Southampton came up with one of their best performances of the season at the Hawthorns to overcome Alan Pardew’s West Brom side, which lifted the Saints to 14th spot.
Mauricio Pellegrino named an attacking line-up, including handing record signing Guido Carrillo his first start for the Saints, with Shane Long making way. Mario Lemina was preferred to Pierre Hojbjerg and Sofiane Boufal came in for Steven Davis.
It was the Baggies who took the lead in the first five minutes from a set piece, Chris Brunt’s corner was met by Ahmed Hegazi who powered the ball into the back of the net, uncontested, and it seemed as though for Saints, it was going to be one of those games.
Southampton grew into the game, and chances fell to Boufal and Carrillo, who both came close, but it was Gabon international Mario Lemina who equalised for the Saints on the 40-minute mark, and it was an absolute beauty. Lemina picked the ball up on the edge of the box and his shot flew past a helpless Ben Foster, right into the top corner.
Three minutes later, Jack Stephens made it three goals in three games for him from James Ward-Prowse’s corner. The always-reliable Englishman whipped a beautiful inch-perfect ball in towards the near post and Stephens met it perfectly to loop it beyond Forster into the net.
Just 10 minutes after the break, Southampton were awarded a free kick, which Boufal was very keen on taking, although Ward-Prowse also wanted it. In stepped Wesley Hoedt to take the ball out of Boufal’s hands and give it to Ward-Prowse, who stepped up and placed the free kick perfectly into the corner on Foster’s side. As Ward-Prowse celebrated, Boufal was the first player to congratulate him and it was nice to see the chemistry in the squad.
Just past the 70-minute mark, West Brom set up for a tense ending as Salomon Rondon flicked a header from Brunt’s cross beyond Alex McCarthy, with the ball striking the post into the back of the net.
But, Southampton stood firm, and picked up their first win in 12 games, and found themselves out of the relegation zone. Next up is a home encounter against Paul Lambert’s revived Stoke City side, another must-win and with confidence high, the Saints should pick up three more points.