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Armstrong’s Double Sends Southampton to Wembley After Beating West Brom

Armstrong's Double Sends Southampton to Wembley After Beating West Brom

Southampton’s journey from adversity to celebration was evident as their fans created a raucous atmosphere with flares and smoke bombs at St Mary’s. Their team responded with a triumphant performance, securing a spot at Wembley after defeating West Brom 3-1.

Manager Russell Martin’s squad received a hero’s welcome, setting the stage for a crucial game against Leeds next Sunday. Will Smallbone eased any nerves by opening the scoring early in the second half. Adam Armstrong then sealed the win with two late goals—one a precise strike, the other a penalty.

Arriving together on the team coach, Southampton’s players were greeted by a haze of red smoke, a fan-led guard of honor. This atmosphere set the tone for the match, with notable performances from Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Flynn Downes, David Brooks, and Armstrong.

“The noise was incredible, the passion of the people… I’ve never seen anything like it,” Martin said. “There were a lot of emotional people on the bus, and it made my team talk really easy.”

Southampton showcased a beautiful, fluid style of play, characterized by sharp, slick attacks. They strategically added advertising hoardings to limit space for West Brom’s long throws, a tactic accepted by West Brom’s coach Carlos Corberán as fair play.

However, the match wasn’t without controversy. Southampton fans’ pre-match fervor caused a delay for West Brom’s arrival, leading to complaints. Post-match, some Southampton supporters clashed with West Brom fans, but Martin emphasized the minority involved.

Martin, reflecting on his career, said captaining Norwich to Premier League promotion was his best day in football. He urged his team to embrace the occasion and show courage at Wembley. “The challenge now is to do that on the biggest stage,” he said.

Southampton dominated the first half but couldn’t break the deadlock. The home crowd, including Rishi Sunak and club owner Dragan Solak, were buzzing. Southampton’s dominance continued, with Brooks hitting the post and setting up Smallbone for the opener.

Despite a penalty appeal being denied, Armstrong’s clinical finish and a subsequent penalty secured the victory, making Cedric Kipré’s late header a mere consolation for West Brom.

Credit: Guardian Sport

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