Saints continued their preparations for the 2014/15 campaign with a 1-0 friendly win over Swindon Town at the County Ground on Monday evening.
In Ronald Koeman’s side's first pre-season match in England ahead of the upcoming campaign, centre-back Jos Hooiveld’s close-range hit in the second half proved to be the difference in a fairly uneventful night.
Recent signing Graziano Pellè was a forceful presence in Southampton’s frontline as he displayed fine hold-up play, while the rearguard’s only real scare of the game was a late incident where substitute Calum Chambers had to clear under pressure while Paulo Gazzaniga was out of his goal.
Pellè proved to be the biggest threat inside the first ten minutes of the encounter with a scuffed shot that was held preceding an off-target header from a powerful Nathaniel Clyne cross.
The favour was soon returned as the Italian played the right-back in for a drilled shot straight at ‘keeper Wes Foderingham.
Pressure failed to relent from Saints as James Ward-Prowse’s failed attempt at controlling Matt Targett’s cross resulted in the ball falling to Lloyd Isgrove for a side-footed effort wide.
Swindon grew in confidence as the half progressed; a fizzing ball from Michael Smith through Kelvin Davis’s six-yard box that the club captain cleared being the biggest moment of concern for the visitors as the break approached.
An accurate Ward-Prowse corner brought an inviting chance for Southampton to snatch a half-time lead, although Pellè couldn’t make contact before Jos Hooiveld inadvertently hooked the ball backwards when making a last-ditch stretch for it at the back post.
Gazzaniga replaced Davis in goal after the restart while Emmanuel Mayuka came on for Sam McQueen. However, the somewhat unlikely source of Hooiveld provided the breakthrough in proceedings six minutes into the second half when he prodded home Ward-Prowse’s corner.
With just under half an hour remaining Saints made nine changes, with two of those combining ten minutes later when Billy Sharp held up the ball well before switching it to Chambers for a long-range drive that soared over the crossbar.
Several minutes later, the former’s attempted control in the area slipped the ball through for fellow forward Sam Gallagher to twist and swipe a shot straight at Foderingham.
The only troubling moment in the entire meeting for Southampton came late on when Gazzaniga was drawn out of his goal, the ball was squared but swept away comfortably by Chambers as the visitors retreated in numbers.
Swindon Town: Wes Foderingham, Nathan Byrne, Nathan Thompson, Massimo Luongo (Lee Marshall 82), Raphael Branco, Yaser Kasim (Callum McCormack 89), Jack Barthram, Louis Thompson, Michael Smith (Connor Waldon 64), Andy Williams (Will Randall 64), Anton Rodgers (George Barker 53). Unused substitutes: Tyrell Belford, Matt Jones, José Antonio, Jonathan Vandesonpele.
Southampton: Kelvin Davis (Paulo Gazzaniga 46), Nathaniel Clyne (Calum Chambers 62), José Fonte (Maya Yoshida 62), Jos Hooiveld (Jordan Turnbull 62), Matt Targett (Jason McCarthy 62), James Ward-Prowse (Jack Stephens 62), Jack Cork (Jake Flannigan 62), Harrison Reed (Billy Sharp 62), Lloyd Isgrove (Jake Sinclair 62), Sam McQueen (Emmanuel Mayuka 46), Graziano Pellè (Sam Gallagher 62).
Goal: Hooiveld (51)