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London Road Ground (ATT 9,478) 17th April 2012 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: J Waugh

Peterboro Peterborough United vs Southampton So'ton

Peterboro 1

T Rowe (86)

ft

So'ton 3

J Hooiveld (5)
B Sharp (10, 57)

Saints far too classy for Posh

Last Updated: 17/04/12 10:38pm

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Sharp: Scored twice for Saints

Sharp: Scored twice for Saints

A 3-1 win at Peterborough saw Southampton move five points clear of third-placed West Ham in the automatic promotion race on Tuesday night.

Billy Sharp made it 17 goals for the season with a brace at London Road.

Early goals from defender Jos Hooiveld - his seventh of the season - and Sharp set the visitors on their way.

Sharp's second all but sealed the points, with a late strike from Tommy Rowe little more than consolation for the home side.

Peterborough named Gaby Zakuani in their starting line-up despite manager Darren Ferguson suggesting the defender's season was over after he dislocated a shoulder against Leeds at the weekend. Lee Tomlin also started, while Saints named an unchanged line-up.

Southampton took the lead from the first chance of the night. An inswinging corner from Dan Fox found Hooiveld and his downward header beat Paul Jones.

Nigel Adkins' side doubled their lead five minutes later when Adam Lallana burst into the area and could have gone down under challenge. He stayed on his feet and managed to dig out a cross to Richard Chaplow who nudged the ball to Sharp and he slammed home.

Lallana saw a 25-yard drive tipped over by Jones moments later, before Peterborough finally responded.

Tyrone Barnett sent a header straight at Kelvin Davis in the Saints goal and Zakuani forced the keeper into a decent stop with another headed effort shortly afterwards.

First half chances dried up after that, with George Boyd's blocked shot the closest either side came.

Posh started the second half on top, with Shaun Brisley heading into the arms of Davis and Barnett nodding past the left hand post from Boyd's centre.

But Southampton stepped it up and added a simple third in the 57th minute when Rickie Lambert's cross-shot found its way to Sharp and he slid in his second of the night and sixth goal in as many games.

Hooiveld was forced off through injury after 63 minutes but it did not seem to affect the visitors as Chaplow almost added a fourth with a fierce right foot shot which Jones palmed away.

Paul Taylor, who had looked the player most likely to breach the Saints defence, forced a decent save from Davis when he fizzed in a 25-yard shot as time ticked on.

Rowe should have done better with a shot from inside the area in the 85th minute, and after Taylor had stung the palms of Davis again, Rowe did manage to pull a goal back.

A low cross from Barnett was coolly converted by Rowe from six yards.

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Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13