Southampton kept on course for a return to the Premier League with a thumping win at struggling Nottingham Forest.

Nigel Adkins' table toppers went ahead in the first half when Guly Do Prado tapped in David Connolly's cross.

Luke Chambers was sent off for Forest for an elbow on Connolly, who then finished from close range for his sixth goal of the season.

Morgan Schneiderlin later found the bottom corner with a well-struck right-foot shot from long distance.

Did you know?

Southampton were last in the top flight during the 2004-05 season

The Saints remain top of the Championship, ahead of second-placed West Ham on goal difference, after a first away victory in the league since 5 November.

Forest - who had striker Marlon Harewood back in their starting line-up for the first time in nine years - are languishing in the drop zone after a fifth straight home league defeat.

The leaders dominated from the off, deservedly leading through Do Prado, but Joel Lynch could have levelled before the break, only to head over when Lewis McGugan picked him out at the far post.

Referee Eddie Ilderton showed Chambers a red card after he led with his arm in a 49th minute aerial challenge with Connolly, the much-travelled striker then doubling the lead just past the hour from Schneiderlin's pass.

Schneiderlin hammered in the third and there was still time for Forest keeper Lee Camp to deny Lee Holmes, Daniel Fox and Dean Hammond in the dying stages.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Forest manager Steve Cotterill told BBC Radio Nottingham:

"You're going to be second best with 10 men against top of the table. The first-half performance wasn't as good as it has been and it has been pretty good for quite a while now. They were better than us. I didn't think we got the rub of the green with any decisions. But maybe we didn't earn it.

"Luke Chambers doesn't think he elbowed their player. I couldn't complain about it because from where I was I couldn't see properly but I was annoyed at the way people were in the fourth official's ear. I don't think it is right. People should walk away from it and leave it to the referee.

"But it's an indication that just about everything that can go wrong is going wrong for us. These are tough days."

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins:

"You have to earn the right to play football and we did that. We gave a very disciplined defensive performance that enabled us to go and control the game. Our principle is to pass the football and we did that very well.

"We have some exceptionally good footballers in this team and they demonstrated that. I know everyone will be talking about the sending-off but I thought we were in control of the game anyway so I don't think that would have affected the outcome.

"We scored three times and we could have had more and to win two successive away games without Rickie Lambert is very pleasing."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Nott'm Forest

  • 01 Camp
  • 03 Cunningham
  • 04 Chambers Dismissed
  • 16 Gunter
  • 33 Lynch
  • 10 McGugan (Anderson - 67' )
  • 14 Greening
  • 19 Moussi
  • 12 McCleary
  • 18 Harewood (Findley - 72' )
  • 20 Tudgay (Blackstock - 76' )

Substitutes

  • 21 Smith
  • 07 Anderson
  • 11 Reid
  • 23 Blackstock
  • 24 Findley

Southampton

  • 01 Davis
  • 03 Harding (Butterfield - 85' )
  • 13 Fox
  • 16 Martin
  • 26 Hooiveld Booked
  • 04 Schneiderlin
  • 08 Cork
  • 10 Guly (Holmes - 70' )
  • 14 Hammond
  • 20 Lallana (Reeves - 90' )
  • 22 Connolly

Substitutes

  • 21 Bialkowski
  • 12 Butterfield
  • 28 Reeves
  • 24 Holmes
  • 33 De Ridder
Ref: Ilderton
Att: 20,221

Match Stats

Shots

10 17

On target

5 10

Corners

6 6

Fouls

9 6

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:09 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +1:56

Corner taken right-footed by Paul Anderson from the right by-line, clearance made by Jos Hooiveld.

90:00 +0:38

Daniel Fox takes the inswinging corner, David Connolly has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the goal.

90:00 +0:12 Substitution

Substitution Ben Reeves is brought on as a substitute for Adam Lallana.

89:50

Daniel Fox takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.

89:15

Inswinging corner taken by Daniel Fox.

89:00

Dean Hammond takes a shot. Lee Camp makes a save.

88:11

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Adam Lallana.

87:52

Lee Holmes takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.

87:40

The ball is crossed by Garath McCleary, Aaron Martin makes a clearance.

87:08

A cross is delivered by Lee Holmes, Chris Gunter manages to make a clearance.

85:54

Lee Holmes fouled by Chris Gunter, the ref awards a free kick. Morgan Schneiderlin takes the indirect free kick.

84:35 Substitution

Substitution (Southampton) makes a substitution, with Danny Butterfield coming on for Dan Harding.

82:19

Lee Holmes is caught offside. Lee Camp restarts play with the free kick.

81:29

Headed effort from inside the box by Robbie Findley misses to the right of the target.

81:11

Greg Cunningham produces a cross, clearance by Adam Lallana.

78:46

Assist by Dean Hammond.

78:46 Goal scored

Goal! - Morgan Schneiderlin - Nott'm For 0 - 3 Southamp'n Goal scored by Morgan Schneiderlin from 30 yards to the bottom left corner of the goal. Nottm Forest 0-3 Southampton.

78:13

Daniel Fox takes a outswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Jonathan Greening.

77:56

Chris Gunter gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Holmes. Free kick taken by Dean Hammond.

77:05

Daniel Fox takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Jonathan Greening makes a clearance.

75:31 Substitution

Substitution Dexter Blackstock replaces Marcus Tudgay.

75:31

Unfair challenge on Marcus Tudgay by Aaron Martin results in a free kick. Greg Cunningham takes the indirect free kick.

75:02

Morgan Schneiderlin takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.

73:50

Chris Gunter takes a shot. Aaron Martin gets a block in.

71:24 Substitution

Substitution Robbie Findley joins the action as a substitute, replacing Marlon Harewood.

70:48

Lee Holmes produces a cross, clearance made by Joel Lynch.

69:49 Substitution

Substitution Lee Holmes joins the action as a substitute, replacing Guly Do Prado.

67:17

Foul by Guly Do Prado on Greg Cunningham, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Greg Cunningham.

66:02 Substitution

Substitution Paul Anderson is brought on as a substitute for Lewis McGugan.

65:00

Assist by Morgan Schneiderlin.

65:00 Goal scored

Goal! - David Connolly - Nott'm For 0 - 2 Southamp'n David Connolly fires in a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Nottm Forest 0-2 Southampton.

62:24

Jack Cork takes a shot. Blocked by Guy Moussi.

56:02

Garath McCleary handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Dan Harding.

53:49

Guly Do Prado produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

51:29

Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Gunter on Adam Lallana. Daniel Fox takes the free kick.

49:14 Dismissal

Dismissal The referee sends off Luke Chambers for serious foul play.

48:42

Luke Chambers concedes a free kick for a foul on David Connolly. Dean Hammond restarts play with the free kick.

48:08

Dan Harding has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the goal.

46:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by David Connolly on Luke Chambers. Lee Camp restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +0:59 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

43:24

Shot by Jack Cork from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.

40:49

David Connolly takes a shot. Save by Lee Camp.

38:54

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Lee Camp.

37:05

Effort from long range by Dean Hammond goes wide right of the target.

35:55

Joel Lynch takes a shot. Save made by Kelvin Davis.

34:59

Marlon Harewood fouled by Jos Hooiveld, the ref awards a free kick. Strike comes in from Lewis McGugan from the free kick, save by Kelvin Davis.

31:06

Corner taken right-footed by Lewis McGugan from the right by-line, Joel Lynch has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

30:59

The ball is crossed by Garath McCleary, Dean Hammond manages to make a clearance.

28:57

Lewis McGugan takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Aaron Martin.

28:20

David Connolly is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Lee Camp takes the indirect free kick.

27:19

Corner taken by Lewis McGugan from the right by-line played to the near post, save made by Kelvin Davis.

26:06

David Connolly provided the assist for the goal.

26:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Guly Do Prado - Nott'm For 0 - 1 Southamp'n Guly Do Prado finds the back of the net with a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Nottm Forest 0-1 Southampton.

24:29

Lewis McGugan has an effort direct from the free kick, Dean Hammond gets a block in. Marlon Harewood takes a shot. Blocked by Jos Hooiveld.

24:29 Booking

Booking Jos Hooiveld is shown a yellow card.

24:20

Jos Hooiveld gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marcus Tudgay.

22:40

Joel Lynch concedes a free kick for a foul on David Connolly. Daniel Fox produces a cross, Headed effort from inside the box by Jos Hooiveld misses to the right of the target.

21:32

Marcus Tudgay takes a shot. Save by Kelvin Davis.

19:50

Corner taken by Lewis McGugan from the right by-line, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Marcus Tudgay goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

19:15

Outswinging corner taken by Lewis McGugan, clearance by Daniel Fox.

19:01

Marcus Tudgay sends in a cross, Aaron Martin manages to make a clearance.

17:53

Marlon Harewood challenges Daniel Fox unfairly and gives away a free kick. Morgan Schneiderlin takes the free kick.

17:27

Jonathan Greening challenges Guly Do Prado unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Morgan Schneiderlin.

16:13

Adam Lallana takes a shot. Lee Camp makes a save.

15:11

Joel Lynch challenges David Connolly unfairly and gives away a free kick. Daniel Fox crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Jonathan Greening.

7:43

Corner taken by Daniel Fox, clearance made by Marcus Tudgay.

7:20

Dean Hammond takes a shot. Lee Camp makes a save.

5:11

Free kick awarded for a foul by Guy Moussi on Dean Hammond. Kelvin Davis restarts play with the free kick.

3:26

Marlon Harewood produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.

3:10

The ball is delivered by Greg Cunningham, clearance made by Aaron Martin.

0:48

The official flags Marcus Tudgay offside. Kelvin Davis takes the indirect free kick.

0:27

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Guy Moussi by Guly Do Prado. Guy Moussi takes the free kick.

0:00

The game gets underway.

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