Austin fires Southampton to win
Photo Source: PAA
As the goals have dried up for Jamie Vardy at Leicester, another former non-league striker has embarked on a hot scoring streak for an English Premier League club.
Charlie Austin made it seven goals in six games in all competitions for Southampton with a double in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Burnley that took the south-coast club up to eighth in the standings.
In a career that began outside England's four professional leagues, Burnley provided the 27-year-old Austin with one of his stepping stones to the world's richest soccer competition.
Austin was a bricklayer working a full day on a building site before playing on a part-time basis for Poole Town in the ninth tier until 2009.
It took third-tier club Swindon to pluck Austin from obscurity, for Burnley to take him up another league and then QPR to give him a shot at the Premier League.
Still, doubts persisted around Austin's fitness. Southampton was able to snap him up for STG4million ($A6.4 million) in January.
What a bargain that now seems.
After a 24-goal haul last season, Vardy has only scored twice this campaign and his goal drought reached seven matches on Saturday as Leicester's feeble title defence continued with a loss at Chelsea.
Like Southampton on Sunday, Leicester also put three past Burnley a month ago but Austin _ unlike Vardy _ seized on the opportunity to punish the struggling Premier League newcomer's defense.
Austin's first goal, in the 52nd minute, was down to persistence rather than finesse.
Virgil van Dijk met Dusan Tadic's corner with a header across the face of goal to Austin.
The first shot was blocked on the line by Sam Vokes, but Austin followed up by poking the ball into the net.
After Nathan Redmond's low volley from the edge of the area doubled Southampton's lead, Austin was on target from the penalty spot in the 66th minute following Johann Berg Gudmundsson's push on Sam McQueen.
``This team will always create chances, it's a dream for any striker,'' Austin said.
``I am in the right place at the right time.''
Burnley is only a point above the relegation zone, with seven points from its first eight games back in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Australian 18-year-old Aiden O''Neill came on late in the first half as a replacement for Steven Delfour.
In the day's other match, Watford beat Middlesbrough 1-0, with the only memorable moment being Jose Holebas's eye-catching goal.
The 32-year-old Greek midfielder sent a shot from the edge of the penalty area soaring into the top of the net in the 54th minute at the Riverside stadium in northeast England.
Watford climbed to 10th place as Middlesbrough remained winless at home this season since returning to the EPL and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.