At a time when Alan Pardew finds himself under heavy pressure to save his job, his Newcastle United side once again capitulated at St. Mary’s and were beaten by four for the second season running.

The travelling Toon Army didn’t take long to make their feelings known and the performance on the pitch did nothing to raise spirits.

It took just five minutes for Southampton to break through a paper-thin Magpies defence, when a simple throw-in routine resulted in Graziano Pelle heading in Ryan Bertrand’s cross.

The home side doubled their lead when Pelle bagged his second before half-time before goals from Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin rounded off the misery for Newcastle.

Just 22 seconds were on the clock when Saints almost had an opener. Fabricio Coloccini’s back pass was slammed straight at Shane Long by Tim Krul and the rebound bounced inches wide of the post.

Seconds later, the pair clashed when the striker beat Krul to a through ball before being pole-axed by the Dutchman, only for referee Chris Foy to wrongly judge that the keeper had made contact with the ball before Long’s face.

However, the breakthrough was clearly coming and it was Pelle who made it. A straightforward throw-in wasn’t dealt with by the Newcastle defence and the Italian striker rose between Coloccini and Mike Williamson to nod home his first home goal of his Saints career.

Newcastle did little to respond. Emmanuel Riviere was constantly alone up front and lacking service to create anything, while Southampton picked apart the Geordies’ defence whenever the visitors tried to push more men forward.

Pelle doubled his tally after 19 minutes when Williamson made a mistake when trying to clear a long ball. The former Feyenoord man scuffed a hopeful volley into the path of Dusan Tadic, who provided Pelle with a pass for a simple finish.

The booing from the travelling fans grew louder but Moussa Sissoko almost found a way back into it for the visitors, latching onto a cross from Massadio Haidara only to be denied by former Newcastle keeper Fraser Forster.

Pardew changed things at half-time by replacing Vurnon Anita with Cheick Tiote but it was never enough to change such a poor performance.

The third goal came courtesy of another Williamson mistake. The former Portsmouth defender totally failed to react to Steven Davis’s deflected pass and allowed Jack Cork to steal in, round Krul and slot home.

Newcastle were praying for the final whistle. Ayoze Perez was introduced for Remy Cabella and Sammy Ameobi was thrown on too, but Southampton added a fourth in the third minute of injury time.

In fairness, it was the best move of the match. Pelle back-heeled a lofted pass out to Schneiderlin via Davis and the Frenchman cut inside and curled a stunning effort into Krul’s far top corner.