PREM: Middlesbrough 1-2 Southampton


Jay Rodriguez celebrates his goal with team-mate Ryan Bertrand

Southampton survived a late Middlesbrough fightback to earn a 2-1 victory at the Riverside Stadium.


Three minutes before the end of a scrappy first half, Jay Rodriguez got on the end of a pinpoint Shane Long cross to fire his side into the lead, but it was the second 45 minutes where the best of the action took place.

Firstly, Nathan Redmond scored a fine second in the 57th minute, before Long wasted a golden chance to put the game to bed seven minutes later, blazing a penalty over the bar.

It looked like that miss could prove to be pivotal as Patrick Bamford headed his first-ever Premier League goal to get Boro back in it with 18 minutes remaining, but the home side couldn't muster an equaliser as their final home game ended in disappointment.

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The result means Middlesbrough are guaranteed to finish with their lowest Premier League points total, while Saints moved level on points with West Brom in eighth after a first success since April 8.

Saints made seven changes to the side that were beaten by Arsenal in midweek, handing full debuts to Martin Caceres and Jeremy Pied, with the former called into action very early on to block well from Bamford.

The hosts showed why they came into this encounter with just one win in their last 19 league games as they offered next to no threat to Fraser Forster's goal in the first half.

Down the other end, Long was proving to be a real handful down the channels, and he almost created an opening in the 32nd minute, but Brad Guzan was down well to cut out the Saints forward's low cross.

It wasn't long before Saints did put a telling move together, though, with Long at the heart of it once more. Jordy Clasie fed the Saints forward down the right channel, Long looked up, picked out the run of Rodriguez perfectly, and the former Burnley hitman fired home on the half volley.

Boro came out with added impetus after the break, and went close to an equaliser just minutes into the half, but Adam Forshaw saw his goal-bound strike deflected wide.

Bamford wasted another chance to equalise when he sliced into the roof of the net, before Redmond made the hosts pay for their lack of potency, ruthlessly curling into the top corner after striding into the box, taking advantage of some slack Boro marking.

Then came the moment that should have sealed the three points for Claude Puel's men. Long was always beating Guzan to the long ball, with the Boro stopper clumsy as he went to ground, upending Long and gifting the Saints forward the chance to get himself on the scoresheet from the spot.

Long sent Guzan the wrong way, but got underneath his spot-kick, firing over, clipping the bar en route.

Five minutes later and Boro were back in it. Substitute Viktor Fischer curled a perfect corner into the middle, Bamford stood his ground and diverted the ball home, with the side of his head. Whether he knew much about it is a different matter, but after more than two years without a goal, he won't mind.

The goal did rouse the Teessiders to try snatch an unlikely point, with Forster forced into a fine stop to deny Calum Chambers in stoppage time, but Saints held on for the three points.


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