Aston Villa 2-4 Southampton

Relegated Aston Villa’s dismal season continued as they were beaten 4-2 at home by a Shane Long-inspired Southampton.

Match Reports: Aston Villa 2-4 SouthamptonMatch Reports: Aston Villa 2-4 Southampton

Villa made two changes to the side beaten 1-0 at Manchester United last time out, with Micah Richards and Carlos Sanchez recalled, while the Saints handed a first league start since September to striker Jay Rodriguez.

The Saints went within inches of taking the lead two minutes in when Long saw his shot strike the crossbar and stay out, with home keeper Brad Guzan well beaten.

A busy Jordan Ayew twisted and turned before shooting into the side-netting 12 minutes in, but three minutes later the visitors were in front when Long evaded his marker and converted from eight yards out from a Steven Davis ball in from the left.

Just past the 20-minute mark Leandro Bacuna headed wide following an Ashley Westwood cross and 10 minutes later the Saints were denied by the woodwork for a second time.

A Ryan Bertrand cross bounced around the area and defender Virgil van Dijk smacked a shot against the upright.

It was 2-0 to the Saints six minutes before the break when Long left Joleon Lescott in his wake and drew keeper Guzan before setting up Dusan Tadic for a comfortable finish.

However, Villa pulled a goal back right on half-time as Ashley Westwood turned the ball home following a melee in the area.

The Saints retook the whip hand in the early stages of the second half, with Rodriguez seeing an effort deflected narrowly wide.

Guzan then denied Long a second goal as the Saints striker delayed his shot, before Villa threw on Rudy Gestede to try and turn things around.

However, the hosts fell 3-1 behind with 19 minutes left to play when Long again caused chaos in the Villa defence and laid the ball off to Tadic, whose effort deflected off the unfortunate Westwood to end up in the back of the net.

Long came close to cashing in on a Guzan mistake late on before Westwood set up a tense finale as he curled home following a half-cleared corner.

Southampton calmed their nerves right at the death when sub Sadio Mane netted from a Cedric Soares cross to round off the scoring at Villa Park.

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