Match Reports

Albion beaten as fans return to the Amex

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Gross scores from the spot again before Southampton hit back to win 2-1.

By Bruce Talbot • 07 December 2020

By Bennett Dean
Pascal Gross celebrates his second goal in as many games, after firing in against Southampton.
  • Albion beaten 2-1 at home by Southampton as fans return to the Amex
  • Albion go in front through Pascal Gross' penalty
  • Saints level just before the break through Jannik Vestergaard's header
  • Danny Ings wins it with second-half penalty awarded after the VAR intervenes

Fans returned to the Amex for a Premier League game for the first time since February but they went home disappointed after Albion suffered only their second defeat in seven games.

It all looked so good when Pascal Gross scored from the spot for the second successive game midway through the first half, the home side having already missed three great chances.

The momentum changed just before the break when Jannik Vestergaard equalised with Southampton's first effort on target and they went in front 11 minutes from time when substitute Danny Ings converted a soft penalty awarded by the VAR after a foul by Solly March on the edge of the box.

It was a harsh outcome for Graham Potter's side, who were left to reflect that they weren't more clinical, especially in the first half.

What happened...

Albion made one change to the side that held champions Liverpool. Neal Maupay dropped to the bench with Tariq Lamptey returning after suspension.

Clearly inspired by a home crowd making the noise of many more than 2000, Albion started on the front foot and could easily have scored three times in the first 11 minutes.

Three minutes had elapsed when March picked out Danny Welbeck who opened his body to try and side-foot the pass past Alex McCarthy, but the Saints' keeper made a good save to his left.

Gross squandered another good opening three minutes later. Yves Bissouma's long cross-field pass found the German in lots of space on the right. He got into the six-yard box and went for goal, but again McCarthy made himself big to block the shot.

Adam Webster then headed Gross' free-kick over from a great position when he was unmarked.

By Bennett Dean
Pascal Gross sent Alex McCarthy the wrong way from 12-yards.

But Albion kept at it. Moussa Djenepo was booked for bringing down the lively Lamptey before Albion deservedly broke the deadlock on 26 minutes when James Ward-Prowse handled as Welbeck attempted to lift the ball over him inside the box. Gross slammed the penalty inside the right-hand post and Albion were deservedly in front.

Southampton were stung into action but it was still a surprise when they levelled in the final minute of the half, as Albion frustratingly conceded from a set piece again. Ward-Prowse's corner on the right picked out the towering Vestergaard who powered a header into the top corner and totally changed the half-time mood in both dressing rooms.

Against a side with top-six aspirations this was now a character test for the home side, who also had Ings to contend with when Southampton's talismanic No9 came on at the break.

By Bennett Dean
Yves Bissouma in action against Southampton.

But Albion were soon into their stride again. McCarthy held Bissouma's volley from the edge of the box during a bright start to the second half and they were happy to mix things up, going long at time to try and turn Southampton's defence and use the pace of Connolly and Welbeck.

There was a warning on the hour though when Theo Walcott curled a right-footer from 25 yards inches past Ryan's left-hand post before the keeper held Ings' header after Stuart Armstrong picked him out from the right.

Albion hit back and another great chance went abegging when Lamptey found Gross in the D after a typically barnstorming run down the right but the midfielder couldn't keep his shot down. Substitute Maupay, who had come on for Aaron Connolly, then found March in a great position but once again he failed to test McCarthy.

Saints made a change of their own when Nathan Redmond came on and he almost scored with his first touch, lifting a close-range volley over the bar after Ings' header set up the chance.

The visitors were now in the ascendancy and with 12 minutes to go March fouled Kyle Walker-Peters on the edge of the box. Referee Coote awarded a free kick just outside the box but VAR ruled the offence was committed inside the box and Ings made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Maupay was inches away from equalising with a shot which drifted just past the left-hand post and McCarthy made a solid save from Leandro Trossard's instinctive flick in stoppage time but it turned out to be a frustrating night on the pitch at least for Albion.

Solly's centenary

By Paul Hazlewood
Solly March made his 100th Premier League appearance for Albion tonight.

Midfielder Solly March made his 100th Premier League appearance for the Seagulls, a fortnight after Pascal Gross achieved the landmark. Not that it will have meant much after his foul led to Southampton's second-half winner.

Fans show respect

It was great to see 2000 Albion fans showing their respect for Black Lives Matter by applauding when both teams took the knee before kick-off.

Saints march on

That's five Premier League games against Southampton for Albion and they have yet to win. Saints have now won all three meetings at the Amex. Gross' goal was the first they have managed against them at home in that sequence.

The line-up

Ryan; Lamptey, Webster, Dunk, Veltman, March; Bissoma, White (Jahanbakhsh 80), Gross; Connolly (Maupay 64); Welbeck (Trossard 80).

Subs not used: Steele, Alzate, Bernardo, Burn.

Booked: Dunk 

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 2000