Southampton came from behind to beat Sheffield United 3-1 on the final day of the season.
A second half double from Che Adams, as well as a penalty from Golden Boot hopeful Danny Ings, ensured the Saints finished two points off the top half against a Blades side which have looked out of sorts since the resumption of football after the lockdown.
The St Mary’s side dominated the game overall again, with 72% possession, but it was Sheffield United who took the lead in the first half. John Lundstram pounced on a chance from close range after a poor clearance from Jannik Vestergaard to give the Blades – who suffered two defeats in a row prior to this game and consequently missed out on European qualification – a first half lead.
The lead was deserved – United had chances to go even further ahead and capitalize on Southampton’s generally poor home form this season. Indeed it was Lundstram again who had a great chance to double up but for a brilliant save from in-form ‘keeper Alex McCarthy.
The Saints will have been disappointed as their post-lockdown form has been good, but it is worth remembering that they have the second-worst record at home this season (only bottom side Norwich have picked up fewer points at their own ground). However, the second half read like a completely different story.
Che Adams, whose first Premier League goal for the Saints came from THAT incredible strike against Manchester City a few weeks ago, slotted home early in the second half after seizing on a loose ball to fire past England hopeful Dean Henderson, who will return to his parent club Manchester United now.
Adams gave the Saints the lead midway through the second half with another cool finish into the corner of Dean Henderson’s goal.
Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side put the game to bed from the penalty spot as Danny Ings, who was chasing the Golden Boot (eventually falling to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy), got his 22nd goal of the season – just one behind the Foxes’ striker.
The Saints’ season was wrapped up with an 11th placed finish, which looked impossible when Leicester won 9-0 at St Mary’s, and a strike force which looks dangerous going into the new season. United, who finish in 9th – their best ever Premier League result – will be disappointed as the Champions League was well within their reach before lockdown.
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Armstrong (Smallbone 30′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu (Obafemi 90’+1′), Redmond, Adams (Long 85′), Ings. Unused Subs: Gunn, Vokins, Bednarek, Danso, Valery.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham (Norwood 80′), Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Lundstram, Berge, Fleck, Stevens (booked), McBurnie (Zivkovic 51′), Sharp (Clarke 70′). Unused Subs: Jagielka, Freeman, Osborne, Moore, Rodwell.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Che Adams (Southampton)
Referee: Peter Bankes.