Southampton have extended their run of home victories to a record breaking 21 games, as they came from a goal behind to beat a resilient Hull City 2-1 at the St Mary’s Stadium tonight.
Two goals from Guly Do Prado and Adam Lallana was more than enough to see off the Tigers, after Robert Koren scored the opener towards the end of the first half.
Tributes were made to the late Gary Speed before kick-off, as a minutes applause was conducted in remembrance for the late ex-Leeds and Newcastle midfielder.
Saints started on the front foot, after snappy midfield play led to Morgan Schneiderlin wasting an opportunity to take an early lead when his shot from close range was spilled by Hull keeper Peter Gulasci but gathered quickly.
Hull put a lot of pressure on Southampton’s back four, with full back Liam Rosenior’s pace causing a lot of damage down the right flank.
With the half coming to the end, the Saints had a number of chances to break the deadlock, with Guly Do Prado squandering several headers wide of the target.
However Hull’s patience and hard work paid off, when a fine cross from Tom Cairney was met by the head of Slovenian international Robert Koren, who slotted the ball into the top corner to claim his 4th goal of the season.
Southampton returned to the field after the half time interval looking fresher and more determined. Looking comfortable on the ball, they threatened Hull’s defence immensely and within three minutes of the restart, they got their reward.
The introduction to crowd favourite Steve De Ridder proved influential, as an early cross by the Belgian winger was headed on by Lambert, falling to the fluorescent boot of Guly Do Prado who made no mistake in blasting the ball high into the net from 12 yards out.
The equaliser gave the Reds the confidence boost they strived for 48 minutes, and they looked like a side capable of attacking with intent.
The winner was in sight for the league leaders, and an adventurous run by Saints full back Frazier Richardson was complemented by a fine cross, and who else to fly in but Adam Lallana whose precise header found the bottom corner.
Hull pressed for an equaliser, and goalscorer Robert Koren curled a shot just wide of the post to scare the home supporters.
The final 20 minutes proved to be a tense period for the Southampton faithful, but on the 79th minute a high tackle by Hull midfielder Robbie Brady on Dan Harding meant the youngster was heading for an early shower. A straight red produced by referee Oliver Langford, the Saints gained control of the match to see out the stubborn visitors.
A hard earned victory meant that Southampton would remain at the top of the table, as West Ham beat promotion contenders Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside. The defeat meant Hull City would drop three places to 10th, losing vital points as they push for the play-offs.