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16:59 21st March 2015
By  Simon Williams

REPORT: Southampton 2-0 Burnley

An own goal and Shane Long’s fifth strike of the season were enough for Southampton to see off Burnley at St Mary’s.

The goals arrived in either half, with Saints leading 1-0 at the break thanks to Long’s effort on 37 minutes, when he kept his composure to finish off Nathaniel Clyne’s deflected strike across the area and put the ball high into the net.

This came after the hosts received an early setback when Fraser Forster was stretchered off after 14 minutes after sustaining a knee injury.

Forster’s replacement, Kelvin Davis was in fine form, impressing with saves that denied Danny Ings and Sam Vokes in the closing stages of the first half, giving Saints a platform to seal their success in the second 45.

The game was put beyond Burnley’s reach before the hour mark when Ryan Bertrand’s driving cross was diverted into his own net by Jason Shackell, to seal successive home wins for Ronald Koeman’s men.

The Saints manager had brought Graziano Pellè back into his starting eleven for the game, with the hosts playing towards the Chapel stand for the opening half of the game.

There was little action to speak of in the opening exchanges, with play worryingly brought to a halt on nine minutes when Fraser Forster fell awkwardly when trying to clear the ball from inside his six yard box.

The injury, which kept Forster down for three mniutes eventually curtailed the England stopper’s involvement in the game, paving the way for a first appearance of the season for Kelvin Davis.

Saints’ rhythm was slightly affected by the change, with Burnley seizing on that reshuffle as they sought to test Davis early on

Danny Ings nearly got in behind the backline on 20 minutes when he ran at Toby Alderweireld, but the Belgian tidied up before Davis could be tested.

Four minutes later though, Davis had to be alert as he was equal to a shot from Sam Vokes on the turn.

Soon after, George Boyd drilled a shot through crowd of bodies from the corner, with Graziano Pellè able to deflect it behind, as the visitors continued to sense opportunities.

Saints were working their overload in attack well, with Schneiderlin seeing a long range shot blocked, and Clyne blasting over from the follow-up.

The breakthrough goal arrived on 37 minutes, going the way of Saints. It was Clyne who drilled a shot across the area, which bounced into his path of Shane Long, via Pellè, and the Irishman was perfectly placed to smash home inside the area for 1-0.

Chances continued to arrive for both teams in the closing stages of the half, with Saints unable to double their tally as Pellè struck the bar from close range, and Steven Davis saw a diving header spectacularly tipped over by Clarets ‘keeper Tom Heaton.

There was still work for Kelvin Davis to do, as he denied Ings with a stunning one-handed stop inside the area, while in the fifth minute of added on time for stoppages, Vokes powered a header on target from Barnes’ nod back across goal, which the Saints stopper pushed behind.

Koeman made his second change to the team for the start of the second half, with Victor Wanyama replacing Dušan Tadić, to close off the Clarets in midfield more.

Saints maintained their threat going forward though, with Steven Davis firing into the side-netting from an acute angle soon after the restart, before Long fired narrowly wide from distance from a shot on the turn.

The hosts got their second goal of the game on 57 minutes when Ryan Bertrand drove in a cross from the left which flew past Heaton off Burnley skipper Jason Shackell from six yards out, to give Saints some breathing space in the contest.

Thereafter, Fonte saw his header from a delivery on the right go over, while Pellè warmed Heaton’s hands with a header from a short Davis corner, as Saints went for the jugular.

Unlike the first half, Burnley were rarely able to get in behind the hosts to work Kelvin Davis, with Shackell putting a header over from a free-kick, and Arfield blazing a shot off target, as Saints’ 14th clean sheet of the season wasn’t troubled.

Pellè almost added gloss to the win when he nearly connected to Long’s cross from eight yards out, but the delivery just got away from the Italian, who could count himself unfortunate not to have had a goal to his name.

Southampton team: Fraser Forster (Kelvin Davis 13), Nathaniel Clyne, José Fonte (c), Toby Alderweireld, Ryan Bertrand, Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis, Dušan Tadić (Victor Wanyama 46), Sadio Mané, Shane Long, Graziano Pellè

Unused substitutes: Maya Yoshida, Florin Gardos, Filip Djuričić, James Ward-Prowse, Eljero Elia

Goals: Long (37), Shackell OG (57)

Burnley team: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell (c), Ben Mee, Scott Arfield, David Jones, George Boyd, Ashley Barnes (Ross Wallace 82), Sam Vokes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 73), Danny Ings (Marvin Sordell 88)

Unused substitutes: Matt Gilks, Michael Kightly, Steven Reid, Michael Keane

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 30,864


    St Mary's has been home to Saints since 2001