Southampton have now won just one Premier League game in ten after suffering yet another defeat – 3-2 at the hands of Newcastle.
Goals from loanee Takumi Minamino and captain James Ward-Prowse brought the Saints close to a comeback but it wasn’t to be at the empty St James’ Park.
Southampton made four changes from their hefty drubbing at Old Trafford; full-back Kayne Ramsay and midfielder Moussa Djenepo were dropped to the bench. Stuart Armstrong was out through injury and Alex Jankewitz, after his horror debut in the 9-0 defeat, was suspended. Jan Vestegaard, Oriol Romeu and Nathan Redmond all came in to try and steady the ship along with debutant Takumi Minamino, who the Saints signed on loan from Liverpool on Deadline Day. Meanwhile, Steve Bruce brought strength into his line-up with Allan Saint-Maximin and another Deadline Day signing – Joe Willock – starting this game.
Newcastle came fighting right from the off, with a high pressing style putting pressure on a vulnerable and nervous Saints defence. Shots from Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson both evidenced that Newcastle were the stronger side from the off.
The ball was in the back of the net when Wilson met Willock’s nod-on, but this was rightly ruled out for offside.
More scrappy, end-to-end football ensued but it was Newcastle who took an early lead. Allan Saint-Maximin’s darting run down the left hand side and his cut into the area allowed the Frenchman to cut the ball back to loanee Joe Willock who coolly placed the ball in past McCarthy.
The dejected Southampton defence was barely putting up a fight up until this goal and there were very few chances up front for the visitors, too. Indeed after this goal, the hosts continued to pile on more worry – the attack-minded line-up of Jonjo Shelvey, Wilson, Miguel Almiron, and Saint-Maximin was proving tough to handle.
The only complaint Newcastle will have from the first half is their players dropping like flies. Javier Manquillo, Saint-Maximin and Wilson all hobbled around forcing Steve Bruce to make a couple of changes before half time.
A chance for Danny Ings – saved by the feet of Karl Darlow – was something the former would come to rue missing as Newcastle shortly doubled their lead. Almiron’s shot was blocked by Jan Bednarek and it went down as an own goal for the centre-back as the ball bounced off his leg and into his own net. For the second time in just a few days, Bednarek’s name was on the scoresheet – at the wrong end (though it was later marked down as Almiron’s goal).
Saints fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst again here, but bright play which saw Ryan Bertrand feed the ball through to Takumi Minamino and the loanee finished high into the roof of Darlow’s net – and it didn’t look like this game was going to be one that would stay at 2-1.
The injuries seemed to stunt Newcastle’s momentum, so it was against the run of play that they got a third goal. The hosts were building possession and giving themselves chances but it came from an admittedly silly error from McCarthy. His simple clearance caught Bertrand off guard, and Almiron found himself with lots of green ahead of him. It ended up being a simple finish for the Spaniard, which meant that the Toon went into the half time break with their two-goal cushion restored.
Straight from the kick-off, it looked likely this game would play host to even more goals. Jonjo Shelvey had a chance with a first-time hit thanks to a great ball from Willock, but this ended up being fired well wide.
Now, a James Ward-Prowse free-kick generally has a regular routine – ending in the back of the net. This was no different up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; 30 yards or so was nothing as the Englishman curled the ball into the back of the net. Southampton have, without a doubt, one of the best free-kick takers on their books, shown here.
The craziness continued when this game had yet another dramatic event. Jeff Hendrick – booked in the first half – was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card thanks to a relatively cheap tug on Minamino. Not only were Newcastle missing their starters through in-game injuries but were now down to 10 men. Hasenhuttl was probably hoping that this was the chance to change Southampton’s fortunes.
Karl Darlow had his work cut out as the out-of-form visitors ramped up the pressure. Ings struck the post, Vestegaard’s header was saved by the home side’s ‘keeper, Adams’ finish (ruled out for offside).
Newcastle – having used all three of their substitutes – were down to nine men as Fabien Schar went down injured after taking a free kick after 80 minutes.
Chucking on Dan N’Lundulu in place of Stephens was another desperate attempt to claw something back from the visitors who, depsite playing through six minutes of added time, could not find an equaliser.
This was the Saints’ fifth consecutive defeat in the league – they haven’t had a record like this since 1998. They now face a double header against Wolves in the FA Cup and League in the hope of changing their fortunes which they need to do – fast.
FT: Newcastle 3-2 SOUTHAMPTON (Willock 16′, Almiron 26′, 45’+4′) (Minamino 30′, Ward-Prowse 48′)
Newcastle: Darlow, Manquillo (Krafth 24′ (booked)), Hayden, Schar (off injured 79′), Lewis, Willock, Hendrick (booked x2, sent off), Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Dummett 67′), Almiron, Wilson (Joelinton 36′). Unused Subs: Dubravka, Carroll, Ritchie, Gayle, Fraser, Anderson
Southampton: McCarthy, Vestegaard, Bednarek (booked), Stephens (N’Lundulu 81′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Minamino, Bertrand, Redmond, Adams, Ings. Unused Subs: Forster, Djenepo, Salisu, Tella, Ramsay, Finnigan, Watts, Chauke.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Karl Darlow (Newcastle)
Referee: Craig Pawson