13 September 2014 18:00
Graziano Pelle scored a double for Southampton as they beat Newcastle United 4-0 to pile the pressure on former manager Alan Pardew.
Heading into Saturday’s clash at St Mary’s Stadium reports had suggested that Pardew would be removed from his post at St James’ Park should Newcastle succumb to a heavy defeat.
The club he managed from 2009 to 2010 duly inflicted that setback, with Ronald Koeman’s men easing to a victory which again defied critics that touted the south-coast club as relegation candidates following the sale of several key players during the close-season.
It was Pelle that did the majority of the damage for Southampton as he found the net twice in the first half to take his tally for the season to four goals in all competitions.
Southampton’s triumph was capped off by second-half strikes from midfielders Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin to make it seven points from four Premier League games for Koeman since the Dutchman took over from Mauricio Pochettino in June.
By contrast Newcastle are still waiting for the first top-flight win of the campaign and now sit bottom of the table, having won just one Premier League game in their last 12, perhaps giving controversial owner Mike Ashley a tough decision to make.
Newcastle made a jittery start to proceedings as captain Fabricio Coloccini sent an ill-advised backpass to Tim Krul inside the first minute, whose attempted clearance cannoned off Southampton striker Shane Long and narrowly wide, the Irishman also seeing appeals for a penalty waved away as he caused the visitors early problems.
And Southampton’s early pressure finally told as Pelle stole in to head home from Ryan Bertrand’s left-wing cross after six minutes.
Pelle was a nuisance throughout and was gifted a second by Mike Williamson in the 19th minute.
The Newcastle centre-back headed a seemingly aimless long ball into the path of Pelle, who saw his mishit first-time shot serve as a perfect pass for Dusan Tadic to race through and square for the former Feyenoord man to tap into an empty net.
For all their failings at the back Pardew’s men did show some signs of getting back into the game, Moussa Sissoko brilliantly denied by former Newcastle goalkeeper Fraser Forster after the France international had latched on to Massadio Haidara’s deflected low cross as the away side began to make some headway into the contest.
Long, who received treatment for a cut midway through the first half, was replaced by Victor Wanyama after the interval, but that did not prevent Southampton from adding a third nine minutes into the second half when Cork nipped ahead of Williamson to stroll around Krul and roll the ball home.
With the contest all but over, Newcastle fans took the opportunity to voice their frustration at Pardew and displayed banners calling for his dismissal.
The visitors’ afternoon was then encapsulated in the final minute of injury time with Schneiderlin curling into the top corner with a superb finish.