Goals by James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams gave Southampton a first victory in 10 league games with a 2-0 triumph over Sheffield United.
Ward-Prowse buried a penalty in the first period while Adams added a superb strike after the break.
Southampton started brightly and Stuart Armstrong tried his luck in just the second minute but his effort was blocked. Saints kept up the pressure and Ward-Prowse’s free-kick hit the side netting on eight minutes.
However, the visitors suffered a blow three minutes later as striker Danny Ings was forced off with a leg injury. Adams replaced the England man.
The game continued to lack quality, although both sides were showing plenty of effort. Saints’ Nathan Tella tried an audacious 35-yard shot on 25 minutes but, once again, failed to find the target.
The scrappy game was summed up by Takumi Minamino’s weak effort on the half-hour mark. The Blades failed to clear the ball but the Japanese star’s rushed shot flew wide.
But on 32 minutes, the south-coast club took the lead from the penalty spot. Tella’s powerful run into the box was ended by Ethan Ampadu’s tackle from behind. Ward-Prowse made no mistake from 12 yards.
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Tella continued to look lively and Jayden Bogle followed Ampadu into the referee’s notebook for a foul on the midfielder. He then shot from 30 yards but Aaron Ramsdale was equal to the effort.
United’s David McGoldrick had a chance to level affairs just before the break. But his chip was held by Fraser Forster. Southampton were good value for their one-goal advantage at the break.
Early strike settles affairs
It did not take them too long to double that lead after the interval. Adams’ initial shot was saved but the Yorkshire outfit paid the price for failing to clear their lines.
Stuart Armstrong chested the ball to Adams who buried a 20-yard shot into the top corner on 49 minutes. United began to show some urgency but, despite neat build-up play, there was no end product.
On the hour mark, John Lundstram’s cross found Enda Stevens but the Irishman’s header was off target.
Ramsdale was forced into action six minutes later, turning a shot from the dangerous Tella round the post. Adams had a chance to add another on 74 minutes. He latched onto a ball over the top but could not beat Ramsdale.
Nathan Redmond replaced Tella with 15 minutes left on the clock. And the man with one England cap to his name had a chance to score with his first touch. Once again Ramsdale was called into action.
It was one-way traffic toward the end of the match as Saints completely controlled proceedings. Shots rained in on the Blades goal.
United’s Oliver McBurnie and Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard were booked for their part in a scuffle late on.
The hosts did enjoy plenty of possession but could do little with it. Chris Wilder’s side remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table while Southampton finally edge away from the relegation zone.