Thanks to a late double strike Saints were able to come back from being a goal down to drown the Seagulls in their own sea of disappointment.
The game started with both Brighton fans and their club savaging Saints for arrogance and a feeble attempt at destroying whatever confidence Saints had.
From the kick-off it was palpably clear that the efforts had failed as Saints set about controlling the game. From the off Saints went on the attack showing that they were ready for whatever Brighton could throw their way.
Almost straight away a chance was made when Lambert and Guly do Prado exchanged quick passes only for Guly’s shot to be cleared off the line by Marcus Painter with keeper Casper Ankergren beaten.
With Southampton’s three front runners continuously switching places another chance followed in the 7th minute with Lambert firing over. Then Oscar Gobern had a go but with a header which was held safely by Ankergren.
Though Brighton were slowly getting back into the game it was Saints who again had another chance. Forte was fouled 25 yards out and Lambert fired in a shot which Ankergren again diving down to his left fielded comfortably.
Brighton finally had an effort in the 21st minute with a short free-kick which was taken and passed to Matt Sparrow. His shot was struck firmly but straight at Kelvin Davis who caught the ball safely.
With most of the play coming from Saints Brighton appeared to be relatively content trying to make the odd breakaway. Saints were playing comfortably and appeared to be in total control though chances were few and far between.
As time ran out and the game being played at a slow steady pace the game was turned on it’s head after a terribly poor back pass from Radhi Jaidi was intercepted before it could be gathered by Kelvin Davis. Ashley Barnes raced onto the ball and coolly slotted it past Davis to open the scoring for Brighton.
HT and Brighton had surprisingly taken the lead against the run of play. 1-0.
The second half began with Adam Lallana coming on for Jonathan Forte and his presence lifted the quality of play immediately. Glenn Murray was played in for Brighton and he was stopped brilliantly as Davis cleared the danger in tackling Murray who went down. Murray was unable to take any further part and was subbed with Chris Wood.
Saints kept on pushing and so nearly got the game all square when Ryan Dickson flew down the left, and sent in a great cross for Do Prado to brilliantly chest down before smashing what looked a certain goalscoring shot goalwards, only for Ankergren to defy him with a simply fantastic flying save.
Brighton were being pushed back now and we were beginning to wonder whether we would get the break that we so desperately needed. Brighton showed on occasion that they were still dangerous with the odd quick break but Southampton were now the dominant force. Surely it was just a matter of time till we struck.
Lallana was beginning to become more involved and space was beginning to appear on the right which Butterfield used to great effect when sending in a lovely curling cross for Lambert who unmarked and with time only managed to head the ball against the post before the Seagulls cleared.
As time started to run out there were two penalty shouts which were turned down. One from each team though the way that Lambert was being manhandled should have been worthy and even the Brighton appeal was one that on another day may have been awarded.
With 20 minutes left Brighton brought Craig Noone on for Ashley Barnes. The tempo remained the same with Saints doing most of the pressing and next up was a curling shot from 20 yards out by Oscar Gobern as he tried to level the scores for us. After this attempt, Gobern was replaced with David Connolly, as Saints continued to search for a way through the Brighton rear guard.
Chaplow was the first to receive a yellow card after a foot up challenge on Ankergren as Saints kept up the pressure. Then with 7 minutes left Chaplow won the ball before pulling the ball back to Lambert who sliced his shot wide when the goal was gaping open wide.
One minute later and Saints were again pressing with Butterfield sending in a good cross yet again for Lambert to head back across the goal. This time David Connolly was there to turn and lash the ball home for his first goal of an injury ravaged season. The noise was deafening as Saints fans leapt about gleefully celebrating the equaliser.
Saints continued to press and Brighton replaced Sparrow with Francisco Sandaza in a bid to run the clock down. It proved a waste of time because with just two minutes remaining Saints scored again to turn the tables on the division’s champions.
Kelvin Davis took a long free kick which was helped on it’s way by Dickson to Jose Fonte and Jose headed the ball back across the box and into the far end of the goal to give Saints a totally deserved lead.
Saints fans were now singing and dancing with pure glee as they celebrated. Seaborne was brought on for Dickson as Saints decided to add a bit of muscle to the defence with 6 minutes of added time. The clock slowly reached the time for the final whistle and how we celebrated. Not the best game we will ever see which in part could be down to the very high temperature in the stadium.
Defeat had been avoided and as the fans kept singing and applauding, the team retired happily to the changing rooms. A day of mixed emotions as we had been sunk to a low with the error that led to the Brighton goal. Then in typical Saints fashion we found a way through for what had seemed an inlikely victory with ten minutes remaining and chances going begging.
Hartlepool at home next and even Southampton can’t screw that one up at this stage now surely, can we?
No now I am convinced we will earn the points necessary for automatic promotion.
Nigel Adkins 8
Did well with his substitutes and bringing Chaplow back in was a master stroke.
Gus Poyet 6
After getting a lucky draw at St Mary’s and with all of the hype stemming from the Brighton club I was surprised by how his side weakly allowed us to dictate to them.
A great three points which must surely prove to the players that they can now make it to the Championship the easy way.