Southampton continued their unlikely push for a European spot by comprehensively beating a downtrodden Aston Villa 4-2 at Villa Park on Saturday.
- Aston Villa 2 Southampton 4
- Long grabs the first and assists the second
- Westwood pulls one back shortly before the break
- Long sets up Tadic again for the Saints' third
- Westwood gives villa hope for a draw
- Mane grabs a fourth for the visitors
Shane Long had a hand in the visiting Saints' first three goals, scoring their first with his head from a beautiful cross from Ryan Bertrand.
Long then set up Dusan Tadic for his side's second, shortly before the home side put themselves on the scoreboard through Ashley Westwood.
Tadic grabbed his second soon after half-time, with Long again providing the chance.
Westwood's second gave the already-relegated Villa some hope of a point, but Sadio Mane dashed these hopes with Southampton's fourth deep into stoppage time.
The crowd at Villa Park were given a hint of action-packed match they were to witness as early as the second minute of the match when Shane Long struck the upright after some neat work to beat both defenders covering him.
The travelling Saints fans had to wait another thirteen minutes for Long to compensate for his error by heading home Ryan Bertrand's glorious cross.
Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood started what would turn into a memorable day for him by providing Virgil Van Dijk with an opportunity to equalise, but the Dutch defender could only manage to strike the post.
Long was denied his second for offside shortly before Westwood failed to test Fraser Forster with a poorly directed shot.
Five minutes before half time Southampton doubled their lead, with Long turning provider this time. The Irish striker ran onto a poor backpass from Bacuna and saw his shot saved by Guzan. Unfortunately for the Villa keeper, Long regained possession and squared the ball for Dusan Tadic to tap the ball home.
Westwood brought Aston Villa back into the match on the stroke of half-time with his first of the season, finishing neatly after a scramble in the Saints' box.
After the break, Villa keeper Guzan kept his side in the match by denying both Long and Steven Davis shortly before conceding the third, Tadic grabbing his second after combining well with Long and seeing his shot take a fortunate deflection en route to the goal.
Shane Long had the opportunity to score his second after Guzan failed to control a cross and spilled the ball in his area. The striker's shot flew over the crossbar, saving the keeper embarrassment.
Westwood again gave his side some hope of salvaging a draw with a beautifully struck shot beat Forster with 5 minutes left in regular time, but they were denied by Sadio Mane who scored Southampton's 4th deep into extra time.
— Jay Rodriguez (@JayRodriguez9) April 23, 2016