WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Di Santo 50
A superbly taken Franco di Santo strike just after half time and a battling solo goal from Arouna Kone gave Latics their first points of the season, in a brave performance at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton’s first home game back in the Barclays Premier League.
Latics had to battle hard to win the game but a solid defence and commanding midfield paid off as the forwards set the show alight.
It was Southampton who came out of the blocks hardest though with their direct style of football and battering ram forward Rickie Lambert.
After two minutes they had their first set piece, a free kick from wide on the left.
Ali Al Habsi showed a sign of things to come as he came out to claim a dangerously delivered Adam Lallana cross.
On 14 minutes the first clear-cut chance of the game came as it was Al Habsi to the rescue again when his tipped Lallana’s long range effort onto the cross bar and out for a corner.
10 minutes later it was Gary Caldwell keeping the scores level as Guly Do Prado slipped in the troublesome Lallana.
The midfielder looked clean through until captain Caldwell made a courageous last ditch challenge.
The first chance for Latics came just after the half hour mark when they upped the tempo and Maynor Figueroa saw his left foot volley blocked at the back post.
After half time, the game stepped up to the next level and just five minutes after the break Di Santo had opened the scoring.
Shaun Maloney was the architect for the goal as he received the ball on the edge of the area and cleverly played Di Santo in on goal down the right hand side.
The Argentinian chose to blast the ball and he chose wisely as it gave Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis no chance.
Not long after, Al Habsi was called to rank again as he punched Daniel Fox’s left foot volley over the bar.
With Southampton pressing for an equaliser, the calming influence of Jordi Gomez was introduced for goal scorer Di Santo.
It worked to great effect as the Spaniard battled hard in the midfield and held the ball up well to bring his team mates into play.
The second half also saw the return of the ever-impressive Jean Beausejour and with that, Latics kicked into an extra gear.
Within a matter of minutes, the Chilean was making those marauding runs down the left wing that we saw in the second half of last season.
Latics were in the ascendancy as the game wore on and on 89 minutes a brilliant piece of individual effort doubled the lead.
A lost cause just inside the Southampton half was pounced on by Kone as he dispossessed Jose Fonte.
He ran and ran, through on goal on his own and with Davis coming out to stop him; Kone kept his composure and coolly thumped the ball into the net.
After a long trip to the South coast, Latics can be very happy with an impressive three points in what was a very solid and efficient performance.
Southampton team: K. Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, S. Davis (Ward-Prowse 75), Schneiderlin, Lallana (c), Guly, Lambert, Rodriguez (Sharp 76)
Unused subs: Gazzaniga (GK),Richardson, Shaw, Seaborne, Puncheon.
Latics: Al Habsi, Kone (Boselli 90), Alcaraz, McCarthy, Caldwell, Di Santo (Gomez 67), Maloney (Beausejour 75), McArthur, Boyce, Ramis, Figueroa
Unused Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Crusat, Watson