Brentford striker Ivan Toney sent a timely reminder of his form to England coach Gareth Southgate by netting the opener in his high-flying side’s 2-0 Premier League victory at bottom club Southampton on Wednesday.

Toney reacted first in the 32nd minute to score from a Bryan Mbeumo corner that was flicked on by Christian Norgaardto take his league tally to 16 for the season.

Southgate will select his England squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine on Thursday and only Norway’s Erling Haaland and England captain Harry Kane have scored more Premier League goals than Toney this season.

Southampton dominated possession and racked up 563 passes, their highest total this season, but were unable to penetrate Brentford’s defence as they missed the chance to move out of the relegation zone.

Yoane Wissa then sealed their fate deep into stoppage time with a goal on the counter-attack.

Brentford, who suffered their first defeat in 12 Premier League games at the weekend, moved above Fulham into eighth place in the table with 41 points.

“They’re a strong side and they can play some football. We dug deep and got the win in the end,” said the 26-year-old Toney, who was called up to the England squad before the World Cup but was not taken to Qatar.

“Coming off the back of a defeat after a long run we went on, it was important we bounced back.”

Southampton’s best chance came just after halftime when a flowing move down the right ended with a Che Adams close-range effort being blocked on the line by Aaron Hickey.

The south coast club remained on 22 points from 27 games, two adrift of 17th-placed West Ham United.

“I think we have some positive things in the game but we were not the best team in both ends,” Southampton manager Ruben Selles told the BBC. “We are not happy, it is not good enough.”

Asked if Southampton can avoid the drop, he added: “I think the belief is there. Today was disappointing because of the result. The feeling is still ‘we can do it’.

“We will keep working, fighting and trying to keep us alive.”

Brentford host Leicester City at the weekend when Southampton entertain Tottenham Hotspur.

March earns Brighton win as Palace worries deepen
Brighton and Hove Albion maintained their push to qualify for Europe with a 1-0 victory against arch-rivals Crystal Palace to move level with Liverpool in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Solly March’s goal after 15 minutes proved enough for the seventh-placed hosts as they moved to 42 points, the same as Liverpool but having played one game less.

Brighton have now won 12 league games this season, equalling their own top-flight record, and are only six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with two games in hand.

Palace’s struggles in front of goal were evident again as they failed to take three early chances with Odsonne Edouard heading a glorious opportunity wide and Wilfried Zaha and Michael Olise also guilty of wastefulness.

Patrick Vieira’s side are now without a goal in their last four games, without a victory in 2023 and despite being 12th in the table are only three points above the relegation zone.

Brighton continue to impress under manager Roberto De Zerbi and after Palace’s initial flurry they controlled the game.

They have now picked up 18 points in the Premier League in 2023, with only Manchester City (25) and Arsenal (23) picking up more in the calendar year.

Bizarrely, considering the date, midfielder March’s seventh league goal of the season from Kaoru Mitoma’s incisive pass came in the 15th minute of the match.

Palace gave a debut to 19-year-old goalkeeper Joe Whitworth because of an injury to first-choice Vicente Guaita, making him the youngest keeper to appear in a Premier League game since Ben Alnwick for Sunderland in December 2005.

He acquitted himself well, but it was another night of frustration for Palace at the other end of the pitch.

“The problem is we don’t score those goals and we don’t make the right decisions in the last third,” Vieira said.

“It is confidence. We had a really good game plan. We were aggressive enough but with a lack of talent at times and killer instinct and ruthlessness to put the ball in the net.”

It does not get any easier for Palace with a trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal looming on Sunday.