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Sixfields Stadium (ATT 7,183) 8th January 2005 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Jones

Northamptn Northampton Town vs Southampton So'ton

Saints see off Cobblers

By Richard Jolly.   Last Updated: 08/01/05 2:05pm

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Northampton now have a unique and unwanted distinction. One of only four teams to have lost to Southampton this season, they have now been beaten twice by the Premiership strugglers.

Fifty-four league positions separate the two 'hamptons'; two goals was the final margin here as Kevin Phillips, Peter Crouch and Jamie Redknapp earned Southampton a 3-1 win and Redknapp senior a first victory since his defection from Portsmouth.

Lee Williamson had equalised for Northampton in a first half where they enjoyed as many opportunities as their more exalted opponents, but the sharpness of the Southampton skipper determined the tie.

Phillips volleyed over Lee Harper's bar in the opening seconds and, while his strike partner Crouch's first touch was found wanting, he offered enthusiasm and invention in attack.

His overhead kick was headed wide by Calum Davenport and then, when Crouch cushioned a header into his path, Phillips swivelled to give Southampton a 29th-minute lead.

The goalscorer returned the compliment with a slide-rule pass, inviting the increasingly confident Crouch to finish delicately and restore Southampton's lead.

Williamson had levelled less than 60 seconds after the opening goal, advancing unchallenged from the centre circle to fire home from 25 yards

Northampton's other attacks stemmed from their right flank where Josh Low was getting the better of his duel with Danny Higginbotham. Antti Niemi was forced to parry one shot from the winger as well as holding a Martin Smith free kick and turning away Scott McGleish's shot in an even first 45 minutes.

And Southampton's propensity to gift their opponents opportunties surfaced again as Claus Lundekvam's hesitance let in McGleish and required Niemi to block bravely.

The Cobblers were in pursuit of a second equaliser when Southampton sealed victory. From a Northampton corner, the lively David Prutton led a swift counter-attack, Phillips drew two defenders away and laid the ball back for Redknapp to score the goal his composed passing display merited.

Southampton still required a combination of Niemi and Davenport to scramble the ball off their goal line in injury time to avert a nervy finale.

And after seven games, Harry Redknapp finally recorded his first win at Southampton. In a season of false dawns on the south coast, however, it may not signify a change in fortunes; the first team Steve Wigley's Saints beat was also Northampton.