Southampton cruised to a comfortable three points against struggling Burnley, despite first half heroics from Tom Heaton in the visitors' goal. The forward trio of Charlie Austin, Nathan Redmond and Dusan Tadic tore a weak visiting defence apart on their way to a 3-1 victory.
Burnley have found life difficult on the road this season, failing to pick up a single point. They struggled to get any sort of grasp on the opening 45 minutes as the hosts showed their superiority and were only kept at deadlock after a string of top class saves from their number one.
The England goalkeeper had been a doubt after being released from international duty earlier in the week but showed no lasting effects as he was called into action as early as the sixth minute. Southampton left back Matt Targett whipped a cross onto Charlie Austin's head, only for the former Burnley striker to see his header outstandingly palmed away from point blank range.
Dusan Tadic had been running the tempo of the game from attacking midfield and could have grabbed the opener midway through the half. Fraser Forster launched a long ball up to the Serbian but he could not correct his feet, finding his shot saved by Heaton who stood firm on the edge of his penalty area.
On a rare venture forward, Burnley may have been awarded a penalty when Virgin van Dijk clattered into Johann Berg Gudmundsson but Mike Dean was not moved on his decision. Just moments later Tadic and Austin found themselves in the thick of the action again, with the former finding the latter only for Austin to be thwarted by Heaton once more.
Nathan Redmond was the next Saints player to try his luck but his driven effort was pushed away by Heaton. That save was his 32nd of the season and took him to more than any other goalkeeper in the league. Redmond saw a curling effort drift wide, before another effort showed a human side to Heaton as he could not catch the shot, the rebound falling to Austin who could not divert home.
As the half ended in stalemate, a big concern for both managers was an injury apiece their side suffered. For Saints it was Matt Targett who had only just returned from a four match lay-off, before Burnley lost their key creative influence Steven Defour just before the break.
The floodgates open
The second half followed the pattern of the game thus far as the hosts quickly established control once more. It took just seven minutes for them to break Heaton's resistance, albeit in a scrappy manner. Tadic floated a corner to the back post, with van Dijk heading it back across goal. The ball fell to Austin who saw his first effort blocked by Sam Vokes before prodding home the rebound for a breakthrough that had been warranted.
Formerly a defender, Sean Dyche would have hoped that Burnley would learn their lesson from leaving van Dijk and Austin unmarked in the penalty area. Though it was the be deja vu just eight minutes later as Southampton doubled their lead. After Tadic saw his turn and strike pushed over by Heaton, the Serbian delivered another corner to the back post from the opposite side. The ball made a path through to Redmond who lashed home a vicious strike to make the score 2-0.
After Steven Davis saw a goalbound effort blocked by Michael Keane, Burnley found themselves dead and buried when Gudmundsson hauled down Targett's replacement Sam McQueen in the box. Austin stepped up and sent Heaton the wrong way as the hosts netted their third goal in 14 minutes.
A goal fest was beginning to take shape and Burnley did manage to register on 72 minutes. Tadic had been influential in attacking areas but was at fault defensively when he bundled Ben Mee over. Sam Vokes placed the ball down and drove it down the middle as the visitors grabbed a consolation goal. It was to be the first goal Southampton had conceded for 612 minutes.
Arguably the hosts' best football of the match came with five mintes to play. A fluid passing move involving Redmond, Davis and Cuco Martina resulted in the ball falling back to Davis who drifted a shot just wide. Jose Fonte had an even better chance moments later but he could only nod an unmarked header wide from six yards after another excellent Tadic delivery.
Burnley's defence went missing once more when the game entered injury time, as McQueen picked out Austin only for the striker to stud his effort straight at Heaton. James Ward-Prowse then saw another shot saved, before Tadic struck wide as Southampton were left wondering how they only managed three goals.
Despite Heaton racking up eleven saves, it was a comfortable evening's work for the hosts as they fired 34 shots at goal, more than any other team has done in the Premier League this season. The result takes Southampton eighth, whilst Burnley remain in 14th position just above the drop zone.