- Saints unbeaten in seven
- Austin has 7 goals in 6 games
- Burnley pointless on road
- Two PKs awarded
They were denied a club-record clean sheet, but the three points was never in doubt as Charlie Austin scored twice against his former club and Southampton pummeled Burnley at St. Mary’s to remain unbeaten since early September.
The first half was cagey with both sides defending well, but the second half proved decisive as Southampton surged forward and was rewarded for its attacking intent.
The best chance of the first 10 minutes came early as Tom Heaton produced a fantastic save to deny a Charlie Austin header. Southampton would have to make an early change, with 21-year-old Matt Targett needing replacement in the 16th minute due to injury, leading to a debut for Sam McQueen. The injury is notable as Targett was already deputizing for Ryan Bertrand struggling with a hamstring problem.
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McQueen produced a chance down the left in the 25th minute as he put in a fizzing low cross aimed at Charlie Austin in front of net but it was blocked well by Michael Keane marking Austin through the middle. Past the half-hour mark, Dusan Tadic was sprung free on a long ball over the top, but Heaton was there again to smother the chance from point-blank range.
The Saints continued to own much of the important possession, as Burnley failed to put a shot on target in the first half. The visitors did, though, have a penalty shout waved away as Stephen Ward was clearly felled by Virgil van Djik in the box but referee Mike Dean said no.
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Austin had another chance in first-half added time as Nathan Redmond whirled around and shot from a tight angle. The effort was saved by Heaton, and the rebound fell to Austin at the far post who was stuffed by Matthew Lowton covering the line.
Following the break, the home side continued to pour forward in numbers. Finally, they cashed in through the main man Charlie Austin who picked up a scrappy goal to open the scoring. With 52 minutes gone by, Austin was there to clean up the mess right on the goal line after van Djik’s header clipped off the back of Jordy Clasie and fell to the former Burnley man whose first touch was stopped but poked the second one home.
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The second came on the stroke of the hour mark as a corner came floating across the box over everyone’s head, falling to Redmond on the far end who had eased away from Dean Marney. With space, Redmond let the ball bounce once before ripping a powerful volley inside the right post past Heaton.
Saints picked up a third six minutes later as Johann Gudmundsson lightly shoved McQueen who went to ground, and the referee pointed to the spot. Austin slotted the penalty home, sending the home side easily through the rest of the way.
Referee Mike Dean spoiled Southampton’s bid for a seventh consecutive clean sheet across all competitions when he whistled Dusan Tadic for a foul in the scrum of a corner, and Sam Vokes sent the spot-kick straight down the middle for a Burnley consolation. The goal is the first conceded by Southampton in 612 minutes across all competitions. Heaton put one more stamp on the game as McQueen lofted a ball to substitute Jay Rodriguez, but the latter – probably shaking off the rust – nearly whiffed, and Heaton lunged to keep the bounding ball out.
The win pushed Southampton to eighth in the Premier League table, above Crystal Palace, Watford, and Bournemouth. They have not been beaten since a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on September 10th. Burnley, meanwhile, has lost three of its last four and remains stuck in 14th position on seven points.