Southampton saw off West Brom 3-1 at St Mary's on Friday to set up a Championship play-off final showdown with Leeds United.

Leeds thumped Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road 24 hours earlier to book their place at Wembley, where Southampton now await on May 26.

The first leg between the Saints and West Brom finished goalless - just like the other semi-final - but the home side's quality told in the end.

Russell Martin's side dominated the first-half possession, with David Brooks going closest to scoring with a shot that hit the outside of the post.

Southampton made the breakthrough via a powerful Will Smallbone finish four minutes into the second half after Gray Diangana lost possession.

Darnell Furlong had a shot helped over by Alex McCarthy, while David Brooks - who assisted the opener - had a strong penalty appeal rejected.

Southampton remained in control, though, and Adam Armstrong scored a second with a shot through Furlong's legs and past Alex Palmer.

Armstrong's second goal arrived from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Tom Fellows fouled Ryan Manning in the box, rendering Cedric Kipre's late header a mere consolation.

Southampton boss Russell Martin was left frustrated about his side’s “nonsense” performance despite a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 victory over Watford.

Leicester and Leeds lost this weekend, while Ipswich dropped points to give Saints renewed hope of an automatic promotion spot and an immediate return to the Premier League.

They needed a stoppage-time winner from Flynn Downes to beat the Hornets after throwing away a two-goal lead.

And Martin said: “It’s a good day for us in the end with the results elsewhere as well, but we can only focus on ourselves and I’m pleased we got over the line.

“I’m frustrated with how long it took and what it took, but I’m really pleased we won. We played some brilliant football with plenty of running and energy.

“The feeling at the end is amazing, but it just shouldn’t be that. Watford were good, and they’re playing with freedom and they’re running so hard for Tom.

“We have five games now where we just can’t afford to play like that. Unfortunately for us, we’re not in the top two and having a nice time. We’re fighting and chasing for everything we have.

“I’m frustrated about some of it but really pleased with some of it. I’m delighted with the character and the grit and the willingness to win.

“You can’t concede two goals again at home after being two up – we have to stop that nonsense.

“I’ve never stopped believing in the group of players that we have. I think they’ve shown they believe so much in what they’re doing with the late winner today and the fight.”

Saints were in cruise control after Will Smallbone had headed in their fastest goal of the season after 57 seconds and Che Adams had doubled the lead by tapping in David Brooks’ cross.

Ryan Porteous pulled one back for the Hornets before the break before they thought they had earned a fifth straight draw when Ismael Kone coolly slotted in an 85th-minute equaliser.

But West Ham loanee Downes bundled in at the back post with the last kick of the game to send St Mary’s into chaos.

Watford interim boss Tom Cleverley said: “The red card incident on Porteous, genuine mistake. The handball, his line of sight might have been obscured, genuine mistake.

“The fact that the corner gets delivered after the 98th minute after seven added on is a worry.

“For me, our season is sort of mid-table and it’s not affected the way our campaign ends so much, but when there’s hundreds of millions of pounds on the line for Leeds, Ipswich and Leicester.

“I think they could be arguing that the top referees should be in charge of these games for when the stakes are so big.

“I will never, ever have a go for genuine mistakes. I’m disappointed the corner was taken. There was no subs, no goals in injury time.

“It’s a really difficult one to take. But for the first time we’ve been behind in my stint as manager and we showed real character to come back.

“It feels a really, really bitter pill to swallow that we’ve come out with no points. We’re feeling really hard done by now.”

Flynn Downes sensationally bundled in a stoppage-time winner to keep Southampton in the Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion race with a 3-2 victory over Watford.

Will Smallbone and Che Adams had put Saints on course to capitalise on Leeds and Leicester’s earlier defeats before Ryan Porteous and Ismael Kone levelled things up.

But Downes crashed home at the back post deep into stoppage time to send St Mary’s and manager Russell Martin into raptures – with a play-off place confirmed at the very least.

Saints are now seven points off the top two with games in hand.

Saints were rapid out the blocks as Smallbone headed in their quickest goal of the campaign after 57 seconds.

Adam Armstrong provided a perfect cross from the left side to allow Ireland international Smallbone to celebrate his fifth goal of the season.

The midfielder almost bagged a quickfire brace when he won the ball with a tackle on the edge of the Hornets box before getting back to his feet to blaze over the crossbar.

The home supporters did not have to wait too long for a second goal, though, as Adams tapped home in the 20th minute.

His 15th goal, and third versus Watford, this season came after Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross was sliced by Tom Dele-Bashiru, with his clearance chased down by David Brooks to tee up the Scotland international.

The momentum suddenly turned towards Watford half an hour into the match with Yaser Asprilla twice shooting wide, the second after a skilful run off the right flank.

They capitalised in the 34th minute when lackadaisical defending saw Porteous pick up the ball and fire home, via a deflection off Jack Stephens.

Vakoun Bayo stabbed another Hornets chance wide as Saints’ advantage was almost completely wiped out.

But the hosts rallied either side of the interval. Adam Armstrong controlled and fired over a Joe Aribo lifted ball, before Brooks slapped over a first-time effort from the edge of the box.

Porteous almost notched for a second time in the 53rd minute but his header was cleared off the line by Taylor Harwood-Bellis, before Giorgi Chakvetadze sliced wide from six yards.

Ryan Fraser thought he had settled the nerves when he slotted home in the 83rd minute but had not timed his run from Armstrong’s through ball.

And his poor synchronisation was punished when Kone turned on the ball in midfield before driving into the box and coolly inserting into the bottom corner – which appeared to put Watford on course for a fifth straight draw.

Armstrong almost won it when he volleyed into the ground, but Daniel Bachmann brilliantly tipped over before Downes’ last-gasp heroics.

The on-loan West Ham midfielder met Harwood-Bellis’ knock-on from a corner to take the three points.

Russell Martin says Southampton’s new unbeaten club record will not carry as much importance if the Saints do not return to the Premier League.

Southampton broke a 103-year-old club record on Saturday by extending their unbeaten run to 21 games with a 3-1 victory at Martin’s old club Swansea.

Victory lifted the Saints into second place in the Sky Bet Championship, above Ipswich on goal difference.

“It is a nice moment,” Martin said after his side completed Southampton’s best unbeaten run in all competitions since joining the Football League in 1920, eclipsing the 20 games undefeated achieved the following year.

“I’m really grateful to the players for what they’ve done, the courage they’ve shown. I’m immensely proud.

“The way they did it in the first half, one of the best performances I’ve ever been involved in as coach.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work and they’ve really stepped up. They’ve written themselves in to the history books – and let’s keep it going.

“It will have more significance, importance and standing if we achieve what we want at the end of the season, otherwise it will be just something we’ve achieved together.”

First-half goals from Che Adams, Will Smallbone and Flynn Downes – his first for Saints coming on his 25th birthday and against his former club – put Southampton in control.

However, Saints had to withstand late home pressure as Swansea twice hit the post and Gavin Bazunu made a couple of useful saves.

“We didn’t mix the game up in the last 20 minutes and played with no real purpose,” said Martin.

“We were relentless in the first half and I was disappointed the way we conceded at the end of that half.

“It was handball and offside but we had one offside (goal), so it is what it is.

“It took us a little bit longer to get the wheels in motion. Those two clubs (Leicester and Ipswich) had the two best starts in Championship history, so the fact we are now there and in the fight, in the mix, and hunting them both down, is a real credit to the players.”

Martin was given a warm welcome by Swansea fans on his return to the club he managed for two years and left last June.

Relations between Martin and the Swansea hierarchy had soured after the club had a dismal January transfer window.

“I felt sick this morning and couldn’t eat any breakfast,” said Martin.

“But it was really nice to come back and I enjoyed it more because of our performance and the fact we won.

“Seeing all the backroom staff and lots of people who meant a lot to us – and who we have a lot of love and affection for – was special.”

For Swansea boss Luke Williams, it was a first defeat in charge following an FA Cup victory over Morecambe and a Championship draw at Birmingham.

Jamie Paterson made it 2-1 just before half-time with a close-range header, and Swansea finally shook off the shackles to set up a grandstand finish that almost brought surprise reward.

“First half we were too deep, far too deep,” said Williams, Martin’s former assistant at both MK Dons and Swansea.

“Southampton could push the ball around, take their time and wait for the space and they did that brilliantly.

“Second half, the difference is we play higher up the pitch and we were able to create chances.”

Former Notts County boss Williams was appointed after Martin’s successor Michael Duff lasted less than five months in the job.

He said: “If it was something that was a really quick fix, everyone would be doing it. it’s not going to be that easy.

“I need to try to get the message across to the players in a clinical way because we are not blessed with time at the moment.”

Southampton broke a 103-year-old club record by going 21 games unbeaten as Russell Martin celebrated his return to Swansea with a 3-1 success.

Che Adams, Will Smallbone and birthday boy Flynn Downes scored first-half goals as the Saints secured a Sky Bet Championship victory that should have been by a far greater margin.

Jamie Paterson gave Swansea brief hope in cutting the deficit to 2-1, but this was a sobering defeat for the hosts – their first in four games since losing at Southampton on Boxing Day.

Southampton have now eclipsed their best unbeaten run in all competitions since joining the Football League in 1920, the Saints going 20 games without defeat the following year.

A sixth win in seven league games moves Southampton into second place, above Ipswich on goal difference before they meet Championship leaders Leicester on Monday.

Martin was given a warm welcome by Swansea fans on his return to the club he managed for two years and left last June.

Luke Williams, who worked as Martin’s assistant at MK Dons and Swansea, was in charge in the home dugout for the first time in the league.

Williams had started his reign with an FA Cup victory over Morecambe and a Championship draw at Birmingham, but this was a far tougher proposition against visitors unbeaten since September 23.

Southampton thrashed Swansea 5-0 at St Mary’s and could have matched that total inside the opening half-hour.

Adams volleyed an inviting opportunity wide before Carl Rushworth pushed Stuart Armstrong’s sixth-minute shot into the Scotland striker’s path for his ninth goal of the season.

Rushworth was the busiest man in Swansea, with several stops including a fantastic double save to deny Ryan Fraser and Adam Armstrong.

Swansea’s defence was breached again after 20 minutes, although there was more than a hint of offside about it.

Stuart Armstrong seemed well beyond the last home defender, but he was allowed to continue and his cross was converted by Smallbone from inside the six-yard box.

Josh Tymon had Swansea’s first effort, looping over from 20 yards, but Rushworth kept them in the contest by kicking away Adam Armstrong’s angled attempt at a post.

Southampton’s share of possession was over 80 per cent at times, but Swansea scored out of nowhere four minutes before the break.

Harrison Ashby’s cross ended in a collision between Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and Jamal Lowe.

The Swansea striker had possibly been offside, but the ball ran kindly to Liam Cullen and his centre was nodded home by Paterson.

Southampton restored their two-goal advantage on the stroke of half-time as former Swansea midfielder Downes fired home from 20 yards with the aid of a deflection.

Downes was celebrating his 25th birthday, but did not salute his first Saints goal out of respect for his former club.

The second period was a far quieter affair until Paterson struck the Saints woodwork twice in as many minutes.

Bazunu also thwarted substitute Yannick Bolasie from close range as Swansea finished strongly, but without success.

Russell Martin was proud that Southampton found a new way to win as they extended their unbeaten run to eight matches with a 2-1 victory over West Brom.

Will Smallbone and Adam Armstrong’s strikes maintained Saints’ promotion push, but it came in a much scrappier style than Martin would have liked.

The Baggies dominated the second half, equalised through Kyle Bartley and could have led but Darnell Furlong’s header came back off the crossbar.

Saints boss Martin said: “It was a different win to those we’ve had previously.

“I just said to the players it was built on character, spirit and togetherness. The energy from the crowd was amazing as well. It was that rather than dominance and control.

“They are one of the best teams we’ve played. I have so much respect for Carlos (Corberan). They make it seriously difficult for you. They have a lot of power and athleticism.

“In the second half the momentum swung and we were too untidy on the ball. Their goal was coming, we weren’t good enough in that period.

“We wanted the chance to fall to Adam, with his finishing abilities and mentalities.

“I enjoyed watching my players play and fight for each other. It is a big difference to the way we defended the goal at the start of the season.

“I can’t be entirely pleased with the performance but I can be proud of the way we won in a different way.

“I think the fans are now understanding the team and I hope they are starting to enjoy it. They stuck with it through a tough period.”

Saints took the lead in the fifth minute when Stuart Armstrong cut back to Adam Armstrong from the byline. His shot was saved but the rebound fell to Smallbone to convert from close range.

Conor Townsend thought he had cleared off the line but the goal-line technology confirmed West Brom had conceded the first goal in a match for the first time since September.

The visitors equalised after banging at the door for an extended spell. Brandon Thomas-Asante powered a header from Jed Wallace’s cross, with centre-back Bartley following up to bundle over the line for his second of the season.

The momentum continued when Townsend’s wicked cross was attacked by Darnell Furlong and crashed against the crossbar.

But Adam Armstrong went straight up the other end to calmly pull down Ryan Fraser’s cross and finish.

With Jan Bednarek suspended, Mason Holgate was given a rare start and Martin said: “Mason gave a brilliant performance today.

“Mason has had to wait for his opportunities. I put him in too early and he’s bounced back perfectly. The crowd were brilliant to give him man of the match.”

West Brom boss Corberan thought his side deserved a point for their second-half endeavour.

“I am not happy because we didn’t win,” he said. “We need to keep growing and attack better in their box and defend better in our box.

“If you analyse the way we play you will see how well we played in the second half. The volume of attack in the second half was more than the first.

“The fair result would have been a point for both teams.

“Every time we have lost the game before the international break but we have improved afterwards. If we can have those good performances as standard then we can be a competitive team.

“We need to do it against every type of opponent.

“We needed to be perfect today against a team like Southampton. We weren’t perfect in the first half and we weren’t perfect in finishing in the second half or how we defended their winner.

“We are frustrated because we go home with nothing.”

Adam Armstrong continued Southampton’s reputation as the Championship’s  late kings as his 79th-minute winner clinched a 2-1 victory over promotion rivals West Brom.

Will Smallbone had put Saints ahead early on before Kyle Bartley levelled things, with West Brom almost leading when Darnell Furlong hit the crossbar.

But Armstrong coolly prodded in his ninth goal of the season to grab the league-high eighth goal Saints have bagged in the last 15 minutes of their matches.

It extended Southampton’s unbeaten run to eight matches while halting West Brom’s three-game winning streak.

As they had in the previous seven games, Saints scored first.

Stuart Armstrong cut back to Adam Armstrong from the byline in the fifth minute. His shot was saved but the rebound fell to Smallbone to slam in from close range.

Conor Townsend thought he had cleared off the line but the goal-line technology confirmed West Brom had conceded the first goal in a match for the first time since September.

The hosts took hold of the game without testing Alex Palmer’s goal again, until the 28th minute.

Kyle Walker-Peters was released down the right, he stepped over to beat his defender before passing to Smallbone, via Kamaldeen Sulemana, but his snapshot had too much elevation and cleared the crossbar.

The Baggies rallied, found a powerful press and came knocking for an equaliser in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

Nathaniel Chalobah may have slipped when recording his side’s first shot but showed the intent.

Brandon Thomas-Asante’s shot was scuffed but was destined for the bottom corner had it not been for Taylor Harwood-Bellis throwing himself at the ball to head behind.

Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu then fired over from the corner of the box as Southampton were relieved by the whistle.

Mason Holgate had returned to the starting eleven in place of the suspended Jan Bednarek. The former West Brom loanee had a few nervy moments in the first half but grew into the game with a vital block to deny Thomas-Asante.

Still, the Baggies pushed without end product and in the 63rd minute Matt Phillips showed his directness to jinx off his flank before his curling shot bounced just wide.

There was no surprise when two minutes later the away side levelled.

Thomas-Asante powered a header from Jed Wallace’s cross, with centre-back Bartley following up to bundle over the line for his second goal of the season.

The momentum continued when Townsend’s wicked cross was attacked by Darnell Furlong and crashed into the crossbar.

It woke Saints up and with 11 minutes left,  they went straight up the other end and scored.

Adam Armstrong calmly pulled Ryan Fraser’s cross down at the back post and slotted in his ninth goal of the campaign. It was Saints’ only shot on target in the second period.

Gavin Bazunu produced a stunning stoppage-time save to deny Jayson Molumby and hold on to the three points.

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