Rickie Lambert scored an injury-time winner as Southampton claimed a 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory at Swansea City on Saturday.
The England forward started the match on the bench, but bundled the ball over the line after a fluffed Ashley Williams clearance in the dying embers of the match to claim the three points.
With Southampton comfortably in the top half and Swansea safe from relegation, clear-cut chances were in scarce supply at the Liberty Stadium. The visitors enjoyed the lion's share of possession, but failed to cause Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm too many problems for the best part, while Artur Boruc had a comfortable 90 minutes at the other end.
Wilfried Bony and Sam Gallagher each spurned great opportunities to break the deadlock – both sending efforts over the crossbar in the opening period. But it was Lambert's scrappy effort at the death that settled matters. The result means Southampton are assured of an eighth place finish at the end of the season.
Lambert was among the substitutes after failing to shake off a gluteus muscle injury, and it was the visitors' rearguard who needed to be on high alert in the opening minutes. Jonjo Shelvey squared the ball to Bony, who back-heeled to Pablo Hernandez, but goalkeeper Boruc denied the Spaniard before Jonathan de Guzman blazed over.
Dejan Lovren curled a 20-yard free-kick narrowly over the crossbar in the 20th minute, before a Gallagher header from a dangerous Nathaniel Clyne cross went over just past the half-hour. Bony could have put Swansea in front soon after, but having collected the ball from a Hernandez touch, the Ivorian's powered his effort well over.
Southampton enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening period, but failed to make it count as the sides went in goalless at the interval.
Adam Lallana's 25-yard drive shortly after the break forced Vorm into his first real save of the encounter. Goalscoring opportunities were at a premium for both sides, and Shelvey's low free-kick on the hour was too tame to trouble Boruc in the Southampton goal.
But Southampton had the final say, as Lambert put the ball in the back of the net to seal the visitors' first win at Swansea in the last eight attempts.
Swansea head coach Garry Monk: " "Losing the game in the last minute is always hard to take. We suffered in the first half possession-wise playing against a very good team in Southampton.
"They worked their shape well, they worked their possession well, but we had three clear-cut chances that we should have scored from.
"I can't actually remember Michel Vorm making a save the whole game. We had the best chances - how we came away from that game with nothing is hard to take.
"It's been the story of our season. Very good defending for 90 minutes and then we let ourselves down with some schoolboy defending.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "I thought that overall we did very well. We are very happy with the victory we achieved, and with the team's performance.
"It was sort of a difficult game to play. Both clubs had already achieved their goals for the season.
"Mathematically, we couldn't go higher than eighth, but overall we played with a lot of intensity and in the manner that we know how to play.
"Perhaps it wasn't a spectacular game, but we did achieve the three points which helped us achieve the highest number of points that we have ever achieved in a Premier League season, and also the number of wins away from home, so for us these three points are massive."
|11 May 2014||v Sunderland (A)|
|29 Nov 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|02 Dec 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|07 Dec 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|14 Dec 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|20 Dec 2014||v Hull (A)|