SOUTHAMPTON came from behind to claim the south coast bragging rights at Dean Court.

But Nigel Adkins’s side will know they were in a battle as Cherries dominated in large doses during a pulsating derby clash.

Loanee Lauri Dalla Valle gave Lee Bradbury’s troops the perfect start when he fired home from close range just five minutes into the match.

But Lee Barnard’s header after 12 minutes and Dean Hammond’s second half tap-in all but ended Cherries’ hopes of a famous victory, before Rickie Lambert wrapped up the points with a textbook free kick late on.

In was tough on Bradbury’s men, who, with more of a clinical edge, could have run out convincing winners themselves.

Bradbury made two changes to the side that went down 2-0 at Exeter City in midweek, with Shaun Cooper replacing Mathieu Baudry in central defensive and Danny Ings starting alongside Dalla Valle up front.

Michael Symes missed out with a groin injury and could be sidelined for two weeks, while goalkeeper Dan Thomas was named among the substitutes after being recalled from a loan spell at Dorchester Town.

Danny Hollands almost handed Cherries a dream start inside two minutes, but his left-foot shot on the turn flew narrowly over Kelvin Davis’s crossbar after good work from Rhoys Wiggins down the left.

But, despite that miss, the early pressure told when Dalla Valle smashed home a right foot volley from inside the box with just five minutes on the clock.

The visitors claimed the Fulham loanee was offside but after consulting with his assistant, referee Andre Marriner allowed the goal to stand much to the disdain of the travelling supporters.

Radhi Jaidi almost got Adkins’s side back in the clash after 10 minutes but his powerful header flew into the Steve Fletcher Stand.

Just two minutes later, though, Barnard’s own header did end up in the back of the net to restore parity.

Shwan Jalal got a hand to the forward’s effort, but couldn’t keep it out after Lambert had robbed Jason Pearce to cross for his strike partner.

The next 10 minutes was the tale of a clash that pulsated from end-to-end, although Hollands’s 23rd-minute header and Lambert’s speculative volley five minutes later both failed to trouble Davis and Jalal, respectively.

Cherries, though, were much improved following a lacklustre showing in the West Country in midweek and were well worthy of a share of the first-half spoils.

Both Adam Smith and Wiggins dealt well with the threats posed by Alex Chamberlain and Adam Lallana, although Wiggins was replaced by Warren Cummings 12 minutes before the break, the former Crystal Palace full-back clearly still struggling with a niggling calf injury.

Liam Feeney tested Davis with a shot from distance four minutes after the restart as Cherries went in search of the lead once more, while Richard Chaplow’s appeals for a penalty with waved away by referee Marriner on 55 minutes after the former Preston man had tangled with Cooper.

Lallana finally got into the clash five minutes later when his left-foot shot from around 25 yards flashed past the post, before Marriner dismissed Ings’s desperate appeals for a spot-kick after the youngster appeared to have been pulled down by Jose Fonte.

In a 10-minute purple patch after the hour mark, Cherries had Adkins’s men clearly ratted, with the visiting back four swinging mindlessly at the ball in a desperate bid to clear their lines.

But Bradbury’s side were unable to make their dominance pay dividends and were struck with a hammer blow moments later.

Chamberlain’s free kick from just inside the Cherries half flew through a crowd of players and Hammond was on hand to slot home from close range unchallenged.

It was harsh on Bradbury’s charges and appeared to knock the stuffing out of the home side.

Lambert’s 77th-minute free kick failed to trouble Jalal and as the visitors knocked on the door for a third goal, Chaplow fired narrowly over from just inside the box 10 minutes from time.

Chamberlain skewed his shot from distance wide two minutes later as Adkins’s side continued to press, before, out of nothing, Anton Robinson rattled Davis’s crossbar with a venomous volley.

Lambert, though, had the last laugh when his stunning 88th-minute free kick sailed into the top corner.

Substitute Oscar Gobern was sent off in stoppage time for an ugly lunge on Cooper.

Cherries: (4-4-1-1) Jalal; Smith, Pearce, Cooper, Wiggins (Cummings, 33); Feeney, Robinson, Hollands, Pugh; Ings (Fletcher, 74); Dalla Valle (Partington, 85).

Unused subs: Baudry, Purches, Molesley, Thomas (g/k).

Booked: Wiggins, Cooper, Hollands, Pearce.

Saints: (4-4-2) Davis; Butterfield, Fonte, Jaidi, Harding (Seaborne, 67); Chamberlain, Hammond, Chaplow (Richardson, 88), Lallana; Lambert, Barnard (Gobern, 78).

Unused subs: Forte, Martin, N’Guessan, Forecast (g/k).

Booked: Jaidi.

Sent off: Gobern.

Referee: Andre Marriner (Grimsby).

Attendance: 10,008 (inc 1,365 away fans).