West Brom 0 Southampton 1 match report: Life is sweet for Rickie Lambert after striking second winner in a week

Striker caps his England debut winner with late goal to stun The Hawthorns

the hawthoirns

A special week in the life of Rickie Lambert got even better yesterday afternoon. Three days after heading the winning goal against Scotland on his England debut, he was at it again at the Hawthorns, snatching victory for Southampton from a match that had appeared destined to end in stalemate.

Where he had needed just two minutes and 45 seconds to score after taking the Wembley pitch on Wednesday, he had to wait until the very last to make the difference yesterday, showing confidence and ice-cool composure to drill a penalty into the bottom right-hand corner of the Albion net, giving Ben Foster no chance even though the goalkeeper had dived the right way.
Lambert had had only one-half chance during the preceding 89 minutes but his manager, Mauricio Pocchettini, said he had no doubt that the Liverpudlian, who hit 15 goals in his first top-flight campaign last term, would add another. “It’s a perfect moment for him,” he added. “He’s enjoyed a brilliant few days, but he deserves everything he’s getting because he’s a great person and a great footballer.”
Whether it should have been a penalty was open to question. Youssuf Mulumbu had just been announced as the sponsors’ man of the match when he stuck out a leg to challenge Luke Shaw as the full-back burst into the Albion box. The contact appeared minimal but Shaw went down and referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot. “I thought it was very soft. I have seen it again on a number of occasions and am still looking for the contact,” said an unhappy Steve Clarke, the Albion manager.
For Southampton, it was their first victory at the Hawthorns since 1984 and it suggested they are well equipped to avoid last season’s struggles. Then they won just one of their first 11 league matches but the fixture computer has given them a kinder start and there were promising signs from their two new signings, the £12.5m Victor Wanyama, who helped them establish early control in the midfield, and Dejan Lovren, the Croatian international centre-back signed for £8.5m from Lyon. On this showing – and one penalty-box challenge on Nicolas Anelka was outstanding – he will provide solidity to a defence that leaked goals last season. “We are a much more competitive team now,” said Pocchettino.
Perhaps their best piece of business this summer, though, might have been persuading left-back Luke Shaw to sign a new five-year contract. In the first half he ghosted past James Morrison before firing in a shot that Gareth McAuley deflected behind, and later drew a full-length stop from Foster with a 20-yard strike.
Shaw was one of three English 18-year-olds in the visitors’ lineup alongside James Ward-Prowse and debutant Calum Chambers and it was the latter’s cross that led to Adam Lallana scoring a disallowed goal just after the half-hour. Lambert nodded the ball back across goal for Lallana to score but with Jay Rodriguez in an offside position, the goal did not stand.
Rodriguez then lashed a shot against the crossbar – albeit after Lallana’s foul on Gareth McAuley – but Albion improved in the second half. Prior to that their only goal threat had been a Graham Dorrans free-kick that brushed the top of the net but now Shane Long and Morrison might both have scored from low balls into the box. 
Albion’s previous Premier League fixture had been the incredible 5-5 goal-fest with Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s farewell match, when Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick. The Belgian will be missed this season. His replacement, the 34-year-old Nicolas Anelka, may have scored seven goals in as many pre-season games but he cut a peripheral figure on his sixth club debut in English football.
Albion have now won just one of their last 10 league fixtures and not until injury time did Artur Boruc have a serious save to make when clawing away Billy Jones’ header. By then, though, a certain England centre-forward had already had his say.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate