Southampton beat West Brom to seal Wembley play-off berth but win marred by fan clashes

Unsavoury scenes: There were clashes between fans after a post-match pitch invasion by Southampton supporters (Twitter)
Unsavoury scenes: There were clashes between fans after a post-match pitch invasion by Southampton supporters (Twitter)

Unsavoury crowd scenes marred Southampton’s win over West Brom in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

The Saints will take on Leeds for an instant return to the Premier League at Wembley on May 26 in a high-profile edition of the so-called ‘richest game in football’, having triumphed 3-1 in a St Mary’s decider on Friday night following a tame first-leg stalemate at The Hawthorns last weekend.

Adam Armstrong netted a late double for victorious Southampton including a goal from the penalty spot after a foul on Ryan Manning by Tom Fellows, with Will Smallbone having opened the scoring early in the second half and Cedric Kipre grabbing a consolation for the beaten Baggies deep into stoppage time.

Leeds now lie in wait for Russell Martin’s side next weekend following their 4-0 rout of Norwich at Elland Road on Thursday night that cost Canaries boss David Wagner his job. They will compete to join Leicester and Ipswich in next season’s top-flight, with those clubs having earned automatic promotion this term.

Southampton’s celebrations on Friday night were soured after fans clashed during a post-match pitch invasion by home supporters, which saw many decide to celebrate their win right in front of the area where the travelling West Brom fans were situated.

Some ugly scenes then ensued, with footage showing missiles and objects being thrown by both sides as stewards and police scrambled to defuse the situation and keep the two sets of supporters apart.

The Press Association reported that there were scuffles between fans and even punches thrown before order was eventually restored and the playing surface cleared.

Southampton had urged fans to return to the stands with a message flashed up on the St Mary’s scoreboard, which read: “The pitch is for players and the stands are for spectators. Please return to the stands so the players can celebrate."

Addressing the crowd issues after the game, Saints boss Martin said: “I haven't seen it but I think it's unnecessary and I'm pretty sure it will be a real, real minority.

"Our fans were amazing tonight. For those who did do that, if it tarnishes the night we've had and the win we've had and getting to Wembley in any way then they've let themselves down."