Southampton 3-1 Walsall

Southampton clinched promotion to the Championship with victory over Walsall, who survived by one point.

Guly do Prado gave Saints the lead with a fine shot after Walsall were caught in possession.

David Connolly quickly doubled the hosts' advantage with a curled finish before Julian Gray bent home magnificently for the Saddlers.

Saints sub Alex Chamberlain cut inside and hit an unstoppable shot past visiting keeper Jimmy Walker.

The result secures Southampton's return to the second tier after two years in League One.

Despite losing, Walsall, who were bottom of the table when Chris Hutchings was sacked in January, retained their League One status after Dagenham & Redbridge were comprehensively beaten by Peterborough.

Southampton dominated the early proceedings with Do Prado twice forcing saves from Saddlers keeper Walker and Rickie Lambert and Dean Hammond both going close.

It was Do Prado who gave his side a deserved lead when he fired home after Jordan Cook gave the ball away cheaply.

Just minutes later Connolly made it 2-0 when he checked inside and beat Walker with a clever finish at the near post.

Gray sent a long range effort wide and Andy Butler headed wide from a corner as the Saddlers began to mount a recovery before the interval.

It was Gray who put the Saddlers back in the contest with a superb goal, ghosting past two defenders before unleashing a superb shot past Kelvin Davies in the Saints goal.

Walsall picked up where they left off after the break, Jon Macken firing into the side-netting.

Chamberlain almost had an instant impact after coming on when his shot cannoned back off the Walsall upright.

Walsall substitute Will Grigg was next to be frustrated by the woodwork when his left-foot volley hit the outside of the post.

Macken thought he had equalised for the visitors when he tapped in following a corner but an offside flag meant that celebrations were short-lived.

Moments later Chamberlain made the points safe.

He received a Lambert pass on the wing and ran past two defenders before thundering home a great shot that gave Walker no chance.

Walker made two fantastic late saves to deny Chamberlain as Saints looked to put some gloss on the result as the Saddlers ran out of steam.

But it mattered little as both teams got what they set out to achieve at the start of the day.


Southampton manager Nigel Adkins told BBC Radio Solent:

"It was a great day to celebrate. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium and I thought the players played some good football as well.

"It was nice when we came up on the gantry. These are great memories, when you see the whole pitch covered in red and white supporters with great smiles on their faces.

"It's been great to sit back and look at people's faces and see how happy they are.

"(Next year) there will be additions, and we'll look to bring quality in to the club to join an already excellent group of players."

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