NEWCASTLE United were hammered at the St Mary’s Stadium this afternoon.
Alan Pardew’s side were beaten 3-0 by Southampton – but the scoreline still flattered them.
The score would have been much worse had it not been for Rob Elliot’s performance between the posts.
With first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul injured, Elliot was making his first Premier League appearance of the season.
And the 27-year-old had a busy afternoon, but he couldn’t stop Southampton climbing above United into eighth place.
Jay Rodriguez struck twice, and Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana also found the net.
Pardew handed a rare start to Hatem Ben Arfa, but the forward was replaced at the break along with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who had had a forgettable 45 minutes.
MORE NEWCASTLE UNITED STORIES:
Newcastle were given a first-half battering at the St Mary’s Stadium, but they somehow held out until the 45th minute.
Rodriguez put two early chances into the side netting before Elliot, making his first league appearance of the season, then stopped a header from the forward.
Elliot then denied Lambert with an outstretched hand, and Lallana put another opportunity wide.
It wasn’t until the 30th minute that Newcastle – who had given away possession far too cheaply – started to get hold of the ball and find space in Southampton’s half.
But the home side did have something to show for their efforts by the time Andre Marriner called time on the half.
Newcastle’s static back four was undone by a Adam Lallana ball forward which found Lambert, who crossed for Rodriguez, who finally beat Elliot.
Pardew replaced Ben Arfa and Yanga-Mbiwa with Luuk de Jong and Davide Santon at the break.
But four minutes into the second half the home side were 2-0 ahead thanks to Lambert, who scored with a right-footed effort after Lallana found him six yards from goal.
It didn’t get any better for Newcastle, who went 3-0 down in the 70th minute.
Lallana was allowed to run at goal and pick his spot after collecting the ball in United’s half. The midfielder beat Elliot with a fierce drive from outside the box.
Elliot stopped a shot from James Ward-Prowse, and Southampton continued to threaten.
At the other end, United – backed by more than 2,000 fans at the St Mary’s Stadium – could barely muster a shot.
And Rodriguez netted a fourth goal in the 89th minute to cap a miserable afternoon for Newcastle, who entertain Manchester United on April 5.
SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, S Davis (Schneiderlin, 71), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Gallagher, 89), Rodriguez, Lambert (Ramirez, 83). Subs: Gazzaniga, Guly, Hooiveld, Reed.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot; Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon, 46), Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara; Anita, Tiote; Sissoko (Dummett, 78), Ben Arfa (de Jong, 46), Gouffran; Cisse. Subs not used: Alnwick, S Taylor, Gosling, Shola Ameobi.
Goals: Rodriguez 45, 89, Lambert 49, Lallana 70
Bookings: Haidara 76
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Attendance: 31,360 (2,187 Newcastle)