Southampton 0 - 2 Sunderland (Asoro 51', Maja 57')
Red Cards: G Honeyman (80') & R Bakary (80')
Man of the Match: Joel Asoro
Sunderland: Talbot, T Robson, Ledger, Brady, Casey, Beadling, E Robson, Embleton, Honeyman, Maja, Asoro. Subs: J Robson, Pain, Lawson (for Asoro, 71), Nelson (for Maja, 83), Molyneux (for Embleton, 90+).
Sunderland started the game brightly, with centre forward Josh Maja causing problems to the Saints defence from the off with his movement and hold up play.
The rest of the half, however, was relatively quiet. Both sides seemed comfortable going through the motions and keeping it neat and tidy without really forcing the issue, with the best chance of the opening forty-five minutes falling to Joel Asoro.
Receiving the ball at the back post, Asoro wasn't able to control perhaps as well as he wanted to and by the time he got his strike away there were Southampton defenders in the way to make the block.
The teams went into half time goalless, and it was Sunderland who must have got a rocket up their backsides at the break as they came out of the blocks much sharper than their opponents did.
After Sunderland spurned a number of half chances in the opening minutes of the half, it was Swedish international Asoro who finally broke the deadlock in the 51st minute.
Receiving an excellent through pass from midfielder Elliot Embleton, Asoro did well to turn his man inside the box before finishing well into the bottom left hand corner of the Southampton goal.
It wasn't long after before Sunderland made it two - Asoro smashed a low cross into the Saints' area from the right hand side which wasn't dealt with by Harry Lewis, and after he spilled the ballit was Josh Maja who pounced first to double the away side's lead.
Sunderland attempted to control the game after the second goal but Southampton weren't letting up and tried to get back into the game, spurning a fine chance in the 66th minute when Harley Willard beat Tommy Robson and goalkeeper James Talbot but was denied by the post.
Just as the game was starting to settle down, tensions seemed to boil over in the 80th minute and a fracas in the corner of the Southampton half descended into pandemonium. Once the situation had been calmed down, both George Honeyman and Richard Bakary were sent off by the referee, reducing both sides to ten men.
Sunderland managed to overcome the headache of being reduced down to ten and saw out the game with ease.
Southampton just didn't test James Talbot enough and Sunderland left the South Coast with three points firmly tucked away, leapfrogging Arsenal in forth place - the Gunners face a tough test away to 3rd place Liverpool on Monday evening, with the pressure firmly on them to reclaim their place in the table from the plucky Mackems.
James Talbot - 7
Southampton struggled to test him but did well when called upon and handling was excellent.
Tommy Robson - 7
Comfortable on the ball, made one vital block and had the better of his opposition winger.
Michael Ledger - 7
Completely nullified any threat from the Southampton attack.
George Brady - 7
Dan Casey - 6
Solid performance at right back.
Tom Beadling - 7
Playing in a defensive midfield position rather than his usual centre back role and looks at home.
Elliot Embleton - 6
A relatively quiet game but his pass put Asoro through for the opener.
Ethan Robson - 7
Dictated play from midfield.
George Honeyman - 6
Was his usual industrious self until he blemished his performance with a needless - although slightly harsh - red card.
Joel Asoro - 8
Man of the Match. Great finish for the first and his cross led to Maja's goal.
Josh Maja - 7
Led the line well and got a deserved goal.
Carl Lawson - 6
Replaced Asoro up front after an hour, little to do but helped see the game out.
Andrew Nelson - 5
Replaced Maja, worked hard but struggled to get involved as Southampton looked to get back into the game.
Luke Molyneux - 5
Replaced Embleton in injury time.