twist was that Burnley’s Danny Ings and Sam Vokes are both south coast boys who grew up supporting Southampton.
However the homecoming turned into another bad road-trip for their team. Vokes had the better chances but was thwarted three times before half-time by saves from Kelvin Davis, the 38-year-old substitute goalkeeper on early on because of an injury to Fraser Forster, who was taken to hospital for a scan on his knee and seems unavailable – as Ben Foster is – for England on Friday.
Burnley’s manager Sean Dyche said: “I’m disappointed with the finishing.” He was equally upset at not being given a penalty when the game was goalless after Jose Fonte challenged George Boyd. “I’ve seen it back and it’s impossible how we didn’t get that.”
There was better luck for one of Saints’ strikers. Shane Long and Graziano Pelle started with only one goal in 25 between them but by the end of it Long (left) had taken advantage of his partner’s miskick to put the home side ahead in the 37th minute.
The lanky Pelle, dropped for the draw at Chelsea last week, looks devoid of confidence. Given a chance to end the drought before the interval, he hit the bar and, offered an invitation to head in Long’s cross in the last few minutes, barely got a touch. At least by then an own-goal by Burnley’s captain Jason Shackell had relaxed the crowd.
“The boys gave me the best present for my (52nd) birthday,” Southampton’s manager Ronald Koeman said, while admitting they had stuttered in the first half before the second went in.
The improvement came partly because Victor Wanyama was introduced at half-time, allowing Sadio Mane to move to the right.
Until then full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand had been the best attackers and each created a goal: Clyne’s shot bypassing Pelle for Long to jab in and Bertrand’s driven cross crashing in off Shackell’s knee.
Southampton: (4-2-2-2) Forster (Davis, 14); Clyne, Alderweireld, Fonte, Bertrand; Davis, Schneiderlin; Mane, Tadic (Wanyama, 45); Long, Pelle.
Burnley: (4-4-2) Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Barnes (Wallace, 82); Vokes (Jutkiewicz, 74), Ings (Sordell, 88).
Referee: Roger East
Man of the match: Davis (Southampton)
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content