Southampton fought back from 2-0 down to beat Burnley and claim a crucial three points in the battle for Premier League survival.
The two sides came into the game level on 33 points and Burnley charged in front in a thrilling first half at a sunny St Mary’s Stadium.
Chris Wood fired in an early penalty, awarded after the video assistant referee advised Andre Marriner to check the pitchside monitor, before knocking down Ben Mee’s long ball for Matej Vydra to volley in a fine second goal.
But Southampton, who welcomed back Danny Ings and Theo Walcott from injury, hit straight back with midfielder Stuart Armstrong sweeping in the ball after a neat flick by Ings.
The ex-Burnley striker coolly slotted in his 10th goal of the season to equalise just before half-time, scoring against his former club for the third successive game.
And although Burnley’s Nick Pope pulled off some fine saves after the break, Saints broke the England goalkeeper’s resistance as Nathan Redmond volleyed them in front.
The hosts then needed some goalkeeping heroics from former England keeper Fraser Forster, who twice denied Wood late on, before clinching just their second win in 13 Premier League games.
That lifted Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men up to 13th in the table, 10 points clear of the relegation zone with eight games left.
Southampton were briefly top of the table in November but an alarming run of form this year forced Hasenhuttl to admit before Sunday’s game that both teams needed a win to give them breathing space above the bottom three.
He watched West Brom boost their survival hopes with a stunning win at Chelsea on Saturday, while his side had earned just seven points in 2021 before facing Burnley. But Saints showed the spirit needed to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap.
The hosts had threatened before going 2-0 down, Redmond forcing Pope to turn a shot wide, but Vydra’s fine volley seemed to stun them into action.
Despite returning from international duty because of a minor calf issue, James Ward-Prowse was able to keep up his record of playing every single minute in the Premier League this season and the England midfielder fed Ings to set up Armstrong’s goal from the edge of the box.
And after more Southampton pressure, Kyle Walker-Peters’ ball down the line was allowed to run through to Ings and the England striker made Mee pay, racing clear of the Burnley centre-half before cutting inside James Tarkowski and slotting the ball between Pope’s legs.
Ward-Prowse thought he had put Saints in front in the second half when his 20-yard strike crashed down off the crossbar but replays showed it bounced off the goalline, and Armstrong’s deflected strike forced a fine reaction save from Pope.
Pope then denied Ings but Walcott, the on-loan Everton forward, latched on to the rebound and lifted the ball back for Redmond to volley home his third goal in two games, having scored twice in the FA Cup win at Bournemouth.
Hasenhuttl is confident the club can agree an extension with Ings, who enters the final year of his contract this summer. The 28-year-old has been a key man in his three seasons with Saints, but he needs help from his supporting cast – as he got today – if they are to challenge for silverware and a top-half finish.
They have the chance to do both in the coming weeks as they face Leicester in the FA Cup semi-finals and are back within six points of the top 10.
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