(Charlie Austin x2, Nathan Redmond)
St Mary’s Stadium
Southampton playing on Sunday opened up a bumper weekend of football as I joined a good friend from university for game 41 of the season.
People often ask me if I am a Southampton fan but my answer is usually mixed. I am a Crewe Alexandra fan first and foremost, however, having lived in Southampton for four years now I do follow the Saints and go to games when I can, however for the price of one Premier League game, I could go to a handful of non-league football matches.
For my comments on St Mary’s please take a look at my first article from their pre season friendly with Espanyol; Travelling To- Southampton.
Also take a look at these pieces from my other two visits this season.
Charlie Austin’s brace against former club Burnley moved Southampton into eighth but Sam Vokes’ penalty ruined Southampton’s run of seven straight games without conceding a goal.
Austin bagged either side of a Nathan Redmond strike before Vokes scored a consolation from the penalty spot.
With just five minutes on the clock, Burnley ‘keeper Tom Heaton had to be alert to save well low in the corner to deny Austin scoring from a header.
Saints were dealt an early blow when Matt Targett went down with an injury with just 15 minutes played, allowing Sam McQueen to come on for his Premier League debut.
Burnley were keeping men behind the ball as they were pegged into their own box as Southampton dominated possession. Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond both had efforts blocked before Heaton was alert again to keep out Tadic’s effort.
The visitors did manage to break forward on 20 minutes but Sam Vokes wasn’t able to put his shot on target from Stephen Ward’s cross. Jeff Hendrick then missed a chance for the Clarets when he fired high over the bar.
Tadic had a great chance to take the lead for Saints when a long punt up the field from Fraser Forster evaded everyone and the onrushing Serbian made a mess of his first touch and Heaton managed to collect.
Heaton was putting in a shift when he parried Redmond’s bullet strike from a tight angle as Southampton continued the onslaught.
Burnley then had to make a change just before the break when Belgium international Steven Defour had to make way for Aiden O’Neil due to injury.
Saints did take the lead just after the restart when some poor defending from a corner allowed Austin to poke in from close range. Virgil Van Dijk got the first header from the set piece and as Burnley failed to clear, Austin popped up to score against his former employers.
Burnley didn’t learn from their mistakes on the hour mark when Redmond smashed in a half volley into the bottom corner from another corner. Steven Davis had put the ball in and it went over everyone and Redmond hit it first time after a bounce and into the bottom corner.
It was game over on 65 minutes when referee Mike Dean awarded Southampton a penalty as McQueen burst into the box and was hauled over by Johann Berg Gudmundsson. Austin stepped up to continue his scoring form to give Saints and unassailable three-goal lead.
Three goals in 12 minutes was a massive blow for the away side who had shown very little in front of goal and it looked like the Greater Manchester outfit would return north empty handed.
However, the Clarets were offered a glimmer of hope on 72 minutes when Tadic fouled Ben Mee in the box when defending a corner, giving Dean no choice but to award the spot kick.
Wales international Vokes stepped up and fired in past Forster, ending any hopes that Southampton could go seven games in a row without conceding a goal.
Southampton continued to dominate the game in the closing stages and could have added to the score however Heaton put in a sterling display to deny Tadic and substitute and former Claret Jay Rodriguez to end the game 3-1.
2016/17 Games: 41
2016/17 Grounds: 38
Total Grounds Visited: 173