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11/04/2015: Saints 2-0 Hull

Saints moved up to 5th with an important win against Hull. Ronald Koeman's side were largely poor in the first-half, and passable in the second. The visitors didn't have enough quality to take advantage of Saints' slack play.

The complexion of the game might have been completely altered had Shane Long taken a very early chance. The Irishman latched on to a through ball, but ended up running it out of play. Saints were very lackadaisical in possession early on. Dame N'Doye nearly took advantage for Hull with his pace up-front. Sone Aluko also had a few early chances.

Saints did improve slightly later in the half as they attempted to slow the tempo, but still struggled to maintain any fluency. The home side did defend well as a unit, getting numbers back to prevent Hull breaking through. On 20 Graziano Pelle had a low shot saved by Steve Harper after good work from Long. At the other end Aluko shot wide from distance. Stephen Quinn's weak effort on 32 was easy for Kelvin Davis to deal with.

Koeman made a much needed change at half-time, with James Ward-Prowse coming on to replace Victor Wanyama. Saints' improvement was gradual. The home side were still making basic errors on occasion. On 53 Davis got down low to save well from Jake Livermore. That was a real turning point. Just over a minute later Saints had a penalty. Alex Bruce needlessly hacked down Long. Ward-Prowse eventually stepped up ahead of Sadio Mane and planted his spot-kick into the corner of the net.

Hull had a couple of set-piece opportunities not long after the goal. Ryan Bertrand cleared off the line from a corner on the hour. On 67 N'Doye couldn't quite get on the end of a deep cross. Saints looked fairly comfortable during the last 15 minutes, with substitute Dusan Tadic giving the team a bit more creativity. The hosts put the game to bed on 81. Morgan Schneiderlin broke into the box before squaring it to Pelle, who neatly finished past Harper. Steven Davis missed a great chance to add a third on 89, firing over the bar inside the area.

A pleasing win in the end, but a disappointing display. The long season looks to be really taking its toll at the moment. A number of players were well below their best, particularly at the start of the game. On the plus side it was extremely pleasing to see Pelle and Ward-Prowse get their names on the score-sheet. Pelle has been slowly improving recently and his confidence should be boosted as a result of the goal. Ward-Prowse has been getting closer and closer all season. So much of his play has improved this campaign. If he can add goals to his repertoire then his stature and influence within the team will only grow.

Player Ratings

K Davis: 7. Made a couple of good saves. Always alert to danger

Alderweireld: 6. A slow start. Didn't offer the attacking dynamism that Clyne gives you, but made some good cross-field passes

Fonte: 7. One of the few players who performed well throughout. Some big sliding tackles

Yoshida: 6. Took a while to get used to the pace of the game, but some good defensive work in the second half

Bertrand: 6. Another player who didn't get going until later in the match. Made a vital goal-line clearance

Schneiderlin: 6. Sloppy in possession at times, but some good claiming back. Involved in the 2nd goal

Wanyama: 5. Well below his best before coming off at half-time. Uncharacteristically weak. Now suspended for two games after picking up what appeared to be a harsh booking

S Davis: 6. Didn't see enough of the ball early on, but a few really good moments

Mane: 5. Had a bit of an off-day. A couple of positive runs, but overall didn't use the ball well enough

Long: 6. Lively in spells. Created some openings with some energetic runs out wide

Pelle: 7. Deserved his goal. A decent presence in the air and some good movement

Substitutes

Ward-Prowse: 7. Scored his long awaited second senior goal for Saints and put in an all-round decent showing

Tadic: 7. Looked very lively. Perhaps Saints' most effective attacking outlet in the second half

Elia: 5. Unlucky not to see a few promising moves come off

Match Details

Saints - Ward-Prowse (56) Pelle (81)

Attendance - 30,359 (811 Hull fans)

Referee - Kevin Friend

Line-ups

Saints: K Davis, Alderweireld, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Schneiderlin, Wanyama (Ward-Prowse 46), S Davis, Mane (Tadic 61), Long (Elia 74), Pelle

Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Targett, Reed

Hull: Harper, Chester (Diame 64), Dawson, Bruce, McShane, Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone (Sagbo 74), Quinn, N'Doye, Aluko (Hernandez 84)

Subs not used: McGregor, Rosenior, Robertson, Brady

Previous Match Reports

04/04/2015: Everton 1-0 Saints
21/03/2015: Saints 2-0 Burnley
16/03/2015: Saints U21s 2-0 Liverpool U21s
15/03/2015: Chelsea 1-1 Saints
05/03/2015: Saints U21s 4-2 Derby U21s
03/03/2015: Saints 1-0 Crystal Palace
28/02/2015: West Brom 1-0 Saints
23/02/2015: Saints U21s 0-0 Tottenham U21s
22/02/2015: Saints 0-2 Liverpool
12/02/2015: Saints U21s 3-2 Watford U21s
11/02/2015: Saints 0-0 West Ham
07/02/2015: QPR 0-1 Saints
01/02/2015: Saints 0-1 Swansea
24/01/2015: Saints 2-3 Crystal Palace
17/01/2015: Newcastle 1-2 Saints
15/01/2015: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
14/01/2015: Ipswich 0-1 Saints
12/01/2015: Fulham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
11/01/2015: Man United 0-1 Saints
04/01/2015: Saints 1-1 Ipswich
01/01/2015: Saints 2-0 Arsenal
28/12/2014: Saints 1-1 Chelsea
26/12/2014: Crystal Palace 1-3 Saints
20/12/2014: Saints 3-0 Everton
16/12/2014: Sheffield United 1-0 Saints
13/12/2014: Burnley 1-0 Saints
09/12/2014: Saints U18s 2-1 West Ham U18s
08/12/2014: Saints 1-2 Man United
03/12/2014: Arsenal 1-0 Saints
01/12/2014: Saints U21s 1-0 Man United U21s
30/11/2014: Saints 0-3 Man City
24/11/2014: Aston Villa 1-1 Saints
08/11/2014: Saints 2-0 Leicester
01/11/2014: Hull 0-1 Saints
29/10/2014: Stoke 2-3 Saints
25/10/2014: Saints 1-0 Stoke
18/10/2014: Saints 8-0 Sunderland
05/10/2014: Tottenham 1-0 Saints
29/09/2014: Saints U21s 2-0 Norwich U21s
27/09/2014: Saints 2-1 QPR
23/09/2014: Arsenal 1-2 Saints
20/09/2014: Swansea 0-1 Saints
13/09/2014: Saints 4-0 Newcastle
12/09/2014: Tottenham U21s 3-2 Saints U21s
30/08/2014: West Ham 1-3 Saints
26/08/2014: Millwall 0-2 Saints
23/08/2014: Saints 0-0 West Brom
22/08/2014: West Ham U21s 1-2 Saints U21s
17/08/2014: Liverpool 2-1 Saints
09/08/2014: Saints 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
31/07/2014: Brighton 1-3 Saints
25/07/2014: Bournemouth 0-1 Saints
21/07/2014: Swindon 0-1 Saints