Southampton 1 Leeds United 0: Harding nets winner against former club

Simon Grayson refused to blame teenage left back Aidan White as Southampton inflicted on Leeds only their fifth League One defeat in 36 matches.

Almost 31,000 crowded into St Mary's to see an enthralling clash between two big clubs fallen on hard times but it was White's first-half mauling by Jason Puncheon which proved crucial to the outcome.

Pacy Puncheon, a 250,000 signing from Plymouth, cavorted down the left at will in a one-sided first 45 minutes, giving 18-year-old White a torrid time.

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Puncheon's total dominance resulted in the only goal after 25 minutes, his low centre from the right being turned in by former Leeds full-back Dan Harding.

Grayson took White off at half time, switching Andy Hughes to left back and bringing on Leigh Bromby and Puncheon was not the same force.

Grayson said: "Puncheon is a good player and he can be good against anybody if he gets the room. I took Aidan off because we needed more experience down that flank in the second half but there is no way he was at fault. In fairness to him, I don't think Aidan got as much protection as he should have done but I have no doubts about him, he will be a good player.

"Aidan had been in the team on merit over the previous two or three games and wore the shirt because he deserved it. I have no doubts he will be back.

"None of the team played well, nobody sparkled. We did not turn up.''

Southampton: Davis; Otsemobor (Thomas 15), Fonte, Jaidi, Harding; Puncheon, Hammond, Schneiderlin, Lallana; Barnard (Waigo 73), Lambert. Unused substitutes: Bialkowski, Seaborne, Wotton, Connolly, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Leeds: Ankergren; Hughes, Kisnorbo, Naylor, White (Bromby 46); Snodgrass, Doyle, Howson, McSheffrey (Kilkenny 63); Becchio (Gradel 78), Beckford. Unused substitutes: Martin, Dickov, Johnson, Crowe.

Referee: Peter Walton (Northants)

Man of the match: Jason Puncheon.

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