On tuesday night Southampton demolished Huddersfield Town 5-0 at St Mary’s stadium with one of their most convincing performances to date this season.
Coming into the match both teams were in good form; Huddersfield unbeaten in 11 League One games and Southampton with five successive home wins under their belt, the most recent of which a 5-1 pasting of Walsall just three days prior to the fixture.
Southampton began the game with attacking intent, with manager Alan Pardew choosing to start both his in form strikers; Rickie Lambert and Lee Barnard. This paid dividends as Lambert opened the scoring with a powerful header on 16 minutes, and Barnard nodded in a cross from Elvis Hammond eight minutes later to find the net for the fifth time in four games.
After joning from Southend in the january transfer window Barnard had failed to score in his first five appearances, but his recent goalscoring streak suggests the striker has now settled into the squad.
Southampton continued to control the game and despite Town’s top scorer Jordan Rhodes coming close with two headers, Jason Puncheon hit Saints’ third of the half after cutting in from the right wing and striking a curling effort inside the far post.
The visitors found a better passing rythm in the second half, but still struggled to create chances. Dean Hammond made it 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining, before substitute Papa Waigo N’Diaye rounded off the victory with a superb solo effort. Recieving the ball just outside Huddersfield’s box, he jinked past a defender before turning the keeper and slotting calmly into the back of the net.
There is now a great deal of specualtion both amongst fans and in the press as to whether with 14 games remaining Southampton can accumulate enough points to make the play-offs and mount a promotion challenge.
Currently 14 points outside the top six with two games in hand, they will need a quite a few more performaces like this one if they are to manage it.