(Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion were left stuck at the bottom of the Premier League after losing 3-2 to Southampton on Saturday, despite having made a fine start to the match.
It was an emotional day at the Hawthorns where there was a minute’s applause before the game for their former striker Cyrille Regis, who died last month.
Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi headed Albion into an early lead from a corner by set-piece specialist Chris Brunt but Southampton hit back with two goals in three minutes before halftime. Gabon’s Mario Lemina drove in from 20 metres and defender Jack Stephens scored his third goal in three games.
A direct free kick by James Ward-Prowse made it 3-1 and Saints held on for a first League victory in 13 games despite Salomon Rondon’s 72nd-minute headed goal for the home side.
Victory carried them six points above West Brom, who gave a first game to striker Daniel Sturridge, on loan from Liverpool.
They are now four points behind the pack at the bottom of the table and face an away game with champions Chelsea next.
“It’s a painful one for us because Southampton looked like they had a little more energy,” manager Alan Pardew said.
“We had players who had been playing two games in three days and looked a little leggy and it was unlike us to concede through two set-plays.
“It was a shame because it was a special day in a lot of ways but not a special result and no matter how much we huffed and puffed we just couldn’t get back into it.”
“We needed this victory, for many reasons, but the most important one is to believe what we can do on the pitch,” Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino said.
“Now we celebrate this and it will be massive to increase our confidence.
“The position in the table is nothing because we want to go higher and move and get more points and finish as high as possible.”
Reporting by Steve Tongue; Editing by Clare Fallon