The Saints pulled themselves out of the drop zone at Newcastle's expense with a 2-0 home victory that shouldn't have been as close as it was
Southampton defeated Newcastle United 2-0 at the St. Mary's Stadium, but the match was never that close. Goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez were the difference, but Soton could have netted three or four more goals if not for the woodwork. With the victory, the Saints pulled themselves out of the drop zone for the moment.
Southampton statistically dominated the first half at an amazing level. We're talking the kind of numbers you expect to see from lopsided Champions League match or on a video game when you're both a skilled player and using Barcelona against Luton Town (sorry Luton, it was the first team that came to mind).
The Saints out shot Newcastle 12-1 and controlled by possession by better than 10%. Of course, we all know the only stat that really matter is the scoreboard and Southampton led there two, if not at the same high level.
Nathaniel Clyne's rather ambitious long range effort was partially cleared by Michael Williamson, right to Southampton's Gaston Ramirez. Ramirez took advantage of the fact that Tim Krul had come way off his line on the initial shot and quickly found Adam Lallana behind the keeper who tapped the ball in to the empty net.
More of the same in the second half as Southampton extended their lead in the 60th minute.
Jason Puncheon played the ball in to Lallana and made a quick run behind him in to the box, receiving a clever back heel from the midfielder before centering the ball towards the goal. Krul stopped the pass, but bobbled the ball allowing Ramirez to pounce on the rebound and give Soton some breathing room at 2-0.
Puncheon almost got a goal of his own in the 69th minute, making a great run on the left side of the Newcastle box, but his shot slammed off the post and away from danger.
The Magpies nearly pulled one back in the 73rd minute but Davide Santon's goal bound header was pushed away at the last moment with a tremendous save from Paulo Gazzaniga. The Saints came ever so close again in the 81st minute as Jose Fonte's free header in the box hit the cross bar.
Soton had a goal disallowed in the 89th minute after Jay Rodriguez was ruled offside on Puncheon's through ball. Replays seemed to show that Rodriguez was not behind the last defender, but alas, the linesman made the call and Newcastle's pride was saved, ever so slightly.
Newcastle remain in 14th place in the table and haven't won a match since a 2-1 defeat of West Brom on October 28th.