“Keep playing, keep playing,” Nick Pope bellowed with 15 minutes to go, his encouragements to his Burnley teammates echoed around the empty St Mary’s.
Few would have complained if both parties had done just that well beyond the time left, that was the entertainment they served at St Mary’s.
Not many these may have had, a meeting between the teams that started in 14th and 15th place and had survival on the agenda, a blast.
Nathan Redmond’s excellent volley completed a brilliant comeback at Southampton at St Mary’s
The win takes the hosts up to 36 points to ensure virtual survival for the South Coast side
Danny Ings clinically equalized when he hacked in James Tarkowski and slid home
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER REVIEWS
Southampton (4-4-2): Forster 8; Walker-Peters 6.5, Bednarek 6, Vestergaard 6, Bertrand 6; Armstrong 7.5 (Salisu 79 6), Ward-Prowse 6, Diallo 6, Walcott 6 (Djenepo 87 6); Ings 8.5 (Adams 86 6.5), Redmond 7.5.
Subs not used: McCarthy, Stephens, Minamino, Tella, Ferry, Jankewitz.
Targets: Armstrong 31, Ings 42, Redmond 66
Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 6
Burnley (4-4-2): Pope 8; Lowton 7, Tarkowski 7.5, Mee 7.5, Pieters 6.5 (Taylor 33 7); Gudmundsson 5.5 (Richardson 906), Westwood 7, Brownhill 7, McNeil 7.5; Vydra 7 (Rodriguez 78 6), Wood 7.5.
Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Cork, Stephens, Nartey, Dunne, Driscoll-Glennon
Targets: Wood 12 pen, Vydra 28
Manager: Sean Dyche 6
Referee: Andre Marriner 7
Yet that’s exactly what it was.
Five goals, four of which were taken brilliantly, a thrilling comeback from 2-0 behind, a lot of VAR controversy and, above all, great contributions from the number 9’s from both sides and their goalkeepers.
In the end, it was Southampton who bypassed it and claimed the three points that brought them to the brink of safety.
It might as well have been Burnley. It might as well have completed a level.
Hasenhuttl said: ‘To turn it around when two are behind against this team, it doesn’t work much.
‘It was an important step against an opponent of the same level as you. Now we have three points more than them. It was a six-hand and we got it. ‘
Southampton climbed to 13th place, 10 points from the drop zone, and should now have another Premier League season to look forward to, along with their FA Cup semi-final against Leicester in a fortnight.
Although it looked like they were going to end the day for about half an hour, still looking over their shoulder.
Both teams returned to the Premier League action refreshed after the international break and went for it, which resulted in a wonderful open game.
Chris Wood first tested Fraser Forster within 40 seconds and after 12 minutes Burnley, carrying a real threat every time they attacked, continued.
Southampton appeared to have escaped when referee Andre Marriner let play continue after Kyle Walker-Peters pushed Erik Pieters in after he crossed.
However, nothing was to be missed in this VAR era, and Marriner pointed to the site after being urged to review the incident.
Southampton itself had grounds to appeal and Walker-Peters appeared to have been pulled back by Pieters before the Burnley left back got to the byline.
Chris Wood put the hosts ahead from the spot following a VAR assessment by Andre Marriner
The penalty was awarded after Saints right-back Kyle Walker-Peters made a mistake on Erik Pieters
Wood left the debate to others and hit the spot kick right down the middle, scoring for the third consecutive game.
Burnley then doubled their lead just before half an hour, Matej Vydra pounded Forster brilliantly after Wood added an assist to his goal by nodding Ben Mee’s approval to his forward.
Despite trailing 2-0 at Southampton, boosted and amplified by the return of fit Danny Ings, Theo Walcott and the availability of captain James Ward-Prowse after the calf injury that forced him out of England’s last World Cup qualifying match against Poland, their moments.
Burnley repeatedly repelled those who came in their box in their trademark, bodies on the leash.
But twice the impressive Ings Clarets skipper Ben Mee pulled his movement out of that comfort zone and Southampton goals followed.
Ings took the winner in the reverse fixture and made it three times in three against his old club
At the first opportunity, Mee followed him out of the box and Ings’ clever move around the corner helped Ward-Prowse’s ball to Stuart Armstrong for a brilliant first-time finish.
On second, Ings beat Mee in a race over the right and showed brilliant composure to cut the sliding James Tarkowski before slipping the ball through Nick Pope’s legs.
“I am so happy that he is fit and on the field again,” Hasenhuttl said of his star man Ings who had been on the road for a month.
James Ward-Prowse then hit the bar when both sides went in search of a winning goal
The striker’s transfer market looks set to be a busy one, and with a year to go on his contract in the summer, here was a reminder why Ings – who was linked with Manchester City during the international break – might also feature.
He not only stood out with his goal and assist, but also with his all-round display and work pace.
Offense remained Southampton’s best form of defense after the break and Ings remained a central figure, setting up Ward-Prowse to crash an attempt off the crossbar, nodding a header off the line and then having his shot spectacularly saved by Pope.
Defiant Pope twice denied Armstrong and Walcott before saving from Ings, but could only keep Southampton at bay for so long.
Nick Pope’s resistance in the second half was broken as Redmond drove home confidently
After his rescue from Ings, Walcott flipped the loose ball to Redmond who was waiting on the back post to play volleyball in what turned out to be Southampton’s winner.
If that sounds simple from the man who inspired Southampton to the FA Cup semi-finals with two quarter-finals against Bournemouth, it wasn’t.
Redmond’s technique of keeping his volley down and beating the two Burnley defenders between him and the goal was exceptional.
Pope’s earlier exploits were then rivaled by Forster, who threw himself full length to tilt Wood’s curler wide and then stayed big to deny the New Zealander from scoreless reach, Burnley’s striker got a try despite his shirt was drawn by Jan Bednarek.
Fraser Forster then downed two great saves when the hosts held on for a massive win
Dyche said, ‘I’m a big fan of VAR, but they are the ones you scratch your head about. Ryan Bertrand [also] pulls out a header and the ball hits his hand that wasn’t even looked at, so go figure. ‘
He added: ‘We had a lot of control in the first half hour and then flat for 15 minutes. You can’t do that in the Premier League.
“Without being disrespectful to Southampton, we gave them a chance to win the game and were a little naive.”
Below is how all the action unfolded with Sportsmail’s Alex Bowmer.