Adam Armstrong seals Southampton victory over West Brom

Southampton’s Adam Armstrong scored the winning goal against West Brom. (George Tewkesbury/PA)
Southampton’s Adam Armstrong scored the winning goal against West Brom. (George Tewkesbury/PA) Southampton’s Adam Armstrong scored the winning goal against West Brom. (George Tewkesbury/PA)

Adam Armstrong continued Southampton’s reputation as the Championship’s  late kings as his 79th-minute winner clinched a 2-1 victory over promotion rivals West Brom.

Will Smallbone had put Saints ahead early on before Kyle Bartley levelled things, with West Brom almost leading when Darnell Furlong hit the crossbar.

But Armstrong coolly prodded in his ninth goal of the season to grab the league-high eighth goal Saints have bagged in the last 15 minutes of their matches.

It extended Southampton’s unbeaten run to eight matches while halting West Brom’s three-game winning streak.

As they had in the previous seven games, Saints scored first.

Stuart Armstrong cut back to Adam Armstrong from the byline in the fifth minute. His shot was saved but the rebound fell to Smallbone to slam in from close range.

Conor Townsend thought he had cleared off the line but the goal-line technology confirmed West Brom had conceded the first goal in a match for the first time since September.

The hosts took hold of the game without testing Alex Palmer’s goal again, until the 28th minute.

Kyle Walker-Peters was released down the right, he stepped over to beat his defender before passing to Smallbone, via Kamaldeen Sulemana, but his snapshot had too much elevation and cleared the crossbar.

The Baggies rallied, found a powerful press and came knocking for an equaliser in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

Nathaniel Chalobah may have slipped when recording his side’s first shot but showed the intent.

Brandon Thomas-Asante’s shot was scuffed but was destined for the bottom corner had it not been for Taylor Harwood-Bellis throwing himself at the ball to head behind.

Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu then fired over from the corner of the box as Southampton were relieved by the whistle.

Mason Holgate had returned to the starting eleven in place of the suspended Jan Bednarek. The former West Brom loanee had a few nervy moments in the first half but grew into the game with a vital block to deny Thomas-Asante.

Still, the Baggies pushed without end product and in the 63rd minute Matt Phillips showed his directness to jinx off his flank before his curling shot bounced just wide.

There was no surprise when two minutes later the away side levelled.

Thomas-Asante powered a header from Jed Wallace’s cross, with centre-back Bartley following up to bundle over the line for his second goal of the season.

The momentum continued when Townsend’s wicked cross was attacked by Darnell Furlong and crashed into the crossbar.

It woke Saints up and with 11 minutes left,  they went straight up the other end and scored.

Adam Armstrong calmly pulled Ryan Fraser’s cross down at the back post and slotted in his ninth goal of the campaign. It was Saints’ only shot on target in the second period.

Gavin Bazunu produced a stunning stoppage-time save to deny Jayson Molumby and hold on to the three points.