Saints Batter Rams
St Marys' Stadium
Attendance: 24, 536
Derby County were well beaten by a Southampton side who returned to the top of the league with a 4-0 victory at the St Marys` Stadium on a miserable afternoon for Nigel Clough`s side. The Saints dominated the early proceedings without really troubling Frank Fielding but they took the lead on fifteen minutes when static defending allow Jos Hooiveld to convert from close range from a corner. The pressure continued to come from the home side with only a Jamie Ward effort from the edge of the area forcing Kelvin Davies into meaningful action in the first half. Another badly defended corner just before the hour saw Aaron Martin double the lead when hooking home and further goals from Adam Lallana and Tadanari Lee rounded out the scoring as The Rams rarely looked like scoring at the other end as they were shut out for the third game in a row.
There were returns to the side for John Brayford and James Bailey and Callum Ball dropped to the bench as Nigel Clough stayed with the 4-5-1 formation he employed during the midweek defeat to Reading. Southampton showed why they are challenging at the top of the league in the early stages as they took the game to The Rams and Morgan Schneiderlin had a low effort well blocked by Shaun Barker after good work from Adam Lallana. Nathan Tyson fizzed a cross over the top at the other end but all of the pressure was coming from the home side and a freekick from Dan Harding which caught in the wind was beaten away by Frank Fielding. A Daniel Fox corner from the right brought the opening goal on fifteen minutes when Jos Hooiveld converted from close range.
Ricky Lambert found Harding on the edge of the area and his neat ball found Lallana who turned well but his curling left footed effort was narrowly wide of the far post. Fox fired wide of the mark under pressure from Jason Shackell and Lambert volleyed over the top as the home side continued to dominate but The Rams slowly gained a foothold in the match. Shaun Barker was first to a corner and when the ball was only half cleared Jamie Ward fired a shot at goal that forced Kelvin Davies into a smart save to keep the effort out in his only real save of the half as Derby trailed at the break.
Aaron Martin and Tadanari Lee came on at the break for Southampton and the later was sent clear on goal by Lambert ten minutes into the second period but Fielding was out quickly to claim the ball ahead of the Japanese international. Fellow substitute Martin doubled the lead just before the hour mark when another Fox corner was not dealt with and he hooked the ball into the roof of the net from close range. Davis was out well to claim the ball at the feet of Tyson at the other end in a rare break from Derby but the result was put beyond any doubt on sixty-five minutes when Lee broke down the left and cut back to Lallana who side footed home from ten yards beyond the despairing dive of Fielding. Lee then scored himself with fifteen minutes to go when Lambert found him just outside of the area and he cut inside Green before firing into the top corner of the net. The Rams put up more resistance in the closing stages and earned a couple of corners but were well beaten on the day.
Derby County: Fielding; Brayford (Ball 58), Shackell, Barker, Roberts; Green, Hendrick, Carroll, Bailey (Davies 72); Ward, Tyson (Robinson 67).
Subs not used: Legzdins, Buxton.
Southampton: Davis; Harding, Hooiveld (Martin 46), Fonte, Fox; Chaplow (Puncheon 67), Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana; Sharp (Lee 46), Lambert.
Subs not used: Hammond, Connolly.
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