Southampton 0-1 Newcastle: Allan Saint-Maximin moves Magpies closer to safety
Allan Saint-Maximin was the hero after the winger’s late strike gave Newcastle a much-needed 1-0 win over 10-man Southampton in a VAR-dominated clash at St Mary’s.
The hosts’ task was made all the harder when Moussa Djenepo was sent off after referee Graham Scott was urged to consult the pitch-side monitor to decide the Mali international’s dangerous tackle on Isaac Hayden warranted a straight red card just before the half-hour mark.
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The Video Assistant Referee was involved again on the cusp of half-time when judging Sofiane Boufal had handled the ball in the box, only for Alex McCarthy to keep out Matt Ritchie’s penalty,
However, that miss was forgotten by the visitors when Saint-Maximin – recalled to the starting line-up after a recent knock – took advantage of Yan Valery’s mistake to score the winner 11 minutes from a time, a victory that lifts Steve Bruce’s side above their opponents into 13th in the Premier League table.
Meanwhile, the Saints have slipped to 14th in the table after back-to-back league defeats and now sit just seven points from safety.
Southampton: McCarthy (9), Bertrand (8), Stephens (6), Bednarek (6), Valery (6), Djenepo (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Hojbjerg (7), Boufal (6), Long (6), Ings (7)
Subs: Adams (6), Obafemi (6)
Away Team: Dubravka (7), Rose (6), Lascelles (6), Fernandez (6), Manquillo (6), Ritchie (6), Shelvey (7), Hayden (6), Saint-Maximin (9), Gayle (6), Almiron (7)
Subs: Joelinton (6), Lazaro (6), S Longstaff (6)
Man of the match:
How Toon moved nearer to safety
Having won on only one of their previous 25 visits to the south coast, and with a desperately poor away record in the league this season, it is safe to say hopes were not high for a Newcastle win at St Mary’s.
However, a 28th-minute incident changed the complexion of the game after Djenepo went in dangerously on Hayden, catching the Newcastle midfielder with a nasty-looking tackle that initially referee Scott waved away.
However, after being advised by the VAR to look at the tackle again on the pitch-side TV monitor, the official changed his mind and rightly sent off the winger. It was the third red for a Saints player this season, more than any other side.
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The VAR became even more unpopular with the home fans a minute before the break when deciding Boufal had dipped his shoulder in enough for it to be deemed a handball as the Moroccan tried to clear a corner.
Ritchie, though, saw his well-placed spot-kick saved low down to his left by McCarthy, capping a brilliant first half for the Saints keeper in which he produced a number of impressive stops.
Newcastle, however, were left to rue a fourth missed penalty out of five since returning to the Premier League three years ago, and that setback appeared to have knocked the visitors’ confidence in the second half.
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