REPORT: Newcastle United 1-2 Southampton
Eljero Elia scored twice as Southampton beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St James' Park in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday teatime.
Elia’s first goal for Southampton, in just his second appearance, gave the visitors an early lead, but a fluke goal from Yoan Gouffran on the half-hour mark meant it was honours even at half-time.
January signing Elia then got his second of the game to regain Southampton’s lead just after the hour mark, which Koeman’s side successfully held on to, making it three away wins in a week.
The victory made it eight games unbeaten for Koeman's side, who now have a two-week break from Premier League action, as they face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Fourth Round at St Mary's next weekend.
Harrison Reed made only his second Premier League start for Saints, with both Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin out injured. Steven Davis and James Ward-Prowse joined Reed in the midfield three for Koeman’s side.
In attack, Elia was back in, having missed Wednesday night’s game at Ipswich Town, with Matt Targett dropping to the bench, while the goalscorer at Portman Road, Shane Long, made way for Graziano Pellè.
The home side made a bright start to the game, with both Ayoze Perez and Gouffran getting shots away, but Fraser Forster was equal to both, before Saints took the lead shortly after.
José Fonte’s ball up to Pellè was chested on by the striker into the path of James Ward-Prowse who played a clever pass in behind the defence, which Elia latched on to before finishing smartly past Tim Krul for his first goal in a Saints shirt.
Ten minutes later, Ward-Prowse delivered a teasing free-kick that found the head of Fonte, but the Saints captain was unable to keep his header down as it skimmed the top of the crossbar.
The goal had allowed the away side to take control of proceedings, but rather fortuitously, Newcastle levelled on the 30-minute mark. As Florin Gardos looked to hack clear a ball through the defence, it cannoned off Gouffran and past Forster into the unguarded net.
The goal lifted the home side, and just as importantly their supporters, and when Remy Cabella played in Perez, the striker almost gave them the lead. The ball however drifted just wide of Forster’s far post.
There was lacking of any clear-cut chances at the start of the second half, and Koeman was first to show his hand. The Saints boss introduced Jack Cork, making his return from injury in the Arsenal away game, and Long.
But it was Newcastle who created the first real opening. Massadio Haidara’s cross found Gouffran in space, but the winger was unable to get his header on target from six yards.
The Newcastle man was made to pay, as Saints regained the lead with their very next attack. Long won a flick-on that Elia latched onto and, after pushing away Daryl Janmaat, he found the bottom corner via the aid of the post.
Newcastle looked to respond immediately and grab a second equaliser, and they should have been celebrating with 15 minutes to play. Paul Dummett met Jack Colback’s corner, but the unmarked defender could only head wide.
At the other end, Saints were looking to make the game safe, and they came within a whisker of doing so with ten left to play. Nathaniel Clyne’s cross found Pellè, but the striker’s looping header came back off the crossbar and was cleared to safety with Elia lurking.
Newcastle threw men forward in search of another equaliser, but Saints defended well to keep them at bay and make it eight games unbeaten in all competitions.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Paul Dummett (Mike Williamson 80), Massadio Haidara, Jack Colback, Vurnon Anita (Emmanuel Riviere 68), Yoan Gouffran (Samuel Ameobi 68), Moussa Sissoko, Remy Cabella, Ayoze Perez.
Unused Substitutes: Freddie Woodman (GK), Davide Santon, Mehdi Abdeid, Adam Armstrong.
Goal: Gouffran (29)
Southampton: Fraser Forster, Nathaniel Clyne, José Fonte (c), Florin Gardos, Ryan Bertrand, Harrison Reed, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse (Jack Cork 60), Dušan Tadić (Shane Long 60), Eljero Elia (Matt Targett 82), Graziano Pellè.
Unused Substitutes: Kelvin Davis (GK), Jason McCarthy, Lloyd Isgrove, Jake Hesketh.
Goals: Elia (14, 62)
Booked: S. Davis (64), Long (90)