A wonder strike from Southampton forward Adam Armstrong inflicted a fifth straight defeat on Aston Villa.
With less than three minutes on the clock, Armstrong’s first-time effort flew into the back of the net and proved decisive on the South Coast.
While the Saints are now unbeaten in four Premier League games, the pressure has increased on Villa chief Dean Smith.
The hosts dominated the first half before Villa came out with renewed vigour after the break.
But the best chances fell to Southampton with Emi Martinez forced into a brilliant save to stop Che Adams’ header.
And boyhood Villan Smith was extremely downbeat come full-time, he said: “I feel disappointed.
“They were the better team first half and we were the better team second half. We have a strong squad and we are struggling with injuries
“These defeats have come from nowhere.”
Despite the visitors best attempts in the final 30 minutes their chances were limited.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was thrilled with the efforts of his men as they rose to 12th in the table.
The Austrian said: “I am really happy. The clean sheet is good, especially. We struggled during the second half and we struggled to control the game.
“We changed the shape and then stopped giving them as many chances. That’s a good win.”
Did you know?
Hasenhuttl’s side have taken 10 points from their last four Premier League games, as many as they won in their previous 12.
This was Aston Villa’s fifth straight league defeat, their longest losing streak in five years.
The Saints have scored in each of their last five league games.
This was the earliest Aston Villa have ever conceded a goal (2:15) while going on to lose 1-0 in their Premier League history.
Armstrong is one of only two English players to score 30+ league goals in England’s top two divisions since the start of last season.