Match Reports

Southampton 2-1 Albion

Southampton v Albion 2023/24

Albion were edged out by Southampton in a tightly-contested game at St Mary's on Saturday afternoon. 

Following Will Smallbone's opener for the hosts after just five minutes, a strong start to the second half saw the Baggies level through Kyle Bartley. 

Darnell Furlong rattled the crossbar as the visitors attempted to turn the tide in their favour, but Adam Armstrong added to his tally for the season to keep the points on the south coast.

Brandon Thomas-Asante chases the ball down during Southampton v Albion

Proceedings began in the worst possible way for Corberán’s men, who fell behind early on.

A pass in-behind split the visiting defence open and although a super save from by Alex Palmer kept out Armstrong from point-blank range, Smallbone followed up to force the ball over the line despite Conor Townsend’s best efforts.

Albion were unlucky not to level the match instantly after going behind. Great build-up play saw the away team break out of Saints’ press and into their final third, with only the stretch of a home defender stopping Furlong’s pass finding its man.

Overall, the Baggies had most of the defending to do during the first 45. Smallbone nearly doubled his and Southampton’s tally but fired over, and Armstrong was inches away from beating the away team’s press and gaining a clean run at goal.

The visitors could’ve restored clarity before the break following more quick, one-touch counter-attacking football through the middle of the pitch, but tactical fouls - which resulted in bookings - by Flynn Downes and Mason Holgate stopped Jed Wallace and Grady Diangana advancing upfield and halted any of the Baggies’ attacking momentum.

Trailing heading into the second half, Corberán’s team made a very strong start after the interval.

After seeing plenty of possession, the away fans behind the goal were nearly off their seats when Matt Phillips’ curling effort whistled past the post. Soon, though, they were celebrating.

An Albion corner kick was cleared out to skipper Wallace, whose delightful whipped cross back into the box was headed onto the crossbar by Thomas-Asante. Luckily for Albion’s No.21, centre-half Bartley was on-hand to scramble in on the goal line to make it 1-1.

Full-back Furlong very nearly turned things around when his header at the back post cannoned back off the bar but, unfortunately, the Baggies were caught out at the other end.

Forward Armstrong was left free in the box to restore Southampton’s lead after the Albion had failed to deal with a cross into the box.

The away team's search for another leveller reached its peak when a Baggies corner kick had to be scrambled off the line, Thomas-Asante saw a header poked over and an injury-time set play caused problems in the Saints box. 

They managed to hold off Albion's pressure, though, meaning the away team returned to the Black Country empty-handed.

Albion: Palmer; Furlong, Bartley (Ajayi 82), Kipre, Townsend; Yokuslu (Molumby 82), Chalobah (Mowatt 56); Diangana, Wallace (Sarmiento 82), Phillips (Fellows 82); Thomas-Asante.

Substitutes: Griffiths, Taylor, Pieters, Pipa.