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Southampton vs Plymouth Argyle. Sky Bet Championship.

St. Mary's StadiumAttendance30,559.

Southampton 2

  • C Alcaraz (56th minute)
  • C Adams (63rd minute)

Plymouth Argyle 1

  • R Hardie (91st minute)

Southampton 2-1 Plymouth Argyle: Carlos Alcaraz and Che Adams score in Saints win

Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Southampton and Plymouth Argyle at St Mary's on Friday | Carlos Alcaraz and Che Adams net in Saints win after controversial disallowed goal denies Argyle.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Southampton and Plymouth Argyle.

Che Adams and Carlos Alcaraz scored as Southampton continued their assault on the Sky Bet Championship automatic places by beating Plymouth 2-1 at St Mary's.

Alcaraz's and Adams' second-half strikes were enough for the win, and moved them to within three points of Ipswich in second.

Ryan Hardie pulled one back in stoppage time but Saints are now on a 17-league match unbeaten run - two off their 102-year club record.

The first half was summed up by Southampton having 81 per cent of possession but not legally finding the back of the net.

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after opening the scoring at St Mary's
Image: Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after opening the scoring at St Mary's

Striker Adams did roll the ball past Conor Hazard and into the goal in the fifth minute only to see the offside flag raised.

Then Adam Armstrong had the net rippling as he took aim from inside the centre circle but the ball landed on the roof of the goal with a scrambling Hazard beaten.

Saints continued to push. Kyle Walker-Peters twisted and turned in the box but his shot was weak, Alcaraz swivelled on the edge of the area but struck wide and Ryan Manning dragged wide.

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Plymouth hearts are broken as Bali Mumba's header is harshly ruled out for offside only for Carlos Alcaraz to then give Southampton the lead at St Mary's

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Che Adams makes it 2-0 at St Mary's to give Southampton some breathing space at home to Plymouth.

They even hit a post as Manchester City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis glanced a header from a corner onto the upright.

Argyle had little attacking threat, but Morgan Whittaker was chased down by Samuel Edozie when clean through and their only shot of note saw Ben Waine slice high over the goal.

The visitors thought they had scored 10 minutes into the second period but Bali Mumba was offside before nodding in - moments later Alcaraz had opened the scoring for real and they stared down the barrel of continuing their 100 per cent winless away record.

The Argentinian had already gone close twice since the restart before receiving the ball from Edozie just outside the area before curling sumptuously into the top corner for his fourth goal of the season.

The goal opened the visitors up and after Will Smallbone had glanced a header wide, Adams made it two with some fine strength.

Harwood-Bellis spotted his run and unleashed him with a perfectly clipped ball down the middle, which allowed Adams to hold off his defender and finish past Hazard.

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Southampton let Plymouth back in at St Mary's after some calamitous defending allowed Ryan Hardie to make it 2-1

Joe Aribo crashed just wide, Adam Armstrong forced a save out of Hazard while Sekou Mara and Jack Stephens were both blocked on the line.

The Pilgrims did score the first away goal at St Mary's since November 11 when keeper Gavin Bazunu had the ball pinched off him on his own goalline by Hardie - who tapped in.

Ryan Fraser squandered a one-on-one and Whittaker curled over in a breathless finale but Saints made it seven home victories on the spin.

The managers

Southampton's Russell Martin:

"The last few minutes were mental. We took our foot off the gas and it is frustrating.

"They'll feel really aggrieved by the decision but it wouldn't have been deserved. It was attack versus defence for so long. We should have scored before we did.

"It is a big learning curve for the lads as they should have had a clean sheet."

Plymouth's caretaker boss Neil Dewsnip:

"I thought Southampton were excellent and we were conscious the last two teams who came here lost by four and five.

"We had a few scary moments in the first half but a few moments where if we had a bit more quality we could have put them to the sword.

"I'm devastated for the players. I'm really disappointed about the decision. We don't seem to get the rub of the green.

"In a world of VAR where they put the lines across the pitch, there was a line across the pitch called the six-yard box and it indicates our player was quite clearly on side.

"I don't think (I'll go and see the officials), I think that would just tease us.

"That's the really annoying bit. People make mistakes but the next bit is really disappointing. They take a quick free-kick. Three of our players are celebrating a goal, should have allowed them to get goal side."

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