Norwich City grabbed their first win of the season after Nathan Redmond’s sublime individual effort in the second half downed the Saints at Carrow Road.
The Canaries battled hard for the 1-0 win in a closely-fought encounter between two teams who had spent big this summer.
Chris Hughton’s side started the game brightly but Southampton had all the play as half time approached, with Adam Lallana smashing the post with a left-footed volley. However that effort was as close to scoring as the Saints came as Redmond struck in the 68th minute after picking the ball up on the left flank, cutting inside and striking a powerful effort past Artur Boruc.
On a blistering day at Carrow Road, it was the home fans who went home happy following a resolute and clinical display.
In the first half, eventual game-winner Redmond went close after just four minutes but his shot flashed just wide of Boruc’s post.
Southampton’s new striker Dani Osvaldo linked up with Rickie Lambert in Saints’ new-look attack and the duo struggled to get their partnership going in the opening half.
In the 15th minute Southampton’s Polish international Boruc pulled off a tremendous point blank save from Leroy Fer after Robert Snodgrass’ inviting cross into the six yard box. But just three minutes later the Saints felt they should have had a penalty when Bradley Johnson raised both his arms to block Lallana’s shot on the edge of the box. The replays showed that it should have been a penalty to Southampton but referee Howard Webb waved their protests away.
Moments later in the 30th minute Ricky van Wolfswinkel headed down in the box and Saints’ teenage right back Calum Chambers looked to have handled but nothing was given, as the handball shouts evened each other out.
Norwich looked composed and in control for most of the first half but as the interval approached it was the visitors who looked the most likely to break the deadlock. And they come so close to doing that in the 39th minute after James Ward-Prowse’s free kick was half cleared to Lallana 15 yards out and the skipper slammed his left-footed volley onto the post, with John Ruddy stranded in the Norwich goal
After the break Southampton again looked lively as new $22.5 million signing Osvaldo received a ball from Lallana, turned his man before sharply hitting his strike goalwards. However Ruddy parried the ball out as the Saints kept pushing for an opener.
Norwich and Southampton both looked brighter in the second period as the tempo was raised in the bright sunshine in Norfolk, however the two evenly-matched teams were somewhat cancelling each other out.
But in the 68th minute the crucial moment came as Redmond was found on the left with a raking cross-field pass from Dutchman Fer. The England Under-21 international then cut inside Chambers before accelerating past two other defenders and smashing a low shot home to put Norwich 1-0 up.
After going ahead the home side continued to flood forward as Southampton struggled to respond and despite a late rally and Danny Fox’s 86th minute shot being blocked, Norwich comfortably held on for all three points.
The win leaves the Canaries in eighth spot with four points from their first three games, while the Saints are in ninth after tasting defeat for the first time this season.
Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond; Elmander (Howson 76); van Wolfswinkel. Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Martin, Tettey, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Becchio.
Southampton: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Fox, Wanyama, Schneiderlin (S. Davis 72), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Ramírez 62), Osvaldo (Rodriguez 78), Lambert. Subs not used: K. Davis (GK), Clyne, Yoshida,Shaw.