What an unbelievable season it has been for Danny Ings.
After a solid first campaign at St Mary’s last year (where he scored seven Premier league goals), Ings made his loan deal permanent last summer and no one could’ve imagined just how successful that would prove to be.
The Saints striker would go on to reach over 20 Premier League goals, a fete that only James Beattie and Matt le Tissier have achieved; it also made him the 20th different Englishman to reach that tally.
This total meant that he ended the campaign just one goal short of Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy as he came agonisingly close to becoming the first Southampton player to claim the accolade.
So we thought it would only be fitting to look back on every single one of Ings’ goals that made this season so special, just days after his 28th birthday.
What was interesting when looking back on his goal record this season was that he only achieved two braces, against Aston Villa and Watford, with his other 18 coming in separate matches – this means that he scored in over half of Southampton’s games.
So let’s rewind almost 12 months for goal number one:
Goal 1: Southampton 1-2 Liverpool, 17th August
After a goalless opener in the defeat to Burnley, game two brought Ings’ first goal and it was one of his easiest of the lot.
This was despite Ings being left out of the starting XI with Ralph Hasenhuttl favouring Che Adams and Nathan Redmond upfront; the manager made the appropriate change with the Saints 1-0 down and around half an hour to play.
Liverpool doubled their advantage soon after before Ings gave Southampton hope by closing down Reds ‘keeper Adrian whose attempted clearance rebounded off the striker into the back of the net.
Goal 2: Tottenham 2-1 Southampton, 28th September
That goal against Liverpool was a rare bright spark for Ings who, it may seem strange now, was having a difficult period in front of goal.
This culminated in Ings being left out all together for games against Sheffield United and Bournemouth. However, his season changed with a man-of-the-match display in the 4-0 League Cup triumph over Portsmouth where he scored a superb double.
The first league game after that was at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium where the 27-year old would make it three goals in two games and he would never look back from this point onwards.
This one was very similar to the goal against Liverpool with Ings’ constant pressing reaping its rewards, this time it was Hugo Lloris who succumbed to the pressure and gifted him his second league goal of the season.
Goal 3: Southampton 1-4 Chelsea, 6th October
On what was a pretty poor afternoon for the Saints, Ings’ third league goal of the season was a rare moment to cheer.
He converted a superb Yan Valery cutback that proved to just be a consolation for the hosts.
Goal 4: Wolves 1-1 Southampton, 19th October
Ings’ hot streak continued by making it three straight league games in which he’s scored in and five goals in four matches in all competitions.
This one at Molineux was his best so far and showed signs that Ings was really getting into his groove.
He picked up the ball following a misjudgement from a Wolves defender, held off the challenge and was honest enough to stay on his feet to slot the ball past Rui Patricio.
Goal 5: Southampton 1-2 Everton, 9th November
This was a real low point for Southampton, recently beaten 9-0 by Leicester City, Hasenhuttl would’ve hoped for a reaction in their next home match but they were to lose in poor circumstances once again.
Although many people point to the Leicester defeat as the turning point for this season, it would be more accurate to cite this result as the true moment that Saints’ approach and fortunes changed.
Despite the overall poor team performance, Ings still found a way to get on the score sheet courtesy of Sofiane Boufal who provided a tap-in for the Saints number nine.
Goal 6: Arsenal 2-2 Southampton, 23rd November
The first game of the revival came at Arsenal in a performance that would pave the way for the incredible turnaround.
The Saints came so close to winning their first ever Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium after conceding a 96th minute equaliser.
Some quick thinking from Ryan Bertrand was well spotted by Ings who latched onto his free-kick and caught the Arsenal defence asleep that allowed the latter to finish from close range and give Saints the early advantage.
Goal 7: Southampton 2-1 Watford, 30th November
There was so much riding on this game for both sides with the loser set to be left in even greater relegation peril.
And it got off to the worst possible start for the Saints with Watford taking the lead at St Mary’s in the first-half with the visitors still holding onto their lead with less than 15 minutes remaining.
Step forward Danny Ings who was there in the right place, right time to poke the ball home and put his side on level terms before James Ward-Prowse struck the winner with a superb free-kick.
The three points moved Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side to two points off safety in 18th while Watford were left marooned at the bottom of the table and sacked their manager Quique Sanchez Flores as a result.
This goal may be his most important one of the campaign because who knows what would’ve happened to the side had they not found that equaliser.
Goal 8: Southampton 2-1 Norwich, 4th December
The pivotal games didn’t stop for Southampton who faced another relegation six-pointer just four days after as they hosted Norwich City on a Wednesday evening.
And once again it was Ings who led the way to another huge three points.
James Ward-Prowse’s fine in-swinging free-kick was glanced home by Ings to give Southampton a first-half advantage.
This was his 10th goal of the season in all competitions and his ninth in 10 matches; he had also already scored more Premier League goals than he did in the whole of the previous season and became the first Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2014 to score in four successive league games.
Goal 9: Newcastle 2-1 Southampton, 8th December
He would soon go one better than Rodriguez though by scoring in a fifth successive match, only James Beattie and Matt Le Tissier have achieved that in the Premier League – we’ll hear more about those two later.
This one at St James’ Park came courtesy of a hopeful ball forward from Jack Stephens that evaded the Newcastle defence with Ings smashing it home.
Goals 10 & 11: Aston Villa 1-3 Southampton, 21st December
Ings failed to make it six in a row against West Ham but was soon back on the scoresheet with brace at Villa Park – his first double of the season.
His first was largely down to great play from Shane Long who saw his effort parried by the goalkeeper, allowing Ings to tap in from close range who got himself into the right place, right time which he has a canny knack of doing.
The second, and third of the match, required superb skill and excellent awareness as Ings punished Marvelous Nakamba’s loose control to brilliantly finish with his left foot from a tight angle.
The first strike meant that he became the first Saints player to score 10 or more Premier League goals in a season before Christmas – emulating Le Tissier in 1994/95 and Beattie in 2002/03 (told you we’ll hear more from them).
Goal 12: Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace, 28th December
After being surprisingly omitted from the starting line-up in the Boxing Day triumph over Chelsea, Ings was back in the side for the home game against Palace and back on the scoresheet too.
Saints went 1-0 down to Roy Hodgson’s side but Ings would once again capitalise on a defensive error – a theme of his season – to draw them level.
Ings pounced on Martin Kelly’s misplaced backpass before slotting confidently past Vicente Guaita and move Southampton four points clear of the relegation zone.
Goal 13: Southampton 1-0 Tottenham, 1st January
A brilliant Christmas period for Southampton and for Ings was completed with another impressive scalp against a London side as they beat Spurs 1-0 at St Mary’s and this was arguably Ings’ best goal of the lot.
It brought back memories of Paul Gascoigne’s famous strike against Scotland in Euro 96, with the striker controlling a long pass from Jack Stephens before showing excellent skill to give Southampton the lead.
Ings flicked the ball superbly over ex-Saint Toby Alderweireld before shooting past Paulo Gazzaniga for his ninth goal in his past 10 games.
Goal 14: Leicester 1-2 Southampton, 11th January
This one must’ve felt good.
Ings’ 81st minute winner ensured that revenge was served against the side that thumped them 9-0 earlier in the season.
What was noticeable about this goal is that it looked like Ings did his research with regards to Kasper Schmeichel and the gap that he so often leaves between his legs.
Earlier in the match, the 28-year old attempted to slot the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs on a couple of occasions before eventually succeeding late on to secure a memorable victory.
Goal 15: Southampton 1-2 Burnley, 15th February
This was arguably Ings’ toughest spell in front of goal.
Between the Leicester victory and the final game before football was halted, Saints played seven league games with this solitary strike in a 2-1 defeat to Burnley the only goal to his name in that time.
However, it was a super finish that came through a rasping drive into the bottom right corner from 18 yards that was only slightly bettered by Matej Vydra’s winner.
Having failed to score in his final three matches prior to lockdown, the break seemed to come at a good time for him, and this became even more apparent by his rediscovered form upon his return…
Goal 16: Norwich 0-3 Southampton, 19th June
Southampton and Ings returned to action after the three-month hiatus in some style.
After a cagey opening half, Ings got Southampton’s first goal since the restart that allowed the side to play the free-flowing football that ensured a comprehensive victory.
There was a fortuitus way with how the ball sat up kindly for him, but he still had to take the chance by curling the ball past a helpless Tim Krul.
Goal 17 & 18: Watford 1-3 Southampton, 28th June
Despite drawing a blank against Arsenal during the week, Ings kept his run going by claiming a double at Vicarage Road, just his second brace of the season, to continue his remarkable goalscoring record away from home.
The first one was very much like the Norwich goal with his trademark finish into the bottom right corner of the net after cutting in from the left.
His second also continued a theme from earlier this campaign: punishing opposition mistakes. It was Ben Foster on the wrong end this time as his poor throw was well anticipated by Ings who intercepted and blasted the ball through the Watford ‘keeper.
Goal 19: Everton 1-1 Southampton, 9th July
Ings sure loves playing against Everton.
The ex-Liverpool striker ensured he scored in both fixtures against their Merseyside rivals this season as well as extending his record to four goals in five games against the Toffees while playing for the Saints.
This display was littered with intelligent play, particularly his runs off the ball, and his presence of mind to drag the ball back past Jordan Pickford for the goal rather than shoot first time was inspired.
This was the ninth time Ings scored the first goal in the Premier League this season, the most of any player.
Goal 20: Southampton 1-1 Brighton, 16th July
Goal number 20 came on a Thursday evening at St Mary’s with the side 1-0 down but pushing for an equaliser.
These are the type of games that Saints would often struggle in down the years with the absence of a prolific striker meaning that chances would come and go and the pressure wouldn’t pay.
However, in Ings we have that man who can be relied on to deliver in the crucial moments, as he did against Brighton when his run and composed finish drew Hasenhuttl’s side level.
Goal 21: Bournemouth 0-2 Southampton, 19th July
Ings’ final goal of a magnificent season was finished in trademark style.
As with so many of these goals, he cut in superbly from the left before slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goalkeeper’s net.
Records continued to be broken following this strike; Ings scored in 19 different Premier League games this season, the most by any Southampton player in a single season in the competition, overtaking James Beattie’s 18 in 2002-03.
The only frustrating aspect of this win was Ings squandering a chance to get a second from the penalty spot as he saw his spot kick well saved, and in the race for the Golden Boot this proved crucial.
Goal 22: Southampton 3-1 Sheffield United, 26th July
The 22nd and final Danny Ings Premier League goal of the season came on the final day in the 3-1 win against Sheffield United.
The Saints number nine made amends for his failure from 12 yards at Bournemouth by converting from the penalty spot to add Southampton’s third and close the gap to Vardy to one with just a few minutes remaining.
This one meant that he scored against 16 of Southampton’s 19 opponents in the Premier League this season, with his only blanks coming against Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham.
The final moments of the season consisted of Ings’ teammates trying to create goalscoring opportunities for him to get the allusive 23rd but the match and season would conclude before another clear sighting.
That doesn’t detract from a truly magnificent 12 months from Danny Ings who, with the addition of Che Adams finding his scoring boots, will now look to lead his boyhood club even further up the table next year.