Southampton required just one further point to record a higher points total than they have managed in any of their last 11 top-flight seasons and Mauricio Pochettino’s side did so with ease as Lambert turned what looked to be a dour stalemate into three points in the final minute of added time.
The England striker was confined to the substitutes’ bench from the outset and when he replaced Adam Lallana on the hour mark his introduction was met with the loudest cheer of the match after the news that Cardiff had fallen behind at Newcastle.
Teenage striker Sam Gallagher had earlier squandered a glorious chance with a free header for the visitors while Wilfried Bony wasted another at the other end seconds after but neither goalkeeper was overly troubled in what was a turgid game.
The victory and clean sheet extends Southampton’s formidable defensive record while Swansea appeared simply content to celebrate the fact that their Premier League status had been secured for another campaign after a topsy-turvy season.
PRE-MATCH: Gallagher, who is just 18-years-old, takes his place up front for Southampton today with England striker Lambert settling for a place on the bench. As for Swansea, well forward Bony keeps his place despite rampant speculation that he will move away from the club this summer.
5’ - CHANCE FOR SWANSEA: Shelvey links up brilliantly with Bony, whose backheel picks out Hernandez on the edge of the Saints box, but Hernandez sees his shot saved superbly by Boruc. He should have beaten the keeper from there.
33’ - CHANCE FOR SOUTHAMPTON: Clyne again does absolutely brilliantly, racing to the right byline and dinking over a precise delivery, but young Gallagher heads wide when totally unmarked - he should score.
34’ - CHANCE FOR SWANSEA: Straight up at the other end, Bony drives a powerful shot over the crossbar from inside the Southampton box after latching onto a header from Hernandez into his path.
61’ – LALLANA OFF FOR LAMBERT: Lallana, Southampton’s most-substituted player this season, again makes way on the hour mark as Lambert takes over the armband. Why does he get subbed so regularly?
90+3’ – GOAL FOR SOUTHAMPTON: The visitors steal it late on as Lambert pounces to turn the ball into an empty net after Ashley Williams skews it back towards goal with Michel Vorm stranded! Southampton look to have clinched victory in the dying seconds of this otherwise dull match.
TALKING POINT: Is Gallagher the next young Saints star? Pochettino clearly believes so as he gave the 18-year-old a start ahead of Lambert in leading the line for the visitors. With the exception of missing a clear headed opportunity in the first half it was a bright display and one that will leave Saints fans excited to see what impact he may have next season. Oh, and big things are also expected of 19-year-old Calum Chambers, who was on the bench.
Southampton ended a run of seven away league games against Swansea without a win (D3 L4), not having picked up three points there previously since January 1962.
The Saints have now gone 299 minutes without conceding a goal in the Premier League.
In picking up the three points, Southampton have now recorded a higher points total than they have in any of their last 11 top-flight seasons.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Luke Shaw (Southampton): Roy Hodgson would have been very happy with the form of the England left-back on the basis of this match, which saw him be utterly dominant at the back and a real threat going forward. He certainly looked the brightest player on the pitch, although that’s not saying much.
Swansea City: Vorm 6, Tiendalli 6, Amat 5, Williams 6, Davies 6, Britton 6, Shelvey 7, de Guzman 5, Hernandez 7, Routledge 6, Bony 6. Subs: Taylor 6, Dyer 6, Emnes 6.
Southampton: Boruc 6, Clyne 7, Fonte 7, Lovren 7, Shaw 8, Wanyama 6, Cork 6, Schneiderlin 6, Davis 6, Lallana 6, Gallagher 6. Subs: Lambert 7, Ward-Prowse 6, Reed 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Rickie Lambert
- Swansea City
- Premier League
- Adam Lallana
- Sam Gallagher