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22 September 2012
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 30713
R. Lambert 58', 90'+
N. Clyne 63'
C. Clark 72' (own goal)
D. Bent 36'
Thanks for joining for the live commentary of Southampton - Aston Villa. If you're a Southampton fan then congratulations, and if you're an Aston Villa fan...well, there's always next week. That's the beauty of football.
Gaston Ramirez was inspirational for the hosts, constantly creating chances and generally looking a cut above the rest of the players on the park - that's what £12 million buys you. For Villa, the loss of Stephen Ireland at half time arguably cost them the game - the reason for his substitution was unexplained, but if it was a tactical move, then Lambert's gamble backfired spectacularly.
Nigel Adkins will be delighted with his players - whatever he said at half-time did the trick, although Paul Lambert will be furious as his side lacked any semblance of composure as the game wore on.
And that's it! Well, who would've thought it? Southampton, so limp and lifeless in the first half, were unrecognisable in the second half as they netted four goals and left Aston Villa wondering where the game had disappeared to.
90' + 5'
Penalty Goal Rickie Lambert
FOUR FOR SOUTHAMPTON!! The punishment is complete for Aston Villa as Ricky Lambert completes the turnaround. He powers the penalty perfectly into the corner - Guzan guessed right, but the strike was just too good.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Bradley Guzan
90' + 3'
Penalty to Southampton! Mayuka is through and Guza brings down the forward - the keeper may be a tad lucky to stay on the pitch there.
90' + 1'
We're in to injury time, and Ramirez blasts a free-kick miles wide. Apart from that blip, the former Bologna man has been inspirational today. He will be key to Southampton's survival chances.
Southampton seeing the game out in the corner with some time-wasting, but they deserve to after a second-half performance full of flair and desire.
Villa have completely lost their shape, and Lambert finds Mayuka with a nice cross - the Zambian tests Guzan with a low effort, but is offside. He's been an impressive addition in the second half.
And still Southampton search for more goals. Mayuka is in a good position but thrashes a low effort at Guzan when team mates were in better positions. Whatever comeback Villa have planned, they'll have to start it pretty much now to stand any chance.
Ramirez finds Lallana with a delicious pass through the centre and he is through on goal - the Englishman should score, but dallies on the ball and ends up losing it. Big chance there.
Aston VIlla win a free-kick around 22 yards out, and Darren Bent steps up - but his effort is too high. It was a good attempt, full of pace and swerve, and if it were a little lower, we'd have had a frantic last ten minutes on our hands here.
Ramirez gets down the left wing once more, but his cross is just a little to high for Mayuka. The Uruguayan midfielder has had a very impressive second half, taking on the responsibility of getting his side back into the game, which will please Adkins - he looks like a leader on the pitch.
Ramirez wins the ball in midfield and flies forward before fellow new signing Emmanuel Mayuka, who curls an effort just wide of Guzan's left-hand post. That would have been a lovely goal, and surely closed the game up for good.
The camera is on Paul Lambert, and it's fair to say that he is not a happy man at the moment. With his side looking confident and at ease with a 1-0 lead going in to half time, to see them throw it away with such little care must be galling.
Own Goal Ciaran Clark
Puncheon goes close after he finds space cutting in front the right, but his curled effort drifts a couple of yards wide of Guzan's left post. It's all Southampton at the moment, and Lambert will be furious his side have let a rather comfortable lead slip with so little fight.
Villa have lost a lot of their momentum after Ireland went off, and the Saints are only growing in confidence here. Gabriel Agbonlahor has been brought on to inject a bit of pace into Lambert's side, who have looked a shadow of the side before the break.
Yellow Card Nathaniel Clyne
Assist G. Ramírez
Goal Nathaniel Clyne
GOAL!!! Brilliant goal for Southampton, as Nathaniel Clyne does indeed get forward once more and put the hosts in front. Lambert finds Ramirez from the wing with a low pass, and the Uruguayan chips a delightful reverse pass into the wing back's path, with Clyne finishing confidently past Guzan/ A complete turnaround here.
Much better from the hosts, but they are leaving huge gaps at the back, and only an onrushing Gazzinaga prevents Darren Bent from adding to his total after he sneaks through.
Assist Adam Lallana
Goal Rickie Lambert
GOAL!! Ricky Lambert equalises for the hosts with a fine strike from the edge of the area that Guzan cannot keep out. Lallana has swapped to the left and did well to work a cross into the middle, and the ball falls to Lambert, who controls well on his chest before firing low and hard, which Guzan can only deflect into his net. Game on!
Lallana tries his luck from range, but his dipping effort is just too high. Southampton fans are in fine voice now, and the hosts will feel they can take something from this game now.
Southampton picking up the tempo here but once again, the final ball is lacking as Lallana and Ramirez look to combine to no avail. These two could well form a strong partnership on the pitch, but will have to do it quickly to stop the season slipping away from their side.
Yellow Card Eric Lichaj
Southampton want a penalty as Lambert feels his shirt was being tugged by Lichaj before going down in the area. It was questionable, but in truth it would have been a soft spot kick.
Clyne breaks forward once again but he wastes a promising opening for the Saints - if he can get himself up in support of the forwards more often, his pace could make a real difference.
Villa go close from a corner, as Benteke powers a header back across goal but can't quite find the net. Strong in the air and tricky on the floor, he looks like a good signing for Lambert's side.
Gazzaniga denies Bent a second as Benteke does brilliantly to spin his marker and plays a lovely ball for Bent. The England forward just can't get there though, and after retrieving the ball, the Argentinian blocks his shot for a corner.
Puncheon has Southampton's first real chance as he stings the hands of Guzan from the side of the area with a low shot. It was a speculative effort and easily saved, but his movement will be heartening for the hosts.
We're underway in the second half, and interestingly Stephen Ireland has been withdrawn for Ashley Westwood. That'll be a big boost for Southampton.
Looking back at Bent's goal, Gazzaniga could have possibly made his presence felt a little more, but his defence was practically non-existent as the ball bounced towards the forward. That's 15 conceded in five games for the Saints, and that's simply not good enough for the Premier League.
The positives for Southampton are that Ramirez is already looking like good business, linking midfield and attack, and could well have had an assist were it not for an incorrect offside call on Lallana. Meanwhile, Ireland is running the show for Villa in midfield, and the Saints will have to close up quickly to cut the supply lines to Bent and Benteke.
So, Aston Villa lead Southampton 1-0 at the break, and they just about deserve it. Neither side has shown great quality in the final third, but Lambert's side has shown more incisiveness, and look a little more dangerous on the break. Adkins' side look a little sluggish, and he may have to introduce a new face to freshen up the play.
45' + 1'
And there goes the half-time whistle. The crowd is quiet, and Adkins will have to lift his side with an effective team talk if they are to turn this around.
Yellow Card Ron Vlaar
...but it's a terrible delivery, which has been typical of Southampton in this half. It will be particularly frustrating for Adkins, because it is games like this where his side must look to impose themselves and start picking up victories if they are to stay in this division.
Lambert goes down while chasing a long through ball, and Vlaar gets a booking - it didn't look like a free kick, but Lallana will whip this free kick in now...
Nathaniel Clyne badly mishits a through ball out for a goal kick, and there are groans all around St Mary's. If the Saints are to get back in to this match, they'll need the support of the home crowd, who were fantastic in the narrow defeat to Manchester United.
Villa are applying more pressure here, looking to get a second before the break. Despite defending poorly for the goal, Southampton will be aggrieved once they watch the Lallana offside call back on replays - on such incidents games and seasons can turn, and Nigel Adkins will not be a happy man.
Assist Stephen Ireland
Goal Darren Bent
GOAL!! How costly may that official's decision be for Southampton as Villa go ahead. Darren Bent gets the goal - Bannan whipped in a cross that was only half-cleared, and Ireland is on the edge of the area. His volley is mishit, but somehow bounces through the defenders, and Bent is on hand from six yards to nab another poachers' goal. Poor from Southampton there.
Beautiful pass from Ramirez and Lallana is through, but he's been flagged offside - and replays show he timed his run to perfection. Unfortunate for the home side.
Pubcheon whips a cross in and Lambert makes a mess of getting it back across, but Villa fail to clear and Lallana eventually tries a cheeky overhead kick that ends up in Guzan's hands. No shortage of confidence from Lallana there, but both keepers have yet to be properly tested.
Southampton are looking promising when going forward, but the final ball is lacking. Lallana, Puncheon and Ramirez are linking well but not finding that killer pass.
A couple of timely interventions by Yoshida prevent Benteke from getting a sniff of goal there, but the space between the Southampton back line and midfield is worrying for the hosts. Ireland is looking for 40 yard passes that are as yet not being cut out until they reach the back line, which Bent and Benteke can potentially exlpoit.
Ireland and Bannan are enjoying themselves out there, linking well and cutting through Southampton's midfield with short, sharp passes. Adkins will want his side to press them a tad more and close up the space.
Villa are just looking to up the tempo a little more here, with Bent very nearly in behind the Saints defence - Fonte needed to make a brilliant last-ditch tackle to stop the England striker from having a one-on-one with Gazzaniga there.
There's no too much quality on show early on to speak of, but both managers would have taken a goalless first 20 minutes at the beginning.
Ramirez lets fly with his left foot from 25 yeards, but the ball flashes a few feet wide of Guzan's post. The technique was evident in the strike though, and we'll be seeing plenty more of those this season.
Free kick for Villa, but Yoshida meets it with a big header to clear. He is Hooiveld's replacement here today, and will want to make a good impression - who knows, a starting place could well be his if he can improve his side's defensive record today.
Calmness personified there from Gazzaniga, as he outwits Bent and dummies a ball out of play following a high through ball. A lot of keepers - especially British ones - would have panicked and hoofed it, but nice footwork there.
Gazzaniga comes to collect a high cross, his first real action to speak of. It's a big day for the Argentinian, and he looked calm and composed in the air there.
Chance on the break for Southampton - El Ahmadi loses the ball in a good position for Villa, and the Saints break at speed. Lambert found himself on the edge of the area but could only finisg high and wide. Villa will have to be more careful committing men forward at the rate.
Southampton are harrying Villa's midfielders and forcing them to play it back to Guzan in goal, which Adkins will be pleased about.
Lallana bursts down the left but cannot get the ball into the centre - that got the Saints fans going. Although he'll be looking to cut in and link with his team mates, it'll be interesting to see if the young midfielder can exploit that wing as the game continues.
Promising link-up play between Lambert and Ramirez as they look to create a neat move, but Lambert's cute flick has just too much on it. Encouraging from Ramirez though, as the midfielder looked hungry to get into the area.
Villa are probing early on here, with Benteke getting involved in the build-up play, but nothing comes of it. The Congolese-Belgian striker could enjoy a dream debut here if Southampton's back line stays true to their early season form.
We're underway, nothing of interest yet as both teams look to settle on the ball and avoid any costly errors early on.
The teams are out in the sunshine, and we're about ready to go.
For VIlla, Christian Benteke gets his first start up front, and he will be looking for another strike to go with the one he got against Swansea last week. The Villa bench has a lot of firepower on it in the form of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N'Zogbia, so Lambert will have good options as the game wears on at St Mary's.
So, Saints new boy Gaston Ramirez gets his first Premier League start, while Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga comes in after Kelvin Davis has conceded 14 in four games. To be fair to Davis, he hasn't had much help from his defenders, but Gazzaniga gets his chance here.
Aston Villa team news: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj; Holman, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Bannan, Benteke; Bent. Subs: Given, Bowery, Agbonlahor, N'Zogbia, Weimann, Westwood, Bennett.
Southampton team news: Gazzaniga; Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Fox; Schneiderlin, S Davis, Ramirez, Lallana, Puncheon; Lambert. Subs: K Davis, Richardson, Seaborne, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Rodriguez, Mayuka.
Good afternoon and welcome to the Goal.com live commentary of Southampton - Aston Villa. Nigel Adkins' side are still looking for their first points pf the season after four defeats, and will be desperate for a win in front of a home crowd. Paul Lambert's men are in good form, however, and will want to add another win to go with their 2-0 victory against Swansea a week ago.
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