Southampton 3 West Brom 1 (agg 3-1): Saints march into Championship play-off final & gear up for Leeds clash at Wembley

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ADAM ARMSTRONG sealed Southampton’s place in next Sunday’s *£200MILLION* final at Wembley with a finish of Premier League quality

The striker netted twice, once from the spot, to take his tally to 23 for the season and add to local lad Will Smallbone’s 49th-minute opener.

Will Smallbone netted the go-ahead goal

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Will Smallbone netted the go-ahead goalCredit: PA

Adam Armstrong bagged a brace to make sure of the result

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Adam Armstrong bagged a brace to make sure of the resultCredit: PA

Only Leeds ­– who swept past Norwich on Thursday night – stand between Saints and an immediate return to the top flight.

And having beaten Daniel Farke’s men just two weeks ago at Elland Road to complete a league double will give them a huge psychological boost

Southampton came out all guns blazing in front of an electric St Mary’s atmosphere.

The Saints went after the Baggies with a high press and Flynn Downes was causing problems early on without creating anything.

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But they should have opened the scoring when Adam Armstrong got down the right and crossed for David Brooks, whose shot hit the outside of the post.

However, had he left it, Smallbone was perfectly placed to score.

Southampton had been completely dominating their visitors but needed keeper Alex McCarthy to be alert to push a looping Tom Fellows cross-cum-shot over the bar.

Ryan Fraser almost got on the end of a wonderful pass over the top of the Baggies defence by Taylor Harwood-Bellis but Fellow just managed to nip in as the bounce beat the Saints ace.

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Brooks got the first shot on target after half an hour when he left fly from the edge of the box but Alex Palmer got down well to save.

There was a moment of concern when Downes went down injured and needed treatment

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Thankfully for the Saints he was OK to carry on.

Alex Mowatt got caught in possession in the Baggies half by Adam Armstrong.

He advanced with a few touches but saw his effort from the edge of the box blocked.

Jed Wallace was booed whenever he picked up possession because of his Portsmouth days between 2012 and 2015.

West Brom were giving Southampton much space to play and would have gone in at half time the happier.

After the break, Kyle Walker-Peters dragged a shot wide.

But the Saints moved in front.

Grady Diangana gave the ball away in the middle and Brooks raced down the right.

He sent a lovely ball through to Smallbone who took a few touches before hammering his shot past Palmer.

There was controversy when ref Tim Robinson waved away Saints penalty protests when Cedric Kipre went sliding in from behind on Brooks to send him tumbling

TV replays showed the Baggies ace did make some contact with the ball although mostly with Brooks.

Southampton were indebted to a superb fingertip reflex save from Alex McCarthy to deny Darnell Furlong’s blast that had goal written all over it.

Adam Armstrong thought he had scored when he raced through after nice work from Smallbone to slot home.

Yet he was just caught offside.

Ryan Manning curled a free-kick over from a good position on the edge of the box.

But Saints sealed their path into the final with 13 minutes left when Downes played through Adam Armstrong and he squeezed his shot through Furlong’s legs and into the bottom right corner.

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And then Manning got bundled over by Fellows and Armstrong fired home the resulting penalty to get the party started.

Kipre did add a consolation for the Baggies at the end as he fired past McCarthy, but it was too little too late for the visitors.

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