Despite a late rally Norwich City were edged out by the odd goal in three against Southampton on Wednesday night at St Mary’s.
After falling two goals behind following first half goals from Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand, City rallied from the hour mark but ultimately fell just short of a share of the spoils.
Teemu Pukki dispatched from an acute angle to halve the deficit, and despite a late flurry of chances in front of a vocal travelling contingent the night on the south coast would end in defeat.
Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting line-up following the home draw against Arsenal three days earlier.
The only change in the 18 saw Alex Tettey named among the substitutes in place of Patrick Roberts.
The first 15 minutes passed with little goalmouth action of note.
It took until that point for Kenny McLean to send a low daisy-cutter from range into the side netting of the Southampton goal.
The home side responded. Shane Long rose highest among a crowd of bodies in the Norwich area to head tamely at Tim Krul after a swirling cross from Cedric Soares.
And with nothing to chose between the two sides, it was Southampton who struck first midway through the opening half.
Ings arrived at the near post to glance a dangerous James Ward-Prowse set piece from the left wing into the Norwich net.
Buoyed by their opener, the home side came close to doubling their lead when Moussa Djenepo fizzed a shot from the edge of the area narrowly over Tim Krul’s crossbar.
But that only proved a temporary respite, as Saints’ second goal arrived on the stroke of half time.
From a corner kick another dangerous delivery from Ward-Prowse was this time flicked on by Long, with Bertrand arriving at the back post to convert from point blank range.
At half time Farke shuffled the pack, introducing Marco Stiepermann and Tettey in place Tom Trybull and Ibrahim Amadou.
City continued to see their fair share of the ball and on the hour mark gradually began to make inroads into the Saints rearguard.
On the hour Stiepermann engineered space in the Southampton half before bundled the ball out left to the arriving Sam Byram who saw a low shot gathered at the second attempt by Alex McCarthy.
Stiepermann then fired over the bar following a clever dummy from Todd Cantwell following Pukki’s cutback from the left byline.
And that brief period of City pressure ultimately resulted in a route back into the game.
Tettey slid a clever pass through a forest of Saints defenders onto which Pukki raced. After a couple of touches to steady himself when clear of the backline, the Finland international clinically converted from the left channel for his ninth league goal of the season.
Cedric saw a shot saved by Krul immediately thereafter, capitalising from Long’s pass out wide.
The final roll of the City dice came in the shape of Emi Buendia’s introduction from the bench, Cantwell making way for the former’s inclusion.
With City firmly on the attack in stoppage time, they almost found the equaliser when Aarons’ cross was flicked wide via the head of Buendia. Byram then saw a shot sail over the bar as City’s valiant attempt at a comeback amounted to just the one goal deficit.
Southampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Long (Yoshida 85), Ings (Adams 77), Djenepo (Romeu 71), Ward-Prowse, Bertrand, Redmond, Hojberg (c), Bednarek
Unused substitutes: Gunn, Boufal, Obafemi, Danso
Goals: Ings (22), Bertrand (43)
Bookings: Djenepo (59)
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Byram, Godfrey, Zimmermann (c), Hernandez, Cantwell (Buendia 83), Trybull (Tettey 46), Pukki, McLean, Amadou (Stiepermann 46)
Unused substitutes: Fahrmann, Vrancic, Lewis, Srbeny
Goals: Pukki (65)
Bookings: Byram (62)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Kick off time: 7.30pm
Venue: St Mary’s
Half time: 2-0