Delph breaks Southampton hearts at the death as Stoke and Cardiff fail to inspire

Southampton fall to three defeats on the trot for the first time since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival in January

Fabian Delph scores  Aston Villa’s winning goal against Southampton  at St Mary’s Stadium last night. Photograph:   Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Fabian Delph scores Aston Villa’s winning goal against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium last night. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 23:00

Fabian Delph’s first Premier League goal was one to remember, rifling home from distance to secure Aston Villa a thrilling victory at high-flying Southampton.

Having twice been pegged back after going ahead, it looked like Paul Lambert’s men would have to settle for a share of the spoils on the south coast.

However, Delph’s wondrous strike 10 minutes from time saw Villa secure an impressive smash-and-grab 3-2 win at Southampton, becoming the first team to win at St Mary’s this season.

All three of Villa’s goals came against the run of play, as Saints were made to pay for their failure to turn their domination into goals.

Having lost at Arsenal and Chelsea, this defeat saw Southampton fall to three defeats on the trot for the first time since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival in January. Saints began brightly and captain Adam Lallana saw a cross clip the bar, before Gabriel Agbonlahor showed pace and composure to net the opener after 15 minutes.

In the second half Jay Rodriguez headed home but again Villa went ahead through Libor Kozak. Again Southampton showed character to level through substitute Dani Osvaldo but Delph was allowed time and space to rifle home a superb effort from distance.

Stoke and Cardiff fail to inspire
Stoke and Cardiff stayed locked together in the table after an uninspiring goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.

The teams were separated by only three goals before the match and that was the way it stayed, with both sides struggling to create meaningful chances.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes had called for a response from his side following their 4-0 defeat by Everton at the weekend, and the Potters were at least much more solid defensively. But the Welshman would still surely look upon the result as two points dropped, especially given they had ended an eight-match winless Premier League run in their previous home match against Sunderland.

Stoke did have the ball in the net right at the end of the first half but Geoff Cameron had certainly strayed offside and there were no complaints.

Oussama Assaidi had previously had the best chance of the half while Asmir Begovic produced a smart stop from Jordon Mutch. Cardiff had a good shout for a penalty early in the second half when Fraizer Campbell went down but referee Michael Oliver waved play on.

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam, meanwhile, could count himself fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card on at least one occasion. There were boos at the final whistle from the home fans.