West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Southampton: Rondon wonder strike not enough for Baggies as Saints progress to quarter-finals

Salomon Rondon's exquisite volley couldn't prevent West Brom exiting the FA Cup after a 2-1 home defeat to Southampton at The Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Southampton: Rondon wonder strike not enough for Baggies as Saints progress to quarter-finals
Salomon Rondon's volley couldn't keep West Brom in the FA Cup (Photo via Getty Images / Michael Regan).
West Brom
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West Brom: (4-2-3-1) Foster; Dawson, Mcauley, Hegazi, Evans; Krychowiak (Field, 82), Barry (Brunt, 72), Phillips (Burke, 89), Rodriguez, McClean; Rondon.
Southampton: (4-3-3) McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Hojberg (Romeu, 78), Lemina; Tadic, Carrillo (Sims, 85), Redmond (Gabbiadini, 72).
SCORE: Rondon 58'; Hoedt, 11', Tadic 56'.
REFEREE: C. Kavanagh (ENG). Booked: Krychowiak, McClean; Carrillo, Lemina.
INCIDENTS: Attendance: 17,600 (2,707).

When you're struggling and down at the bottom, things can often seem a little bleak. Often, it takes a moment of magic to liven the mood, especially after the week West Brom have had off the field.

And a moment of magic is precisely what the hosts got at The Hawthorns through Salomon Rondon just before the hour mark in their FA Cup clash with Southampton

Grzegorz Krychowiak pinged a diagonal ball over the top towards the back post and Rondon took it in his stride, smashing his left-footed volley home in a manner that can only be described as Van Basten-esque. 

However, the strike wasn't enough to overturn a 2-0 deficit handed to them by Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic in a classic FA Cup tie in which both sides put their league troubles and gave it their all to reach the last eight of the cup.

Baggies faithful discruntled

The week's antics had clearly not amused the home faithful at The Hawthorns, Jonny Evans and Gareth Barry were booed by a contingent of home supporters as their names were read out before kick off and those fans were left even less pleased after just 11 minutes.

Hoedt was left with the freedom of the penalty area from a corner and the Dutch defender cushioned home a first-time volley of his own to put the visitors ahead early on with the Saints' first shot on goal.

West Brom have prided themselves on their set-piece ability over recent years, but Southampton's second corner almost yielded their second goal as the ball ran all the way through to Pierre-Emile Hojberg at the back post before his close-range effort was clawed away by Albion 'keeper Ben Foster.

The hosts took over 20 minutes to have their first meaningful shot on goal through James McClean, who fizzed wide from 25 yards. 



Albion push but can't find a way through

The first half became an aerial battle as both teams opted for the aerial root and the Saints back line was forced to head away a series of Baggies corners and free-kicks.

Nathan Redmond's pace was causing problems down the left and a last-ditch tackle from Evans was all that prevented Tadic from finding himself one-on-one following a rapid counter attack. 

Southampton ran out 3-2 winners when these two clashed at The Hawthorns a fortnight ago and despite a fairly even first half, tempers flared as referee Chris Kavanagh signalled half time and Guido Carrillo was booked for a strong challenge to close out the half.

West Brom start second half strong

The home side had a golden chance to equalise at the start of the second half when Dale Stephens lost control on the edge of the box and Jay Rodriguez was there to pounce.

He found himself one-on-one with Alex McCarthy but the Southampton stopper was able to push his scuffed shot wide of the post.

The hosts almost got lucky ten minutes into the second half after Krychowiak's strike was deflected by Hoedt and McCarthy scrambled across his goal to palm it away from danger. 

Two goals in as many minutes liven things up

Ahmed Hegazi's glancing header fizzed wide from the resulting corner but their early second-half dominance was about to become meaningless through a superb finish from Tadic.

A booming clearance from McCarthy landed at the feet of Carrillo and he calmly found Tadic who after sorting his feet out, delicately chipped the ball over Foster into the net.

Rondon's wonder strike just two minutes later certainly livened the crowd as the Baggies fans sensed a comeback and they had almost completed it when Hegazi saw a header cleared off the line.

It was Hegazi causing problems in the Southampton box once again as his headed rebounded of the under-side of the bar and Rondon's follow-up was cleared off the line by a Saints defender.

Alan Pardew's men pushed and pushed for an equaliser despite a late effort from James Ward-Prowse, but Southampton ran out winners to a chorus of boos in what was an enthralling cup tie.