Connolly’s effort takes the points
Barnsley 0, Saints 1
Southampton extended their club-record run of consecutive league victories to eight with an impressive 1-0 victory over Barnsley at Oakwell.
Saturday’s Championship win for Saints is the first time they have won their opening two league games for 23 years.
Veteran striker David Connolly’s close-range header on the half-hour mark was enough to secure victory for Nigel Adkins’ men, who survived a late Barnsley rally after substitute Richard Chaplow was sent off on 84 minutes for a rash challenge on Jay McEveley.
Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, skipper Dean Hammond, fellow midfielders Adam Lallana and Jack Cork, and striker David Connolly all returned to Southampton’s side having also been rested during the week.
Southampton began the brighter of the two sides. Barnsley struggled to get into any sort of rhythm, much to the home fans frustration as lone striker Craig Davies found himself isolated for the majority of the first-half.
Much of the Saints’ good work came through Adam Lallana, who was drifting in from the right-wing to great effect. He should have opened the scoring midway through the first-half, but his delayed shot was well blocked by Jimmy McNulty.
The visitors eventually took the lead on the half-hour mark, the 34-year-old Connolly taking advantage of poor Barnsley defending and hesitant goalkeeping from David Preece to head home from close-range, his second goal of the season.
Connolly almost doubled his side’s lead minutes later, but could only drag his effort wide of Preece’s post.
The game changed with six minutes left when Southampton substitute Chaplow was dismissed, his studs up challenge to McEveley’s midriff deservedly earning him a straight red card.
That sparked a late Barnsley flurry, who three times came within inches of snatching an injury-time equaliser. Vaz Te twice forced great saves from Davis, while Miles Addison’s effort was somehow cleared off the line with the last kick of the game.
10 Guly (Chaplow 70 red card)
20 Lallana (Schneiderlin 87)
22 Connolly (De Ridder 82)