Result: Southampton cruise past Newcastle United

Southampton beat Newcastle United 4-0 in their Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium.

Southampton have strengthened their hopes of qualifying for Europe with a 4-0 victory over Newcastle United in their Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium.

Southampton's English striker Rickie Lambert scores their second goal past Newcastle United's English goalkeeper Rob Elliot (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, © Getty Images

Jay Rodriguez had the first chance of the match for the hosts, but after latching onto Jose Fonte's through-ball, he poked his effort wide of the post.

The striker came close again soon after as he met Calum Chambers's cross at the back post, before heading the ball into the side-netting.

Rodriguez was proving to be Southampton's biggest threat and forced Rob Elliot into a save from his glancing header, before James Ward-Prowse drilled a low shot just wide.

Elliot came to the Saints' rescue again as he rushed off his line to block Rickie Lambert's strike and moments later Adam Lallana headed wide after he was picked out at the near post.

Jay Rodriguez of Southampton celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014© Getty Images

Rodriguez should have scored two minutes before the break when he got on the end of Lambert's header back across the box, but he saw his strike from point-blank range saved by the keeper.

On the stroke of half time Southampton broke the deadlock. Lambert latched onto a pass over the top and played the ball across the box for Rodriguez to tap in from close range.

The Saints doubled their lead four minutes after the break through Lambert, who was picked out in the box by Lallana before firing an effort past Elliot.

The home side added a third goal in the 70th minute when Lallana picked the ball up in the midfield, before driving forward and lashing a powerful strike into the top right-hand corner.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Newcastle passes ahead of Jay Rodriguez of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 © Getty Images

Papiss Cisse almost pulled a goal back for the visitors a minute later, but Artur Boruc was out quickly to block his strike from a tight angle.

Southampton were inches away from adding to their lead when Lambert headed against the post and from the rebound Ward-Prowse saw his fierce effort beaten away by Elliot.

With a minute of the game left to play, Rodriguez scored the home side's fourth, as he raced onto a ball over the top, before shifting it onto his right foot and firing a low strike into the bottom corner.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Newcastle passes ahead of Jay Rodriguez of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014
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