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Southampton see off Leeds and end a nightmare September

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Sep 2023

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Goals from Adam Armstrong and Will Smallbone ended Southampton’s horror September and put them on course for a 3-1 victory over Leeds.

Armstrong needed just 104 seconds to chip Saints ahead before Smallbone’s low finish and another Armstrong effort – via a deflection – put the hosts in control.

Pascal Struijk pulled one back for Leeds but Southampton ended their four-match winless run and halted a six-game unbeaten stint for their West Yorkshire visitors.

Saints had not won in a dismal September to puncture their promotion ambitions but they started with a bang.

Kyle Walker-Peters spotted Adam Armstrong’s run in behind with a perfect through ball.

The attacker strode towards goal and then deftly clipped over Illan Meslier for his sixth of the season and ended Leeds’ 362 minutes without conceding.

Leeds attempted to hit back when Georginio Rutter drove in from the right flank and forced Gavin Bazunu into a full-length dive, and Sam Byram sliced wide.

But the visitors’ ascendancy was cut back down as they conceded twice in four minutes.

Kamaldeen Sulemana produced a first-half performance that brought back memories of Sadio Mane – and had a hand in both goals.

In the 31st minute he collected a ball from Stuart Armstrong, darted towards the box before standing up his defender and laying across the area for Smallbone.

The midfielder angled the shot perfectly across the face of the goal and into the bottom corner for his first league goal for Southampton.

In their next attack, Sulemana swung a low ball on the angle to fellow winger Adam Armstrong who made Bryam lose his footing twice before firing past Meslier via a deflection off Struijk .

Saints could have gone in at the break 4-0 up had Carlos Alcaraz’s back post header not been tipped over by the goalkeeper.

Leeds coach Daniel Farke kept his side in the dressing room until the last possible moment and his extra details worked 13 minutes after the restart.

A corner bobbled around the box before Struijk pulled the ball down on the swivel to poke home.

Daniel James fired wide and Joel Piroe stabbed straight at Bazunu as United threatened to turn things around.

But the clash petered out with a half-chance for Rutter as Saints won at home for just the second time this season to ease the pressure on Russell Martin.

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