For a split second or two, Blur’s Song 2 blared from the speakers but it was a false alarm. James Ward-Prowse had clattered the crossbar with a vicious strike but the ball had not crossed the line. Southampton were deflated but not for long and five minutes later the goal music sounded once more, not prematurely this time as Nathan Redmond completed a rousing comeback in a blistering game that spiralled from Burnley’s seemingly comfortable grasp.
Ralph Hasenhüttl hared down the touchline in delight, doubtlessly aggravating a niggling hip problem, and the substitute Che Adams should have added a fourth but skewed wide in stoppage time. By the end, Southampton had racked up 24 shots, nine on target and several troubled the inspired Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, who saved superbly from Danny Ings seconds before Redmond volleyed in at the back post. “The guys created a lot of chances against a team that don’t normally give you a lot,” Hasenhüttl said. “They have an amazing record when they go one-nil up. To turn the tables against this team was amazing. Maybe they were a little too sure they would win this game after the second goal. It was important to get the equaliser before half-time. We managed to stress them around the box in a good way.”
Southampton are surely safe but for Sean Dyche, whose side surrendered a two-goal lead, this is a defeat that will eat away at him and leaves Burnley with work to do to secure their Premier League status over the remaining eight games. They were under siege for much of the second half as Southampton peppered Pope’s goal, with the visitors vulnerable on the counterattack and the usually watertight partnership of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee was exposed, with the latter punished for uncharacteristic errors as Southampton pulled level before half-time having trailed to Chris Wood’s spot-kick and a sweet first-time finish by Matej Vydra following a long ball.
Stuart Armstrong rattled in after a deft touch by Ings eliminated Mee on the edge of the box and the Burnley captain was left for dust when Ings read Redmond’s clever dummy from Kyle Walker-Peters’s pass. Ings charged towards goal and left Tarkowski, who flung himself to ground, in a heap before slotting the ball through the legs of Pope. “For once, we just showed that naivety,” Dyche said. “We thought ‘we’ve got this locked down’ and it isn’t that easy. In the second half, both sides had a bit of a ding-dong, they had a go, we had a go.”
Southampton planned to carry on where they left off before the international break having booked their place at a FA Cup semi-final that will be played before 4,000 locals at Wembley. Ultimately, that is what happened with Redmond, the man of the match that afternoon, capping another victory.
Ings burnished his reputation with a classy all-round performance on return from a hamstring injury and Armstrong was equally effervescent, forcing Pope to clamber down to his right after his shot deflected unkindly via Mee.
It was not all glitz and there were numerous flashpoints: Walker-Peters was penalised for fouling Erik Pieters in the box after Andre Marriner visited the pitchside monitor but the referee did not take a second look at Jan Bednarek’s apparent shirt pull on Wood in the second half, much to his manager’s ire.
“Woody misses but should get a penalty,” Dyche said. “We got a penalty but they tried not to give us it. I’m a big fan of VAR and I think it will be better but they are ones you do scratch your head at. He’s [Bednarek] clearly pulled his shirt. If that is in the middle of the pitch, of course it is given as a foul. Our record for [getting] penalties is the worst in the Premier League and maybe that’s why.”