West Brom 2 Southampton 3: Saints hold on to worsen Pardew's woes
A smash-and-grab raid late in the first half helped Southampton to come from behind and secure a 3-2 win over Premier League relegation rivals West Brom at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
The Baggies had led through Ahmed Hegazi's early header, but Mario Lemina equalised with a spectacular first goal in Southampton colours, and Jack Stephens continued his rich vein of scoring form by nodding home, as the visitors struck twice in the space of three minutes shortly before the break.
James Ward-Prowse appeared to have afforded the visitors a degree of comfort when he steered home a clever free-kick in the 55th minute.
And although Salomon Rondon pulled one back in the 72nd minute, the hosts proved unable to force an equaliser in the time remaining, the result leaving West Brom at risk of being cut adrift in 20th place.
Mauricio Pellegrino's improving Saints side are now unbeaten from their last six matches in all competitions to climb out of the relegation zone and up to the safety of 14th ahead of the visit of Liverpool to St Mary's Stadium next weekend.
A second defeat in succession, meanwhile, leaves Alan Pardew's team rooted to the foot of the table, with another stern test awaiting at reigning champions Chelsea next Monday, before they host Southampton again in the fifth round of the FA Cup later this month.
Supporters, players and officials commemorated the life and career of Cyrille Regis before kick-off at The Hawthorns, but, thanks to the laxity of the Saints' backline, the hosts did not require a player of the late England striker's enduring quality to take the lead in the fourth minute.
Liverpool loanee Daniel Sturridge, making his first start, perhaps has the potential to aspire to the level of the Baggies great.
But it was the less storied figure of centre-back Hegazi who was left unmarked to crash home Chris Brunt's corner with a firm header at the back post.
After that early spark, the contest descended into a slog befitting two teams struggling at the wrong end of the table, until Southampton came to life as half-time approached.
Ben Foster saved well from Guido Carrillo at the near post and, from the subsequent corner, Lemina netted his first Saints goal with a sensational drive from outside the area in the 40th minute.
And the match was turned on its head three minutes later, Stephens netting his third goal in the last three games when he flicked on Ward-Prowse's corner at the near post.
Southampton started the second half strongly and extended their advantage 10 minutes into the second half.
Ward-Prowse won an argument with Sofiane Boufal over the right to take a free-kick on the edge of the area and justified his determination by steering a clever low effort around the wall and into the bottom corner, with Foster unable to react quickly enough to keep it out.
After going missing throughout Southampton's onslaught, West Brom finally managed to respond with 18 minutes to go, Rondon honouring the memory of Regis, his predecessor as the Baggies' number nine, by climbing high to head Brunt's cross beyond Alex McCarthy and into the back of the net.
Substitute Shane Long could have settled it against his former employers but headed over a cross from Cedric Soares at the back post in the 82nd minute, and Foster saved from Nathan Redmond deep in injury time, but West Brom struggled in vain to create the chance they so desperately craved during a tense, scrappy finale.