Southampton's trio of England World Cup hopefuls were the stars of the show in a comfortable Barclays Premier League victory. Jay Rodriguez scored twice, with Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana also finding the net in front of the watching England manager Roy Hodgson.
Reserve Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot, in for the injured Tim Krul, produced a string of outstanding saves in the first half, but his efforts proved in vain.
Alan Pardew watched from the stands at the start of his four-game touchline ban following the end of his three-match stadium suspension for his altercation with Hull City's David Meyler this month. He looked on as Lambert set up Rodriguez for the opener in first-half injury-time, before converting a Lallana delivery shortly after the break to effectively ensure Southampton's victory. The win was rounded off as Lallana netted with a stunning long-range strike and Rodriguez coolly powered home his second in the closing stages to cap a wonderful display from Mauricio Pochettino's men.
Elliot's goal was threatened three times in the early stages by Rodriguez, who missed after breaking free of the Newcastle defence and headed wide from a Calum Chambers cross before having another header well saved by the Magpies goalkeeper. That stop boosted Elliot's confidence and he again came to the rescue after 15 minutes with an excellent one-on-one stop from Lambert.
Southampton failed to make the most of their many first-half opportunities, with captain Lallana heading wide from point-blank range after Chambers had knocked a clever ball from Lambert into his path. The hosts' dominance was evident in every facet of the game, with only Elliot, who produced a marvellous stop shortly before the break to again deny Rodriguez, keeping the scores level.
The former Burnley striker looked to have the goal at his mercy from a Lambert flick-on, but Elliot displayed remarkable reflexes to keep the ball out. However, Elliot was beaten in first-half injury-time as Rodrgiuez slotted home a simple finish after Lambert had sprung the visitors' offside trap for his 16th goal of the season and 14th in the Barclays Premier League.
Newcastle made two changes during the interval with Davide Santon and Luuk de Jong replacing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Hatem Ben Arfa. But those alterations had little impact and Southampton doubled their lead just four minutes into the second half when Lambert rattled home Lallana's right-wing cross at the far post for his 10th Barclays Premier League strike of the campaign and 11th overall.
Newcastle's misery was soon compounded by Lallana and Rodriguez. First, Lallana picked up the ball in midfield and surged forward before unleashing a vicious long-range effort that flew past Elliot into the top corner. Then Rodriguez converted Gaston Ramirez's ball over the top of the Newcastle defence a minute from time. The result meant Southampton and Newcastle swapped places in the table with the former moving up to eighth.
|12 Apr 2014||v Cardiff (H)|
|05 Apr 2014||v Man City (A)|
|03 May 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|26 Apr 2014||v Everton (H)|
|11 May 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|19 Apr 2014||v Aston Villa (A)|