SOUTHAMPTON, March 21- Southampton reinvigorated their push for an improbable Premier League top-four finish by beating Burnley 2-0 on Saturday, but at the cost of an injury to England goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
The former Celtic goalkeeper had to be stretchered off after appearing to hurt his knee as he made an early clearance, casting doubt over his participation in England’s forthcoming matches against Lithuania and Italy.
But it was an otherwise satisfying afternoon for the hosts at St Mary’s, as a Shane Long strike and a Jason Shackell own goal provisionally took Southampton to within three points of the Champions League places.
Burnley had pulled off a superb 1-0 home win over champions Manchester City on their previous outing, but defeat kept Sean Dyche’s side in the relegation zone with eight games remaining.
Southampton’s afternoon got off to a bad start when Forster had to be stretchered off, with veteran understudy Kelvin Davis coming on.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman restored misfiring striker Graziano Pelle to his starting line-up after he started last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea on the bench and the Italian squandered an early chance.
Dusan Tadic picked Pelle out inside the visitors’ area, but he took a touch too many, allowing Shackell to intervene.
Davis, 38, was making his first appearance since February last year, but he showed that the time on the bench had not dulled his reflexes with a sharp save to repel a Sam Vokes volley.
The hosts struck in the 37th minute, with Long lifting the ball into the roof of the net after Pelle had failed to apply a touch to Nathaniel Clyne’s drilled shot from the edge of the box.
Pelle’s misfortunes continued when he hit the bar from only six yards, while both goalkeepers produced flying saves before half-time, Davis thwarting Danny Ings and Vokes and Tom Heaton denying Steven Davis.
Victor Wanyama replaced Tadic at the break, but the Serbian’s departure did not diminish the hosts’ threat, with Steven Davis and Long both shooting narrowly wide before Shackell’s own goal made it 2-0 in the 58th minute.
Ryan Bertrand fizzed a cross into the Burnley box from the left and the ball struck Shackell on the knee before cannoning into the net.