Che Adams hadn’t scored a goal for Southampton since beating Sheffield United 3-0 in December
Southampton won for the first time in 10 Premier League games when Che Adams’ spectacular goal helped Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side get all three points at Sheffield United, whose low hopes of survival dealt another blow on Bramall Lane.
Adams shot a half volley into the top corner four minutes into the second half, ending a run of 16 games without a goal in all competitions.
The Saints, who lost Danny Ings to an early injury, broke the impasse when James Ward-Prowse sent Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way from the penalty spot after Ethan Ampadu’s awkward challenge to Nathan Tella.
Takumi Minamino should have scored a third goal for Southampton as he shot far from Ryan Bertrand’s cross while Adams, Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong were running late.
“The first win in such a long time is always the most difficult, now we have to keep improving,” Hasenhuttl told BBC Sport afterwards.
“We’re looking in all directions and still had a few moments in the game today when we weren’t as controlled. But after such a long time without a win, it’s normal.”
Commenting on Ings’ injury, Hasenhuttl added: “I don’t know yet [how serious it is]. It doesn’t look that good and it’s a muscle injury. “
The blades had their own options, but only tested Fraser Forster twice during the 90 minutes.
The win lifts Saints 10 points out of the relegation zone, while Chris Wilder’s side remains rooted at the bottom of the table – 12 points for safety reasons.
Saints return to victories when Hasenhuttl reaches 100, not out
Hasenhuttl praises the “very good” performance of the saints
Southampton fans could have been forgiven for casting nervous glances at the bottom three 0-1 defeat at Everton on Monday, but this win – the first in the league since beating Liverpool on January 4th – will help ease relegation fears.
The visitors were able to turn to Kyle Walker-Peters, Ibrahima Diallo and Minamino after an injury but received a blow when Ings was sent off with what appeared to be a groin problem within the first 15 minutes.
The Saints, driven by the formidable Tella, soon recovered from that early setback and took the well-deserved lead when Ward-Prowse sent Ramsdale in the wrong direction from 12 yards after Ampadus lunge against the Southampton youngster.
Ward-Prowse was now directly involved in 26 Premier League goals under Hasenhuttl, twice as many as any other Saints manager.
Adams, who last scored against Sheffield United in December, spectacularly ended his goal drought early in the second half, throwing Stuart Armstrong into the top corner.
Hasenhuttl’s side could have won with a nicer margin, but Minamino missed a great chance to score his third goal in five league games for the club when he somehow missed the goal from Bertrand’s setback.
Ramsdale did well to keep Tella’s low strike from snuggling into the far corner before defeating Adams and Redmond from similar positions in the area, but Hasenhuttl will make his 100th game responsible for the club, happy to be satisfied with a 2-0 win.
Time is running out for the beleaguered blades
Sheff Utd lacked quality – Wilder in the loss to Southampton
Blade manager Wilder had urged his players to reproduce the “desire, spirit and commitment” they displayed in theirs 1-0 win over Aston Villawhere they survived more than 30 minutes with 10 men.
While United’s character against Saints was not questioned, Wilder was most likely to come into play in the first half when David McGoldrick shot Forster tame in the arms after Diallo surrendered the ball in midfield.
Shortly afterwards, Kean Bryan steered a header over the bar from close range – although the defender may have been sidelined after John Fleck’s free kick.
The Blades had 61.5% possession in the second half, but couldn’t retest Forster until substitute Oliver McBurnie hit the goalkeeper at half-time eight minutes from time.
Wilder has always insisted that his side be competitive in the battle for relegation, but the Blades are running out of time to secure a third straight season in Premier League football.
Most defeats in 15 years – the statistics
- Sheffield United is only England’s second top team after Sunderland in the 2005/06 season to have lost 22 of their first 28 games in one season.
- The Blades have scored the first goal in 21 Premier League games this season – more than any other team.
- Southampton have won four straight games with Sheffield United in the second division for the first time since 1950.
- Southampton ended a winless run with seven Premier League games (D2 L5). Saints scored as many goals at Sheffield United as in their last six on the road (2).
- Southampton forward Adams has scored four goals in his four Premier League games against former club Sheffield United, representing 44% of his total goals in the competition.
- Ward-Prowse has scored seven goals in all competitions this season, his joint best return in a single campaign for Southampton. Six of these seven goals come from dead ball situations (5 direct free kicks, 1 penalty).
“We have to keep improving” – said the managers
Ralph Hasenhuttl, Manager of Southampton, in conversation with BBC Sport: “We did the final exercises in the last session yesterday and I think that helped [Adams]. It is what you are here for as a substitute for you to come and show your qualities. He played well last year too.
“Both strikers did a good job. Nathan Tella was the man of the game today because he was tough to defend and always hungry for every second ball.”
Chris Wilder, Sheffield United manager, in conversation with BBC Sport: “We didn’t deserve anything from the game. You [Southampton] were better. It was a great opportunity but it was a tough week playing Liverpool on Sunday and dropping to 10 men by midweek after 60 minutes.
“We didn’t show the quality we needed to hurt them. There was nothing in the game and then it was a great ball.
“It’s a brilliant finish for Che [Adams]. I’m happy for him and have just spoken to him. He was here as a kid and was a bit of a loose cannon back then, but he has moved forward and is a real center forward. “
Southampton will travel to runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City on Wednesday March 10th (6:00 p.m. GMT), while Sheffield United will see the top four Leicester City in their next league game the following Sunday (2:00 p.m. GMT) visited.
Player of the game
- 22ndAmpaduBooked at 31 minutes
- 20thBogleBooked at 36 minutes
- 16NorwoodReplaced byMcBurnieat the 45 ‘protocolBooked at 90 minutes
- 4thspotBooked at 90 minutes
- 24BrewsterReplaced bySharpat the 68 ‘protocol
- 17thMcGoldrickReplaced byMoussetat the 58 ‘protocol
- 4thVestergaardBooked at 90 minutes
- 17thArmstrongBooked at 71 minutes
- 19thMinaminoReplaced byDjenepoat the 88 ‘protocol
- 9IngsReplaced byAdamsat the 13 ‘protocol
- 23TellaBooked at 59 minutesReplaced byRedmondat the 77 ‘protocol
End of game, Sheffield United 0, Southampton 2.
The second half ends, Sheffield United 0, Southampton 2.
Foul by Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United).
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ethan Ampadu (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Che Adams (Southampton).
Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.
Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card.
John Fleck (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by John Fleck (Sheffield United).
Che Adams (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).
Substitution, Southampton. Moussa Djenepo replaces Takumi Minamino.
Foul by Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United).
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jan Bednarek (Southampton).
Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Sheffield United. Ethan Ampadu attempts a pass, but Lys Mousset is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Oliver McBurnie’s (Sheffield United) header from the center of the penalty area is saved in the top center of the goal. Assisted by John Fleck with a cross.