Davis and Pelle on mark as Southampton down neighbours Bournemouth
Southampton moved back into the top half of the Barclays Premier League table with a routine win over south-coast rivals Bournemouth - despite being reduced to 10 men late on.
The jury is out on whether this fixture should be considered a derby but this 2-0 defeat will still hurt the Cherries, who have now lost four of their last five league games.
Southampton were on the front foot from the off and deservedly took the lead as Steven Davis scored his second goal of the season, with Graziano Pelle soon doubling their advantage before Bournemouth came back into the game after the break.
Victor Wanyama was dismissed with 10 minutes remaining having collected two yellow cards but, despite their dominance and numerical advantage, the visitors could not force a save out of Maarten Stekelenburg until the latter stages.
The last meeting between these two at St Mary's was five years ago in League One, with Rickie Lambert getting the goals in another 2-0 Saints win.
In fact they have never lost at home to Bournemouth and that record was never in doubt as Ronald Koeman's side enjoyed a first half of near-domination before taking their foot off the gas after the interval.
Pelle had the game's first chance but saw his effort blocked behind by Simon Francis with Sadio Mane also having a shot deflected behind off Sylvain Distin.
The Saints pair then combined for what should have been the opening goal as Pelle nodded Ryan Bertrand's cross into the path of Mane, whose shot into the ground looped up over Adam Federici's crossbar.
It was all Southampton though and they duly took the lead on the half-hour mark as Pelle played in Bertrand and his cross was turned home from close range by Davis.
Things got worse for the Cherries moments later as Mane's superb ball out to the wing was collected by Dusan Tadic, who crossed for Pelle to power home a second Southampton goal in six minutes with his head.
Eddie Howe finally saw his side muster up a chance on the stroke of half-time but Glenn Murray saw his shot blocked and Dan Gosling could only head the rebound wide.
The Bournemouth boss responded by making two half-time changes with Joshua King and Junior Stanislas introduced in place of Marc Pugh and Murray.
The tactical tweaks certainly gave the visitors something to work with and they were in the ascendency as Stanislas came close to his first league goal since August 2014 when he whipped a free-kick inches wide of Stekelenburg's left-hand upright.
Wanyama was shown a second yellow card by referee Craig Pawson for a foul on substitute Lee Tomlin, with the Kenya international not learning from his earlier caution for bringing down Adam Smith.
But, if Bournemouth's first-half deficiencies came in defence, their need to replace injured striker Callum Wilson was abundantly clear after the break as they toiled to get themselves back into the game without ever truly testing Saints, who go seventh as a result of this win.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Doesn't seem to matter how many players are prised out of Southampton, they keep on winning games regardless. Much credit to @RonaldKoeman" - Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) acknowledges the progress of Southampton after they moved up to seventh in the Premier League table.
Maarten Stekelenburg: 6
Cedric Soares: 6
Jose Fonte: 6
Virgil Van Dijk: 7
Ryan Bertrand: 7
Victor Wanyama: 6
Jordy Clasie: 7
Dusan Tadic: 7
Sadio Mane: 8
Steven Davis: 7
Graziano Pelle: 8
Maya Yoshida: 6
Oriol Romeu: 6
James Ward-Prowse: 6
Adam Federici: 6
Adam Smith: 5
Simon Francis: 5
Sylvain Distin: 5
Charlie Daniels: 5
Matt Ritchie: 5
Dan Gosling: 6
Harry Arter: 5
Andrew Surman: 6
Marc Pugh: 5
Glenn Murray: 5
Joshua King: 5
Junior Stanislas: 6
Lee Tomlin: 6
Graziano Pelle: A constant thorn in the side of a Bournemouth defence already bereft of confidence having shipped 10 goals in their previous two league games. The Italy international played his part in the first goal and then grabbed his ninth Saints goal of the season with a trademark header - working tirelessly for the cause all afternoon.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Graziano Pelle: With Steven Davis having already put the hosts in front, Pelle scored with a typically powerful header to take the game further away from Bournemouth. The striker climbed above Sylvain Distin to meet Dusan Tadic's cross and give Adam Federici no chance.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
While Ronald Koeman reverted back to the side that drew at Liverpool last weekend, Eddie Howe reacted to defeat at home to Tottenham by dropping error-prone goalkeeper Artur Boruc from his squad completely. There were also starts for Adam smith and fit again Harry Arter but Howe must have concerns over the way his side are defending at the moment, with captain Tommy Elphick only able to take the role of Sky Sports pundit due to injury.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Is it a derby or not? That was the question hanging over the match before kick-off. Bournemouth have not played Southampton since 2011 so would have been keen to steal a march on the club 30 miles up the road. Southampton's fans were quick to stress they prefer to see Portsmouth as their traditional rivals and this game certainly did not have the bite and needle usually associated with heated derbies.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Sunderland v Southampton, November 7 (Premier League)
Bournemouth v Newcastle, November 7 (Premier League)
The win took the Saints up to seventh in the table and they are now unbeaten in their last five Premier League games.
And manager Ronald Koeman labelled his side's first-half display as "fantastic".
He told Sky Sports 1: "I think the first 45 minutes was the best football we have played so far this season. We had good movement, scored great goals. It was the best the team can play.
"We learnt from the Leicester game where we were 2-0 up but we're defending better. Opponents will always give a reaction and you have to deal with that."
Bournemouth boss Howe felt his side were punished for their poor first-half showing.
Howe said: "The second half was everything we wanted the first half to be, but unfortunately we were well off the pace in the first 45 minutes and (that) made it very difficult for us.
"But it was the complete reverse in the second half, but the only thing missing from our performance was the goals."
Bournemouth are now a point off 18th-placed Newcastle, whom they host at Dean Court next week.
Howe added: "Technically I think we showed we can compete at this level, our passing and movement proved that. We need to stick to our strengths and eradicate our mistakes."