It was Charlie Austin to the rescue for Southampton on Tuesday night after he came off the bench late in the second half to score the only goal in his side’s 1-0 victory over Brighton in the Carabao Cup second round.
Austin replaced Manolo Gabbiadini in the 81st minute before netting the winner just before stoppage time to give Southampton supporters something to smile about in what has been a disappointing start to the season for them.
The Saints have taken just one point from their first three Premier League fixtures following defeats against Everton and Leicester City and a draw at home versus Burnley.
There is, however, room for the St. Mary’s faithful to remain optimistic — and £9m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Austin is one reason why.
The 29-year-old has had his injury problems in the last few seasons but, when fit, he is probably one of the best goalscorers in the division.
Austin’s figures in the 2014-15 season with an atrocious Queens Park Rangers side, who were relegated, in particular, is impressive.
In 35 Premier League appearances, Austin scored 18 goals and if he can stay fit enough to play a similar amount of games this season, there is no reason why the former Burnley man cannot reach those goal-scoring heights again.
As well as being a very instinctive finisher inside the box, Austin is also a very capable striker in the air and a striker with great technique.
The deadline-day arrival of Danny Ings, who manager Mark Hughes has deployed besides Austin up front will also, undoubtedly, give the ex-QPR player even more opportunities to manoeuvre into dangerous areas with his strike partner able to distract opposition central defenders.
Ultimately, Austin is exactly the kind of player who can keep Southampton out of another relegation scrap and even fire them into the top half of the Premier League table. The only thing that has been holding him back is his fitness.