Southampton manager Alan Pardew praised striker David Connolly after his superb match winning performance at Walsall.

Back after injury, Connolly scored the Saints' first goal and set up the other two as Southampton won 3-1 to extend their unbeaten run to seven games and end Walsall's promising six match unbeaten run.

Pardew said: ``Connolly was the best player on the pitch by a country mile in my opinion. I did not think we showed a great deal of our quality, but he just took us up another level.''

Told that Southampton, docked 10 points at the start of the season, had moved up five places in the League One table, Pardew said: ``I said all along we should look no further than mid table, and we are not far off that now.''

Walsall striker Darren Byfield notched the 100th goal of his career and his ninth of the season for the Saddlers, but his celebration was subdued because it came when his team were already three down and heading for defeat - only their second at home this season.

Walsall manager Chris Hutchings, said: ``We were bright in the first 30 minutes, then a bit of quality by Connolly and Rickie Lambert was the difference.

``They are very bright players and should be in the Championship and maybe the Premiership. We did not cope with them as well as we should have done but our lads worked very hard.

``I don't think we deserved to be two goals down at half-time and told the lads the next goal would be vital, but Southampton scored it.''

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Topics:
Sunderland
Football
Championship
League One
Rickie Lambert
Southampton
Walsall
Premier League
David Connolly
Darren Byfield