Southampton beat Aston Villa 4-3 at Villa Park as James Ward-Prowse nets two fantastic free-kicks with Jannik Vestergaard and Danny Ings both scoring one each.
Club stalwart James Ward-Prowse marked his 26th birthday with two goals from fantastic free-kicks as Southampton moved up to third in the Premier League with victory at Aston Villa.
The England midfielder also provided the assist for the opener for Jannik Vestergaard before Danny Ings made it 4-0. Two stoppage-time goals from the home side took some of the gloss off the victory for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men.
As for Villa’s Dean Smith, his side have now lost their past two games and conceded seven goals in the process having won their first four fixtures.
After having been denied a goal by the finest of margins following a VAR check in the third minute, Saints took the lead when defender Jannik Vestergaard thumped home a header from Ward-Prowse’s delivery from the right. It was Dane’s second goal in the past two away games.
It was 2-0 shortly after the half-hour. Winger Theo Walcott, back in the starting line-up, won a free-kick near the edge of the area for a foul by Douglas Luiz. Ward-Prowse stepped up and whipped the ball past Emiliano Martinez.
And just before half-time, the club’s former youth player repeated the trick after Matthew Cash had handled a yard outside the box.
Ings curled in an exquisite shot after the break for Saints’ fourth before Tyrone Mings managed to pull a goal back with 28 minutes of regular time still remaining, but the hosts could not build on it until the game was in its final moments.
Ollie Watkins fired in from the penalty spot in the third minute of stoppage time before Jack Grealish struck home from outside the area with almost the final kick of the match.
Smith’s side drops to seventh, a point behind Southampton.