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Match Reports

Albion 2 Southampton 3

3 February 2018

ALBION fell to a 3-2 defeat against Southampton in their Premier League encounter.

Ahmed Hegazi headed the Baggies into a fourth-minute lead at a rapturous Hawthorns, which hosted a special tribute to legend Cyrille Regis in the build-up to kick-off.  

Yet Mario Lemina and Jack Stephens scored twice in three minutes just before the break to hand a half-time lead to the Saints, who added to their advantage courtesy of James Ward-Prowse's second-half free-kick.

Salomon Rondon's 72nd-minute header set up a dramatic finale but the hosts could not force a late leveller to claim a point.

Albion paid an emotional and fitting pre-match tribute to icon Cyrille, with a host of former players joining Adrian Chiles and Frank Skinner pitchside, before the 25,911 supporters present raised scarves for the Baggies great and took part in a minute's applause in his honour. 

And the noise from the stands helped inspire Albion to a blistering start, taking an early lead in similar fashion to the club's previous home encounter against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Four minutes on the clock and in front of the Smethwick End, but this time it was Chris Brunt with a superb corner which was powerfully met by the head of Hegazi to send the home support wild.

Daniel Sturridge, making his full Albion debut as part of four changes, went close with a drilled effort shortly after half-hour mark.

At the other end, Ben Foster got down quickly to save superbly from Guido Carrillo but, from the resulting corner, the ball found its way back to Lemina and he fired an unstoppable 25-yard drive into the top corner.

And Saints turned the game around just three minutes later, Stephens flicking on Ward-Prowse's corner.

Southampton stopper Alex McCarthy saved Brunt's free-kick to ensure Saints led at the break.

Brunt saw another free-kick deflect narrowly wide after the restart but it was the visitors who found the net with a free-kick of their own in the 55th minute, Ward-Prowse scoring with a low effort from 20 yards.

Head Coach Alan Pardew turned to Jay Rodriguez and Oliver Burke off the bench and the latter almost created a chance in the 70th minute but was thwarted by McCarthy.

Yet Rondon gave the Baggies hope two minutes later with a well-taken header from Brunt's left-wing cross.

Yet it was not enough to inspire a third goal and a share of the spoils.

ALBION: Foster, Dawson, McAuley (c), Hegazi, Nyom (McClean 77), Phillips, Yacob (Burke 62), Barry, Brunt, Sturridge (Rodriguez 62), Rondon.

Subs: Myhill, Jameson, Field, Harper.


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