Rickie Lambert inspired promotion-chasing Southampton to a 2-0 defeat of 10-man Hartlepool which kept the Saints in second place.
Saints' top-scorer smashed in a 50th-minute penalty before teeing up centre back Jose Fonte to head in the second eight minutes from time.
Pool were no match for Saints, who are favourites to gain automatic promotion behind League One champions Brighton.
The visitors, who slip to 15th, played almost all the second half with 10 men after captain Sam Collins was sent off for bringing down Lambert.
Nigel Adkins' men thought they had gone ahead when the returning Adam Lallana's cross was headed in by an off-side Guly Do Prado.
Pools goalkeeper Scott Flinders kept things even in the first half, keeping out Lambert's angled drive, Lallana's long-ranger and a one-on-one with Do Prado.
But he could do nothing as Lambert dusted himself off from Collins' tackle to convert his 19th goal of the season.
Lacklustre Hartlepool's only real chance came soon after as sub Michael Mackay ran onto Andy Monkhouse's knock-down, but keeper Kelvin Davies spread himself well.
David Connolly was denied by the impressive Flinders before centre back Fonte climbed to meet Lambert's floated free kick.
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