Southampton vs. West Bromwich Albion: Final score 0-3, Baggies crush woeful Saints

Paul Gilham

Romelu Lukaku ran riot at St. Mary's, inspiring West Brom to a 3-0 win in a match that saw three players sent off.

Southampton have impressed at home in recent months, but they were no match for a West Bromwich Albion side in an attacking mood. The Saints went behind early, conceded once more in the second half and then went into meltdown mode, finishing the match with just nine players -- and a 3-0 loss.

The visitors began the match in explosive fashion, and although Artur Boruc put off conceding the opening goal for a few seconds when he denied Lukaku one-one-one, he couldn't keep out Marc-Antoine Fortune from the corner. Lukaku made up for his miss by winning a key header on the middle of the box, and the ball fell for Fortune to poke past the keeper at the third attempt, a desperate clearance attempt failing to convince referee Robert Madley that the shot hadn't crossed the line.

The rest of the half was one of missed Baggies chances. Although Southampton had their chances -- they nearly had an equaliser when Gareth McAuley met a free kick with a looping header that almost ended up as an own goal -- the hosts were very much on the back foot, and had real problems containing the attacking trio of Lukaku, Fortune and Shane Long.

Had the first of that troika in particular had his shooting boots on, the halftime score would have been very different. Lukaku was having his way with Saints' defence, but Boruc stonewalled him on two further great opportunities. They were good saves, but the striker's finishing was clearly off. He'd make up for it later.

Southampton were forced to push bodies forward in an attempt to close the gap, and that was just what West Brom wanted. The visitors were able to break into space, and this time Lukaku, picked out by Fortune, had no intention of allowing Boruc to deny him. The Belgian took a touch to round the stopper before finishing calmly into the empty net.

Then the match got a little bit absurd. Despite the goal, the second half had been pretty quiet, but Gaston Ramirez decided to liven things up by punching Shane Long in the face on the run. Fortune reacted with a shove on the the Southampton man, and both men ends up seeing red after an extended scuffle.

James Morrison should have extended West Brom's lead after Lukaku annihilated Nathaniel Clyne one on one and pulled it back for the midfielder, but a timely intervention turned a certain goal into a corner. Happily for the visitors, Long would make up for it shortly thereafter, nutmegging Boruc after being put through by Lukaku.

The action wasn't done, however -- Southampton would pick up another red card when Danny Fox went into Steven Reid with a two-footed challenge. It was an ugly end to an ugly match, but 3-0 was no more than either side deserved.

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