June 21, 2024

Championship play-off semi-final: Southampton 3-1 West Bromwich Albion

Southampton fans greeted their team in their thousands, gathered outside the stadium carrying red and white torches, and lined the streets more than two hours before kick-off.

Fireworks and flamethrowers added to the excitement before the game, but it took until Smallbone’s goal for the game to heat up.

It was first the Saints who came closest to opening the scoring in the first half, as Armstrong got in behind the West Brom defense before cutting the ball to David Brooks who fired wide from close range.

Russell Martin’s side started the second half impressively and the atmosphere exploded when they took the lead through the boot of Smallbone who scored his seventh goal of the season.

Saints supporters felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Brooks was subjected to a scissor tackle by Kipre inside the box, but to their dismay, none was awarded.

Armstrong later calmed his nerves, firing a low shot into the back of the net before celebrating in the far corner of Northam’s stand.

The home side were eventually awarded a penalty in the dying minutes when Manning ran into West Brom’s box before being sent off, and Armstrong made no mistake from the spot.

Kepre’s header through Alex McCarthy’s outstretched gloves was too little, too late for West Brom.