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West Brom 1-0 Southampton: Saido Berahino shocks Saints in seconds

Saido Berahino's goal after 72 seconds sent West Brom to a 1-0 victory as Southampton's Champions League qualification hopes suffered a major blow.

Berahino fired home a spectacular half-volley as the Hawthorns supporters were still taking their seats and although Saints had plenty of the ball on Saturday, Graziano Pelle was particularly wasteful in front of goal, missing a gilt-edged chance from three yards out.

However, a superb showing from Berahino, who now has 17 goals this season, ended on a low note as he was taken off in the second half with an injury.

West Brom were just one point away from safety when Tony Pulis took over on January 1 but they are now eight points clear of the relegation places and have kept five clean sheets in their last seven league games.

Meanwhile, Southampton remain two points behind Arsenal in fifth place and have failed to score in their last three games.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman recalled winger Sadio Mane to his starting line-up after dropping the Senegalese for Sunday's loss to Liverpool due to poor time keeping.

He would have been hoping for a fast start from his team in a new-look 3-5-2 formation but it was West Brom that began with a bang.

A long Chris Brunt free-kick was not dealt with much conviction by the Southampton defence but Berahino still had plenty to do as the ball dropped to him on his left foot just inside the area.

He drew back his weaker foot and planted a wonderful strike into the top corner, with Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster left rooted to his spot.

The home crowd behind the goal Southampton were attacking in the first half had to be on their guard throughout the opening period as the visitors created openings but were incredibly wayward with their finishing.

Morgan Schneiderlin and Pelle were particularly wasteful with half-chances but the best opportunity fell to Mane on 26 minutes. However, he could only fire over from 15 yards after a superb cross-field pass from Schneiderlin.

Referee Phil Dowd struggled to keep up with play in the first period and he was replaced at the break by fourth official Graham Scott owing to a calf injury.

Southampton continued to dominate the ball after half-time but their play lacked fluency as West Brom's Joleon Lescott and Gareth McAuley dealt with everything that the visitors threw towards Pelle, who looked short on confidence.

He has now not scored in the Premier League for 10 games and that was clear to see on 67 minutes when he fluffed his line from just three yards out.

Ryan Bertrand made some great yards down the left flank and played a peach of a cross across the box that was asking to be gobbled up by Pelle but he missed his kick with the goal gaping.

The impressive Darren Fletcher was a calming influence throughout the game and he nearly wrapped up the points with 12 minutes to play but he blazed over the bar from 15 yards.

Substitute Eljero Elia had one last chance to nick a draw for the visitors in added time but he summed up his side’s finishing perfectly by wildly firing over from a tight angle.

Phil Thompson

"It looks a thought the bubble has burst at Southampton. You heard Koeman say after the Liverpool game that they were good in possession but they failed to create chances, and that was the same today. Players’ attempted shots on target failed to test the goalkeeper; they went high or wide. Koeman changed the system with three at the back with Bertrand and Clyne at wing backs, and we know those two get high anyway so there was no real need to play that system today.

"This is a difficult time for Southampton. They’re alright, they’re good but there is just something missing in that final third."

Player ratings

West Brom: Foster (6), Dawson (7), McAuley (7), Lescott (7), Brunt (7), Morrison (7), Yacob (7), Fletcher (8), Gardner (7), Ideye (7), Berahino (7).

Subs: Baird (6), Sessegnon (6), Mulumbu (6).

Southampton: Forster (6), Clyne (7), Fonte (6), Yoshida (6), Gardos (6), Bertrand (7), Wanyama (6), Schneiderlin (7), Tadic (5), Mane (5), Pelle (4).

Subs: Long (6), Elia (5), Davis (6).

Man of the match: Darren Fletcher


Headlines for West Brom this week

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  • West Brom 1-0 Southampton: Saido Berahino shocks Saints in seconds


  • Saido Berahino's goal after 72 seconds sent West Brom to a 1-0 victory as Southampton's Champions League qualification hopes suffered a major blow.

  • Tony Pulis: West Brom not safe from relegation despite good run


  • Tony Pulis says he has achieved nothing at West Brom despite pulling eight points clear of the relegation zone after beating Southampton 1-0.

  • Craig Garner and Chris Brunt eagerly looking forward to Aston Villa clash


  • West Brom midfield duo Craig Gardner and Chris Brunt are eagerly looking forward to the midweek showdown with Aston Villa.

  • West Brom v Southampton preview


  • West Brom will assess top scorer Saido Berahino ahead of the visit of Southampton on Saturday.

  • Southampton boss Ronald Koeman says West Brom's time wasting was 'too much'


  • Southampton manager Ronald Koeman thinks West Brom's time-wasting was "too much" as his side lost ground in the top-four race.

  • Rumours in the Press: Wenger handed £50m warchest


  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be given a £50m warchest in the summer and Chelsea have joined the race to sign Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne.

  • Regional Rumours in the Press: Barton set for chop


  • QPR could release Joey Barton in the summer, while Paul Scholes may be set for his managerial debut at Oldham.

  • Rumours in the Press: United target Clyne move


  • Manchester United are preparing to move for full-back Nathaniel Clyne and Raheem Sterling is set to extend his Liverpool contract.

  • Regional Rumours in the Press: Trio eye Donsah


  • Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham are monitoring Cagliari starlet Godfred Donsah, while Tyler Blackett could leave Manchester United.

  • Rumours in the Press: De Gea set for United stay


  • David De Gea looks set to sign a new deal to remain at Manchester United, while David Moyes wants Bryan Oviedo to join him at Real Sociedad.

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