Saints thump Newcastle on Pardew return

Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana have all scored to give Southampton a thumping 4-0 win against Newcastle United.

England international trio Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana have all scored to give Southampton a thumping 4-0 win against Newcastle United at St Mary's.

Rodriguez's two goals came either side of strikes from Lambert and Lallana to make it a miserable afternoon for visiting manager Alan Pardew, who was back after serving a three-game stadium ban following his head-butt on Hull City's David Meyler recently.

The win lifts Southampton above Newcastle into eighth place in the table but both clubs remain cut adrift from the fight for European places while also being well clear of the relegation zone.

Indeed, so little was at stake on the field that most of the pre-match attention was on two men who were not playing.

Pardew was back after his stadium ban, but this was the first game of a four-match suspension from the touchline as he faced the club he managed in League One for a year before being sacked in 2010.

Meanwhile, referee Andre Marriner was in charge a week after sending-off Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a clear case of mistaken identity in the Gunners' 6-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Southampton had lost just one of their last 20 home league games against Newcastle and they looked by far the hungrier of the two teams early on, with Rodriguez leading the way.

Having shaken off a knock that made him a pre-game doubt, he missed three decent openings in the first half-hour, the best coming from a diving header that was palmed away by the diving Robert Elliot.

Elliot, standing in for the injured Tim Krul, was called into action again to keep out a Lambert effort before Lallana headed wide when unmarked.

Rodriguez then connected with a Lambert knock-down only to be denied by a superb Elliot save but that duo combined again to get the opening goal right on half-time. Lambert sent a low pass across goal and Rodriguez this time couldn't miss from point-blank range.

The hosts doubled their lead four minutes after the restart when Lallana floated the ball in from the right, over Rodriguez who was standing in an offside position, and Lambert fired home his 10th in the league this season.

With their top scorer Loic Remy still missing, Newcastle failed to score for the 10th time in their last 14 matches and the concession of two more goals in the final 20 minutes made this a miserable way to follow up Tuesday's 3-0 home defeat to Everton.

Lallana's 70th-minute strike was the pick of the day's goals, as he picked up the ball 45 yards out and advanced before beating Elliot with a superb strike into the top corner.

And Rodriguez scored his second of the game, and 15th in the league this season, as he cut inside Mike Williamson before finishing from close range to give Saints their biggest win of the season.

Source AAP

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