Victor Wanyama took advantage of an Eldin Jakupovic error as Suthampton continued their fine run in a 1-0 Barclays Premier League win at Hull City.
The home side’s third-choice goalkeeper continued to deputise in the absence of Allan McGregor and Steve Harper in Saturday's game at the KC Stadium and his mishit clearance after just three minutes fell into the path of Wanyama, who cleverly guided the ball home from distance for the only goal of the game. On balance of play it was a deserved three points for Southampton, who remain second in the Barclays Premier League table, as Jakupovic's opposite number Fraser Forster was rarely tested in his bid to impress the watching England manager Roy Hodgson. The Tigers, who made one change from last week's 0-0 draw at Liverpool, with Paul McShane coming in for Alex Bruce, failed to stamp their authority on the game and fell to a second home Barclays Premier League defeat of the season.
Wanyama's early strike gave in-form Southampton a perfect start, and former Hull striker Shane Long, who moved to St Mary's in August, was a constant threat for the visitors in the first half. The second period failed to produce much in terms of goalmouth action, but Southampton substitute Saido Mane could have made it 2-0 when he put an opportunity from inside the six-yard box over the crossbar with 20 minutes remaining. However, Wanyama's third Barclays Premier League goal of the season proved enough for Southampton, who have now won 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
Following the opener, Steve Bruce’s side enjoyed a spell of pressure and Hatem Ben Arfa could have done better when he shot tamely at Forster from the edge of the box on his favoured left foot. Southampton nearly benefitted from another Jakupovic error after the goalkeeper hesitated having realised that Long would reach a long ball first. Jakupovic was relieved the forward could not direct his looping header into the goal.
The Saints looked assured in possession after the break as Bruce’s side tried desperately to get a foothold in the game. The visitors almost had a second in fortuitous circumstances when Graziano Pelle's acrobatic overhead kick fell kindly for Steven Davis, who could only half-volley straight at Jakupovic from close range.
Dusan Tadic provided a teasing cross that found Mane in a great position in the penalty area, only for the forward to flick his shot into the ground and over the crossbar in the 70th minute. Bruce's side rarely threatened the Southampton goal in the closing stages. Indeed, it was the visitors who went closest to scoring again as Pelle spurned a great chance to round off the win in the 89th minute when he clipped a shot wide at the near post after a fine delivery from Mane.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce: “The longer it went the more we huffed and puffed but we didn’t create enough to get that goal back. It’s an awful goal to concede but it is a wonderstrike. We never really recovered from it.
"It’s a shame for the boy [Jakupovic]. Some 'keepers get away with it but he was punished. We missed our focal point, Jelavic, that physical presence. We needed our No 9.”
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: “The team performance was pleasing because it was not our best game. The goal was too early because Hull then dominated. The second half we had to score but we didn’t but the team performance was incredible with another clean sheet that brings the points.
"We talk a lot about how you have to control a game and we showed that today. It was an incredible goal. Shooting from that distance with that precision was incredible."
|08 Nov 2014||v Burnley (A)|
|29 Nov 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Everton (A)|
|13 Dec 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|23 Nov 2014||v Spurs (H)|
|06 Dec 2014||v West Brom (H)|