Newcastle won this terrific game 3-1 against the Saints but it was costly for the home side with both Miguel Almiron and Fabian Schar – two of Newcastle’s best players – both leaving the field injured in the second half.
No news on how bad the injuries are but Miguel was in tears when he left the pitch.
But Newcastle were unstoppable in the first half and we were deservedly 2-0 up at the break.
Ayoze Perez scored a terrific hat trick and that takes him to 11 goals for the season with 10 being in the Premier League and he is now one goal above Rondon as our top goalscorer.
Surely Perez will not be allowed to leave the club this summer?
Perez became the first player since Ginni Wijnaldum scored four goals in October 2015 in scoring a hat trick – Ginni scored four against Norwich at home which was our first win of that relegation season under Steve McClaren.
And the Saints could (should) have been down to 10 men before we had scored – in the 24th minute – when James Ward-Prowse shamelessly blocked Almiron getting through.
Referee Anthony Taylor only showed Ward-Prowse a yellow card, with Newcastle being two on one when the foul was committed.
Rafa Benitez was furious, as yet another bad decision went against us and assistant Mikel Antia was sent to the stands because of his constant protests.
But that brought Newcastle back into the game and three minutes later – after 27 minutes – Hayden put Perez through and the former Spanish U21 striker hit a superb shot into the net from an angle to make it 1-0.
And just 3 minutes later – the same player Ayoze Perez put Newcastle 2-0 up.
This time it was Rondon who set the Spaniard up from the left and Perez was at the far post to easily beat goalkeeper Gunn.
Newcastle were ahead 2-0 and had taken two of their chances in the first half.
Newcastle wanted to add to their tally after the break but Southampton had reorganized but Ki Sung-yueng still struck the inside of the post with a low shot that almost made it 3-0.
But the Saints then pulled a goal back after 59 minutes after some pressure through substitute Mario Lemina, who beat goalkeeper Martin Dubravka with a terrific shot from just outside the box.
But then we lost Almiron through injury after 64 minutes and Fabian Schar followed just five minutes later.
Miguel was in tears when he left the pitch and was replaced by Christian Atsu.
But this Newcastle team are real fighters and they lifted their game towards the end of the game and Ward-Prowse cleared a Salomon Rondon header off the line.
But with four minutes left it was 25-year-old Perez who hit the ball home with just four minutes left to play for his hat-trick.
It rounded off an excellent display from Newcastle and a win that should make us completely safe in the Premier League.
Cardiff have to beat Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow otherwise Newcastle will be mathematically safe this season.
Newcastle also climb three places in the league to 12th place and above Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Bournemouth after today’s win.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar (Fernandez, 69), Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie; Perez, Ki, Hayden (Diame, 77), Almiron (Atsu, 64); Rondon.
Subs not used: Darlow, Shelvey, Muto, Yedlin.
Southampton: Gunn, Bednarek, Yoshida, Stephens (Lemina, 46), Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Sims (Armstrong, 46), Redmond, Ings (Long, 76).
Subs not used: Forster, Austin, Slattery, Ramsay.
Goals: Perez 27, 31, 86, Lemina 59
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe, Manchester)