Southampton motored back into the Championship’s automatic promotion spots with an impressive 2-0 win at West Brom.

Ryan Fraser and David Brooks netted as Russell Martin’s side returned to second, a point ahead of Leeds, in the race for an instant return to the Premier League.

Saints dominated for long spells and Baggies boss Carlos Corberan was sent off early for misconduct having kicked the ball while it was still in play.

The hosts were denied a penalty after Jack Stephens’ handball as defeat halted a buoyant atmosphere at The Hawthorns.

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West Brom boss Carlos Corberan had a moment to forget after he was shown a red card for interfering with play

Florida-based Shilen Patel is poised to buy a 87.8 per cent stake in Albion’s parent company, West Bromwich Albion Group Limited, with the takeover due to be rubber-stamped next week.

It will end the unhappy reign of Guochuan Lai and Patel was in the directors’ box to watch the Baggies, who remain fifth, slip to just a third home league defeat of the season.

Saints lost their club-record 25-game unbeaten run with Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat at Bristol City and came out with a point to prove.

Kyle Walker-Peters whistled over before the visitors were given a further boost after seven minutes when Corberan was dismissed.

The head coach went to stop a Sekou Mara clearance he thought had gone out but, with the ball still in play, referee Sam Allison showed the red card.

By then, Southampton were already in the ascendancy and soon after Alex Palmer smothered Adam Armstrong’s shot after his poor initial clearance allowed the striker a chance.

It only delayed the inevitable, though, as Saints opened the scoring after 14 minutes.

Fraser’s shot deflected wide and from the resulting corner the on-loan Newcastle winger struck. Shea Charles played it short to Stuart Armstrong and his deep cross picked out Fraser, with his fine cushioned volley finding the corner.

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Ryan Fraser puts away a composed volley to give Southampton the lead over West Brom

It gave Southampton the platform to dominate but they failed to extend their lead in the first half, Adam Armstrong shooting wide, which allowed Albion to regain their composure and threaten before the break.

Concerted pressure ended with John Swift driving wide from 25 yards and Albion were furious in stoppage time when Conor Townsend’s effort struck Stephens’ arm in the box, only for Allison to wave away their protests.

Albion tried to use that sense of injustice in the second half but, while they battled on, they struggled to make a serious impact.

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David Brooks opens his account for Southampton to double their lead against West Brom

Swift’s free-kick dropped over and it was Southampton who wrapped up the points with 17 minutes left.

Impressive substitute Joe Aribo started a sharp move when he found Stuart Armstrong to pop the ball into Sam Edozie. He slipped in Brooks 10 yards out and the Bournemouth loanee spun away to drill past Palmer.

Gavin Bazunu maintained the two-goal lead when he turned over Okay Yokuslu’s free header as the Baggies looked for an instant reply but there was no way back.

Townsend hoping WBA can use takeover to their advantage

West Brom defender Conor Townsend:

“There’s a lot of positivity around the takeover. Hopefully we can use that in the last 14, 15 games to push ourselves into the play-offs.

“We’re disappointed to lose, we’ve come into it on the back on some good home form.

“In the end it looks comprehensive but when we’re on top we need to take our chances. We felt one big decision didn’t go our way.

“From the ref’s angle [the penalty] seems to be a difficult one to give, he’s looking through bodies, but that’s what the linesman is for, to help. We’re disappointed but we had chances, we can’t say it was the ref’s fault we didn’t score.”

Martin: Our best win of the season

Southampton boss Russell Martin:

“It’s our best win of the season. After Tuesday the questions were asked, those watching – the teams in hotels, people at home – were looking to see how the team responded and they were amazing. It’s a big moment for us.

“The aggression was through the roof compared to Tuesday. When I watched back Tuesday I felt worse about it than after the game. I didn’t make a big enough deal about being aggressive and that was a hangover from Saturday.

“Away from home we’ve been really good on the whole. The fans have been amazing, we lost 3-1 we didn’t play very well and they were clapping us right to the end. Hopefully tonight shows the guys are really up for the fight.”



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