A first Premier League goal for James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle’s first league goal since December saw Southampton dig deep to overcome a physical Hull side. Ronald Koeman’s team now rise to fifth, whilst the visitors are still precariously positioned above the relegation zone. The one downside for Koeman was Victor Wanyama picking up his tenth yellow card of the season, meaning he’ll miss the games against Stoke and Tottenham.
Saints could have taken the lead within the first minute, as Shane Long pounced on a loose backpass, however he ran the ball out whilst trying to round Steve Harper. But it was Hull who looked more likely to score early on, with the hosts looking lethargic. Sone Aluko forced a save from Kelvin Davis, but in truth the Southampton stopper never really looked troubled. Aluko had a couple of efforts which went wide and a Tom Huddlestone free-kick summed up the Tiger’s shocking form in front of goal. The hosts’ only clear-cut chance of the first half came when Shane Long almost capitalised on a James Chester slip, instead teeing up Graziano Pelle who was denied well by Harper.
Steve Bruce was left angered by the referee as Graziano Pelle appeared to move his forearm in to the face of Alex Bruce. In real time it appeared fairly inconspicuous, however Kevin Friend awarded the Italian a yellow card, despite the Hull players’ protests.
The breakthrough finally came as Long burst through and was brought down by Bruce. Sadio Mane picked the ball up, but after a word from Jose Fonte, the duty fell to Ward-Prowse. The twenty year old handled the pressure in an impressive manner, firing the penalty home in a Rickie Lambert-esque fashion for his first Saints goal since 2012. The importance of this goal was emphasised as just minutes earlier, Kelvin Davis had been forced in to an excellent reflex save to prevent Jake Livermore’s low effort that was hit through a crowd of players.
James Chester almost equalised for Hull, as he rose highest from a corner, only to see Ryan Bertrand clear the ball off the line. But the result didn’t ever really look in danger, and it was confirmed with 9 minutes remaining. Dusan Tadic played through Schneiderlin, who unselfishly played it across for Pelle to fire home from 6 yards.
With Tottenham losing against Aston Villa, the victory sees Saints move up to fifth, however Liverpool could overtake them on Monday when they play Newcastle. Hull remain seventeenth, just two points above the relegation zone with six games remaining.
Southampton: K. Davis 8; Alderweireld 7, Fonte 8, Yoshida 7, Bertrand 7; Wanyama 6 (Ward-Prowse, 45, 7), Schneiderlin 6; Long 8 (Elia, 74), S. Davis 7, Mane 6 (Tadic, 61, 6); Pelle 7
Unused: Gazzaniga, Targett, Clyne, Reed
Hull City: Harper 7; Chester 6 (Diame, 64, 6), Dawson 6, Bruce 5, McShane 6; El Mohamady 5, Livermore 7, Huddlestone 7 (Sagbo, 74, 6), Quinn 5; N’Doye 5, Aluko 5 (Hernandez, 84)
Unused: McGregor, Rosenior, Brady, Robertson
Referee: Kevin Friend