Che Adams’ double helped Southampton come from behind and avoid a shock against League One Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
The win gives Nathan Jones his first win as Saints boss, after losing his only previous match in charge at Liverpool on 12 November.
His side fell behind early when Gavin Bazunu failed to deal with Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ sliced clearance.
But Adams scored either side of the break to see Southampton through.
The two goals represent the first time Southampton have scored more than one in a game since their win over Chelsea on 30 August.
It is the first time they have reached the quarter-finals of the competition since they lost to Manchester United in the 2017 final.
“I’m not happy with how tight it is, but Lincoln are a well-drilled side,” Jones told BBC Radio Solent.
“We needed to be more clinical and show more quality in certain moments and if we’d done that we would have won the game a lot sooner.
“I’ll take the win because that is the important thing. It is something to build on. There were a lot of learning curves for me.”
Having waited more than six weeks for his home bow after joining from Luton, Jones would want a better start, but Bazunu, under pressure from Paudie O’Connor, failed to deal with the miscued clearance and the ball bounced in.
It took Southampton a while to settle but they found an equaliser when Mohamed Elyounoussi found space on the right side of the area and dinked into the box for Adams – who may have been offside – to power a header home.
Lincoln, playing in the fourth round for the first time since 1967-68, was the better side at the start of the second half, but Jones made a triple substitution and changed from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3.
It brought immediate improvement, and the second goal arrived when Elyounoussi’s acrobatic effort was blocked and then bundled over the line by Adams for his second double in the competition this season.
Lincoln pushed for an equalizer late on leaving gaps for Southampton to exploit, with Samuel Edozie and Adams both missing gilt-edged chances to add to the scoring for Saints.
- 37Bella KotchapSubstituted forCaleta carat 45′minutes
- 22salisuSubstituted forS Armstrongat 63′minutes
- 2Walker-PetersSubstituted forEdozieat 63′minutes
- 8thWard Prowse
- 3Maitland Niles
- 9A ArmstrongSubstituted forWalcottat 62′minutesSubstituted forDjenepoat 77′minutes
- 6Caleta car
- 17S Armstrong
- 15O’ConnorBooked at 90mins
- 16WalshSubstituted forGarrickat 86′minutes
- 18HouseSubstituted forhoppersat 72′minutes
- 19MandroiuSubstituted forbishopat 76′minutes
- 8thOakley Boothe
- Jared Gillett
Match ends, Southampton 2, Lincoln City 1.
Second Half ends, Southampton 2, Lincoln City 1.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Carl Rushworth.
Attempt saved. Che Adams (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Stuart Armstrong.
Paudie O’Connor (Lincoln City) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Samuel Edozie (Southampton) left footed shot from the center of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Mohamed Elyounoussi following a fast break.
Foul by Che Adams (Southampton).
Paudie O’Connor (Lincoln City) wins a free kick in defensive half.
Che Adams (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paudie O’Connor (Lincoln City).
Attempt saved. Max Sanders (Lincoln City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Lincoln City. Jordon Garrick replaces Joe Walsh.
Attempt missed. Teddy Bishop (Lincoln City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Matty Virtue.
Foul by Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton).
Matty Virtue (Lincoln City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
James Ward Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Jackson (Lincoln City).
Corner, Lincoln City. Conceded by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Substitution, Southampton. Moussa Djenepo replaces Theo Walcott because of an injury.
Substitution, Lincoln City. Teddy Bishop replaces Daniel Mândroiu.