A Danny Ings doubled lifted Southampton of the Premier League relegation zone following a 3-1 triumph at Aston Villa on Saturday.
Ings scored either side of Jack Stephens with Southampton carrying a deserved 2-0 lead into halftime before the forward added his second six minutes after the restart.
Jack Grealish tallied a late consolation goal for Villa, who were outmatched from start to finish in a crucial fixture at the bottom end of the table.
Southampton made the brighter start, but it was Villa that conjured the first real chance when Anwar El-Ghazi forced Alex McCarthy into a fine save.
The play from goalkeeper boosted Saints who then found the opening goal as Ings was there to tap in Shane Long’s initial effort.
James Ward-Prowse continued to deliver from dead-ball situations, picking out Stephens to double the advantage just after the half-hour mark.
The defender rose above the heads to nod in from a corner-kick to make it 2-0 to Saints.
Ings then struck again on 51 minutes as he smashed an effort on the turn from six-yards to make it 3-0.
Grealish, with Villa headed for a comprehensive defeat, delivered a stunning strike from 18 yards to pull one back a quarter-hour from full-time.
Southampton leapt over their counterpart at the full-time whistle on 18 points, which is a single point behind a trio of clubs, including Bournemouth in 14th place.
Aston Villa: Heaton, Targett, Hause, Engels, Guilbert, Hourihane (Kodija 56), Douglas Luiz, McGinn (Nakamba 8), Grealish, El-Ghazi (Trezeguet 68), Wesley
Unused subs: Lansbury, Elmohamady, Nyland, Konsa
Goals: Grealish (75)
Bookings: El-Ghazi (67), Kodija (87)
Southampton: McCarthy, Bertrand, Bednarek, Stephens, Cedric, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Armstrong (Romeu 76), Ings (Adams 87), Long (Obafemi 82)
Unused subs: Gunn (GK), Vestergaard, Boufal, Yoshida
Goals: Stephens (31), Ings (21, 51)
Bookings: Ward-Prowse (44)