Southampton is finally out of the bottom three, courtesy of Jason Puncheon. In a tight, hard-fought game that looked very much like an important relegation tussle, chances were tough to come by and quality in front of goal was even more rare, but the Saints were able to find one goal to topple Reading.
The first half featured chances for both teams, and a disallowed goal for Southampton. Puncheon scored on a free kick after 33 minutes, but his teammate Maya Yoshida interfered with Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici and the goal was disallowed. The Saints had a couple of other solid chances in the first half as well, with Jay Rodriguez missing from close range after two minutes, while Rickie Lambert constantly looked dangerous. Just before the stroke of halftime, Reading woke up and nearly scored the opener, with Hal Robson-Kanu striking the post.
Puncheon's winner came via a cross by right back Nathaniel Clyne, who did well to beat his man down the flank and find Puncheon in stride. The Southampton attacker finished with composure, putting his team up for good. Jobi McAnuff had a decent chance just five minutes later that he failed to make the most of, but that would be the closest Reading came to scoring for the rest of the match. Southampton finished strong and very much earned their victory.