Match ends, Southampton 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.
Adam Lallana struck to earn Southampton only their second win in 10 league matches as they dominated West Brom in a scrappy affair at St Mary's.
The England midfielder shot under Ben Foster after a clever pass from substitute Gaston Ramirez.
Rickie Lambert and Lallana had shots saved in the first half, before Jay Rodriguez fired wide after the break.
West Brom, with new head coach Pepe Mel in the stands, were denied late on when Artur Boruc saved from Shane Long.
Mel, who will take charge when the Baggies host Everton in their next league game, will inherit a side with one win in 11 matches and their lacklustre display on the south coast underlines the job in hand.
West Brom's effort could not be questioned and emphasised why caretaker boss Keith Downing had suffered defeat just once in four matches ahead of kick-off, but his side's attacking intent was almost non-existent.
All too often they invited pressure, before changing tack after Lallana scored his sixth goal of the season to cap a typically busy display.
Downing's side opened the game in disjointed fashion and Steven Reid's wayward shot from 35 yards was all they had to show for their first-half endeavour.
Southampton, despite their positivity, were unable to penetrate their opponents' defence, prompting wayward efforts from range by Lambert and Rodriguez.
Since the 4-1 rout of Hull in November, Mauricio Pochettino's side have slipped from third to ninth, but they showed more willing in a second half in which their visitors looked happy to settle for a point.
Rodriguez seized upon a loose Youssouf Mulumbu pass but smashed a shot wide as the visiting defenders retreated, but Southampton were yet to forge a clear opening.
West Brom frustrated their hosts. often keeping 10 men behind the ball, but it was the introduction of Ramirez which led to their defence being breached.
The Uruguayan's lofted first-time pass from out wide found Lallana in space and the midfielder, who scored his first senior goal against West Brom in 2008, drilled home from 12 yards.
The introduction of Baggies top scorer Saido Berahino offered the away side a much-needed edge late on, but it was Long who nearly equalised.
Liam Ridgewell's cut-back found the striker unmarked five yards from goal but Boruc, back after eight games out injured, produced a stunning save with his left leg.
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Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino:
"I think the evolution as of late has been good, I think the team has progressed a lot.
"I think the team as of late has been playing better, but it has been lacking defensive solidity.
"Today we recovered that, we recovered that winning spirit, we recovered that solidity at the back."
West Brom caretaker manager Keith Downing:
"I think Pepe Mel would have seen us an organised side. Without the ball we restricted Southampton to not many opportunities, not clear-cut opportunities anyway.
"We are all disappointed about what we did with the ball and credit to the opposition, they don't give you time and quickly press you as soon as they lose it.
"I think he will work on us in terms of possession and creativity, but I thought there was commitment in terms of the team defensively."
- 6José Fonte
- 5LovrenBooked at 27mins
- 18CorkSubstituted forRamírezat 62'minutes
- 20LallanaSubstituted forWard-Prowseat 84'minutes
- 9RodriguezSubstituted forDo Pradoat 90+1'minutes
- 21Do Prado
- 23McAuleySubstituted forGeraat 81'minutes
- 3OlssonBooked at 72mins
- 18AmalfitanoSubstituted forVydraat 86'minutes
- 9LongBooked at 58mins
- 39AnelkaSubstituted forBerahinoat 77'minutes
- Howard Webb
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Southampton 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Artur Boruc.
Foul by Luke Shaw (Southampton).
Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Southampton. Guly replaces Jay Rodriguez.
Offside, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison tries a through ball, but Matej Vydra is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jay Rodriguez.
Attempt saved. Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Liam Ridgewell.
Attempt missed. James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Saido Berahino.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matej Vydra replaces Morgan Amalfitano.
Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).
James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hand ball by Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).
Substitution, Southampton. James Ward-Prowse replaces Adam Lallana.
Steven Davis (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Dangerous play by Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion).
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Luke Shaw.
Attempt missed. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Nathaniel Clyne.