Walsall FC's first ever visit to St Mary's Stadium ended in a thumping 1-5 defeat as classy Southampton came back from a shock Saddlers lead to give stunned Walsall a lesson in finding space and finishing. The Saints had already beaten Walsall at the Banks's Stadium earlier in the season 3-1 and had won their last five games at home so from the start we knew it was going to be tough.
Walsall however got off to a fantastic start with just two minutes on the clock. Striker Troy Deeney was fouled just outside the penalty box. Direct from the free kick Matt Richards scored with a slightly curling shot which gave the keeper no chance. The 605 travelling Walsall fans went wild as the prospect of a shock away win filled their heads.
Goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin, taking over from Clayton Ince, was called into action twice soon after as the home side were determined to bounce back. They didn't have to wait long as on 8 minutes Puncheon drilled home off the post to draw level. Inspired by this somewhat fortunate goal, Saints stepped up several gears and the impressive Barnard added two more goals, for Southampton in the 33rd and 36th minutes and totally dominated that first half.
There was an improvement after the break when Steve Jones came on as a substitute but further goals from Lambert and Lallana sealed Saints comfortable win. The Saddlers supporters, who gave loud backing to the team throughout, stuck with them as they could see that Southampton were far too slick despite the Saddlers best efforts to compete.