Scroll to Photostream above left for match photos, click on the statistics tab for match stats; manager reaction below.
Southampton have yet to preserve their top-flight status after a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion kept them seven points above the relegation zone.
Goals by Marc Antoine-Fortune, Romelu Lukaku and Shane Long ensured that Saints have still to negotiate their survival and they will want to forget a testy affair in which Gaston Ramirez and Daniel Fox were issued red cards along with Fortune.
After giving his side a sixth-minute lead from close range Fortune helped the Baggies double their lead after the break, putting through the ever-impressive Lukaku to slot past Artur Boruc.
Just three minutes late, though, Fortune was sent off, having raised his hands to Ramirez after the Uruguayan tangled with Long. The Saints substitute was also dismissed in the incident and was joined in the dressing room seven minutes from time by team-mate Fox, who was given his marching orders by Premier League debutant Robert Madley for a two-footed challenge on Steven Reid.
Long had already made it 3-0 by that point as West Brom set a new club record for Premier League matches won – 14 – and points gained – 48 – much to the delight of the bumper away crowd of 3,195.
Steve Clarke’s side dominated from the outset and Reid played through Lukaku early on, forcing Boruc into action at his near post. The Poland international could only turn the ball for a corner from which West Brom took a sixth-minute lead. Graham Dorrans’ set piece was nodded goalwards by Gareth McAuley and then Lukaku, allowing Fortune to bundle home from close range.
It typified a slow start by the hosts and after Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez all had shots, West Brom came close to punishing Southampton for more relaxed defending. Fine team interplay saw the ball swept out wide to Lukaku, only for the on-loan Chelsea forward to again be denied by Boruc.
Nathaniel Clyne then had to be alert to thwart Long and only a dollop of good luck prevented West Brom netting a second before the half-hour mark. Dorrans sent in a free-kick that found Jonas Olsson unmarked at the back post, but his ball across the face of goal just evaded Lukaku.
Ramirez replaced Jack Cork after the break, and it took 10 minutes for the hosts to come close to levelling, with a Clyne cross-shot hitting the crossbar.
However, Saints found themselves two goals behind in the 67th minute when Fortune was allowed to turn far too easily and his through-ball found Lukaku, who rounded Boruc before slotting home. It was a fine assist by Fortune, whose afternoon was brought to a premature end three minutes later. Upset by Ramirez’s challenge on Long, the West Brom frontman pushed the Uruguayan, prompting Madley to show Fortune a straight red card - something he also handed out to Ramirez.
With both sides reduced to 10 men the game became more open, with only a last-ditch Schneiderlin tackle stopping James Morrison making it 3-0 to the visitors.
West Brom would not be denied for long, though, with Long slotting home past Boruc after getting away from Jos Hooiveld.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors seven minutes from time when Fox, playing in place of the injured Luke Shaw, was sent off for a mistimed tackle on Reid.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "This is the worst defeat we have had here at Southampton [in my time at the club]. The team did not have any positive impact.
"We need to review the red cards but more importantly we need to review our performance, we were not really good today.
"We were uncomfortable from the beginning. We showed a performance that is the opposite of what we really are."
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke: "There is no coincidence that the team works hard and we get a clean sheet. It has been a difficult second half of the season but we did a lot of work in the first half of the campaign. Hopefully now we can pick up a few more wins towards the end of the season.
"That performance today tells everyone why we have been in the top half all season.
"I think the red cards were clear. I have not seen the replay.”
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|12 May 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|20 Dec 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|28 Dec 2014||v Southampton (H)|