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Southampton 1 Albion 2

31 December 2016

Baggies wrap up 2016 in eighth place on 26 points

  • Shane Long heads Saints opener (41)
  • Matt Phillips curls Albion level (43)
  • Robson-Kanu smashes winning maiden goal (50)
  • Attendance: 30,975
  • Albion Star Man: Hal Robson-Kanu
HAL Robson-Kanu marked his first Albion start with a stunning winner as the club rounded off 2016 with a 2-1 victory at Southampton on New Year's Eve.

The Wales international drilled a superb 20-yard effort into the top corner which left Fraser Forster with no chance, ensuring Albion finished the year eighth in the Premier League with an impressive 26 points.

Matt Phillips, who had earlier cancelled out Shane Long's header just before half-time, set up the winning strike - meaning he has now scored or claimed an assist for nine goals in his last nine games.

It was only the club's second victory in the last 22 visits to Southampton, stretching back to 1969, and ended a run of narrow back-to-back 1-0 defeats on the road, albeit away at high-flying Chelsea and Arsenal.

Virgil van Dijk was sent off for the hosts in the closing stages having received a second yellow card.

The Baggies will now be looking to bring in 2017 on a high when they entertain Hull City at The Hawthorns on Monday.

Saints largely dominated the first half of the encounter, Sofiane Boufal and Sam McQueen going closest, although neither side managed to create a clear-cut opening before the deadlock was broken just before the break.

With 41 minutes on the clock, Long escaped his marker to head home at the near post from Dusan Tadic's corner.

However, the Baggies drew level just two minutes later following a flowing move which saw Claudio Yacob feed Chris Brunt, he found Robson-Kanu and he flicked on to Phillips, who curled a low effort beyond Forster.

Tony Pulis introduced James McClean at half-time in place of Allan Nyom, who was booked in the first half and escaped further punishment in injury time.

And he did not have to wait long to see his side take the lead, Phillips sending clear Robson-Kanu and he smashed a superb strike past Forster and into the top corner.

James Morrison, on for Nacer Chadli, saw his header parried away by Forster before Van Dijk was dismissed in the 89th minute after he brought down Salomon Rondon just outside the penalty area, resulting in his second booking of the afternoon.

Albion saw off the final few minutes to head back up to the Midlands celebrating the New Year with all three points.

Albion: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom (McClean 46); Yacob, Fletcher (c); Phillips, Brunt, Chadli (Morrison 53); Robson-Kanu (Rondon, 71).

Subs: Myhill; Gardner, Galloway, Leko.

BOOKED: Nyom (foul, 36), Robson-Kanu (foul, 53), Dawson (foul, 75)

Saints: Forster, Martina (Ward-Prowse 75), Van Dijk (c), Yoshida, McQueen, Davis, Romeu, Hojbjerg (Rodriguez 52), Boufal, Long, Tadic (Sims 74).

Subs: Taylor, Fonte, Reed, Bertrand.

BOOKED: Van Dijk (foul, 32), Boufal (foul, 77)

SENT OFF: Van Dijk (second bookable offence, 89)

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

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