Championship - Saints march to top of Championship

Sun, 18 Sep 13:30:00 2011

Southampton thrashed Birmingham 4-1 at St Mary's to go top of the Championship.

FOOTBALL Southampton manager Nigel Adkins - 0

Rickie Lambert opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 11th minute as the hosts took full advantage of Birmingham's Europa League hangover.

Guly do Prado made it 2-0 with a close-range effort before Adam Lallana converted Frazer Richardson's cross to make it 3-0 before half time.

Birmingham raised hopes of an unlikely comeback when Chris Wood, on loan from West Brom, scored direct from a free kick to make it 3-1.

But the visitor's misery was complete when Southampton substitute Richard Chaplow made it 4-1 in the 78th minute to confirm Nigel Adkins side go top of the Championship.

With 38 wins from 54 matches in charge the former Scunthorpe boss has turned them into serious contenders for back-to-back promotions and a return to the top flight.

Birmingham made a bright start in the pouring rain and Wood should have put them ahead within a minute but prodded Jean Beausejour's cross wide.

But Saints were gifted the lead when Steven Caldwell leant on Lambert in the area.

Lambert, who like Wood hit a hat-trick last weekend, crashed the penalty in off the post for his eighth goal of the season.

They doubled their lead 10 minutes later with a slick move, putting full-back Frazer Richardson through down the right to cross for Brazilian forward Guly to sweep the ball first time past Boaz Myhill.

The third goal, in the 34th minute, was almost a carbon copy with Richardson allowed to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back for Lallana to tuck away.

Stephen Carr then drove against a post and Davis denied Marlon King as Birmingham briefly threatened an unlikely comeback.

But in the 78th minute Lallana fed substitute Chaplow to tuck away the fourth and keep Adkins' Saints marching on.

Michael da Silva / Eurosport

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