SAINTS were dealt a huge blow to their automatic promotion hopes on Monday evening by losing 3-2 at league leaders Ipswich Town.

Southampton were reduced to 10 men when James Bree was shown red for a last-man foul on Leif Davis before Jeremy Sarmiento scored a 97th-minute winner for the hosts.

The result leaves Saints 12 points adrift of the automatic spots, but they do have two games in hand over Ipswich and Leeds United.

Here is how we rated every Southampton player's performance at Portman Road...

Gavin Bazunu - 4.

Should do better for all three goals he conceded. Beaten at his near post by Davis’ thunder strike. Could not get a hand to Nathan Broadhead’s central strike. Failed to stop Sarmiento’s toe-poke finding the bottom corner.

James Bree - 5.

Started ahead of first-choice Kyle Walker-Peters. Pretty solid but could not stop Davis for Ipswich’s first and second goals before pulling him down and seeing red with five minutes of the 90 left.

Jan Bednarek - 6.

Came back in after missing out against Boro on Friday. Some solid defensive moments - notably standing up Ali Al Hamadi as he raced towards goal. Maybe lucky not to see red for a late foul on Al Hamadi.

Taylor Harwood-Bellis - 5.

Part of a back four which have conceded three goals for a second away game in a row. Unlucky the ball went through his legs for Ipswich’s equaliser. Has not been the same player he was earlier in the season.

Jack Stephens - 6.

Started at left back and shuffled in front of the defence to help Southampton play through the Ipswich press. Played his role well and helped in the attacking third when he cut back for Adam Armstrong, who could not convert. 

Daily Echo: Saints skipper Jack Stephens started at left-back in a defense-minded back four.Saints skipper Jack Stephens started at left-back in a defense-minded back four. (Image: PA)

Flynn Downes - 6.

Making his return to Portman Road. Stephens' position in the build-up allowed Downes to venture further forward in attack. Still in the right places defensively. Forced to drop into right back after Bree's sending off.

Joe Aribo - 7.

Much more press-resistant and reliable when playing forward quickly than Will Smallbone has been. Played a key role in Southampton's instant equaliser - popping the ball out to A Armstrong before cutting across to goalscorer Che Adams. Withdrawn just before the sending-off. 

Stuart Armstrong - 6.

Brilliant assist for Southampton's second goal when he threaded A Armstrong on course for a neat finish. Lost the most duels (8) but tried to play forward more than any teammate - attempted 13 passes into the final third.

Adam Armstrong - 6.

Involved in Southampton's equaliser before giving them the lead when he raced on to S Armstrong's through ball and drilled a first-time finish into the corner. Missed some key chances to win the game. Had two bites at a close-range effort at 2-2 but could not take either.

Che Adams - 6.

Got Saints back into the game when he beat a tight offside and scored from close range. Dropped deeper to play a role in build-up. Replaced by Sam Edozie as Russell Martin looked to inject more pace into the attack.

Ryan Fraser - 5.

Missed two big chances to score Southampton's third goal. He rolled the first just past the post on the stroke of halftime. Sent the second at Vaclav Hladky, who raced out to close him down quickly. 


David Brooks - 6.

The first man introduced from the bench by Martin when he replaced Fraser on the wing. Made a brilliant last-man slide tackle to stop Ipswich from racing straight through on goal. Reacted slowly to Sarmiento's bad first touch just before his goal.

Sam Edozie - 6.

Added much-needed pace and directness to Southampton's front three as they chased a third goal. Tried to run at tired defenders with differing results.

Joe Rothwell - N/A.

Introduced with eight minutes of regular football still to play. Unable to steal the ball from Sarmiento

Will Smallbone - N/A.

Came on alongside Rothwell to add legs in the midfield as Ipswich piled on late pressure. Dropped a little too deep in the box and could not cut out Davis' ball across the box which found Sarmiento for his winner.