West Brom moved up to 13th in the Barclays Premier League with a hard fought 1-0 victory against Southampton at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon
An early Saido Berahino strike, his 17th of the season, was enough to ensure all three points stayed in the Midlands as the Baggies continue to pull away from relegation trouble.
It is now just the solitary defeat in 11 games for Tony Pulis as the Baggies extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to five matches going into the double-header against local rivals Aston Villa.
For Southampton it is two defeats on the bounce and three without a win as their chances of a top four finish take another blow. The St. Mary’s club remain fifth but can be leapfrogged by Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur who have a game in hand.
Albion were off to a dream start as the England striker opened the scoring after two minutes. Craig Dawson challenged Maya Yoshida in the air from Chris Brunt’s free-kick and the ball fell to Berahino on the edge of the box who fired it into the top corner.
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West Brom came close to doubling their lead following good link up play between Berahino and Ideye, but Craig Gardner and the Nigerian striker crashed into each other at the vital moment.
Dawson’s header from another Brunt free-kick forced Fraser Forster to make a save before Southampton made an early tactical swap, replacing Florin Gardis with Elijero Elia after 25 minutes.
Sadio Mane fired over for the Saints and moments later Gardner could not apply the finishing touch when through on goal. The visitors continued to grow into the game as the half wore on but failed to break down a resolute Albion defence. Morgan Schneiderlin’s wayward 30-yard strike all they had to show for their possession.
After the break Ideye raced through on goal but was thwarted as he tried to turn inside by a combination of Jose Fonte and Yoshida. Ten minutes into the second half Berahino’s afternoon was cut short as he limped off to be replaced by Youssouf Mulumbu.
Schneiderlin came close to levelling the score as his free-kick eluded everyone but went wide before Ben Foster was booked for time wasting. Saints continued to apply pressure and Brunt was inches away from putting the ball in to his own net from three yards after Graziano Pelle somehow failed to connect with Ryan Bertrand’s low cross.
Schneiderlin tested Foster from another set piece but the England stopper was quick across his line to claim to the ball. Darren Fletcher had a chance to open his goal scoring account for West Brom but fired over the bar from the right hand side of the box.
Stephane Sessegnon was booked for simulation nine minutes from time as he threw himself to the ground under the challenge of Nathaniel Clyne. There were more striking problems for Tony Pulis as deye came off injured with two minutes left to be replaced by Chris Baird.
Elia had a late chance to earn a point for Southampton but his half volley flashed wide of Foster’s near post.