Paul Ince's first game in charge of Notts County left the Magpies supporters with an overwhelming sense of deja vu as they once again failed to capitalise on their first half dominance and saw the visitors come back from 1-0 down at the break to run out winners. Things didn't look promising before kick-off for Ince, who was serving a one match touchline ban, with Neal Bishop, Craig Westcarr and Lee Hughes all ruled out of the game. This saw Karl Hawley start as a lone striker supported by Ben Davies and Alan Judge, whilst Stephen Hunt returned at left back with Jon Harley moving into midfield. For the Saints, Rickie Lambert and Lee Barnard partnered each other in attack whilst dangerman Adam Lallana started in midfield and Frazer Richardson came in for his first start of the season.
The game started brightly for the hosts despite Barnard shooting over inside the first minute, with Davies causing real problems down the Notts right, with some last ditch defending keeping the scores level. It didn't stay that way for long though as Davies' right foot once again told, his delicious corner headed into the far corner by Mike Edwards for his first goal of the season. Notts threatened a second and John Spicer's mazy run was only ruined by his poor final ball to Hawley, whilst Krystian Pearce was refused a penalty despite clearly being dragged to the ground as Davies sent over another corner.
At the other end Lambert's 30 yard free kick was wonderfully saved by Rob Burch and the post as the Saints threatened for the first time, whilst Notts broke and saw Alan Judge fail to capitalise as a poor final ball cost the Magpies again. Towards the end of the half the referee was in the spotlight again as Jose Fonte appeared to go in wildly on Jon Harley on the half way line. The referee waved play on despite the recklessness of Fonte's challenge, signaling that he got a touch on the ball. The second half started without much incident although Hawley nearly inadvertently doubled the lead when he charged down Kelvin Davis' clearance and saw the ball fly wide. Edwards did brilliantly to get to a cross ahead of Dean Hammond to keep the scores level, whilst a Ben Davies free kick was wonderfully saved by Davis and Alan Judge's rebound was turned over the bar by Hawley.
The game was soon to swing in the Saints' favour though as Barnard, who had spent almost the entire game either sulking or on the floor, finally got involved as he latched onto Lambert's pass before being bundled over by Thompson. The Notts captain was sent off and Lambert clinically despatched the penalty to put the visitors in the driving seat. The extra man told almost immediately as Notts failed to clear a corner and Lambert was able to pick out Barnard who gave the visitors the lead and pretty much sealed the three points. Notts huffed and puffed and sent on Luke Rodgers, but were unable to create a chance to get back into the match and Lallana sealed the win for Southampton with the last kick of the game, curling brilliantly into the top corner.
Notts County 1 (Edwards '9)
Southampton 3 (Lambert Pen '68, Barnard '73, Lallana '90+4)
Notts Co - Burch, Thompson, Pearce, Edwards, Hunt, Judge (Lee), Spicer, Ravenhill, Davies, Harley, Hawley (Rodgers)