Southampton made the ideal start to their return to the Championship with an emphatic home win over Leeds.Nigel Adkins' side were the more fluent attacking force throughout and struck twice in an entertaining first half.Dean Hammond fired home a long range effort to give them the lead, before Adam Lallana doubled it with a neat, curling finish from inside the area.The win was sealed by a third from David Connolly, but Max Gradel scored a late consolation penalty for Leeds.The result continues Southampton's fine form from last season, which saw them gain promotion from League One.For Leeds though it is an extremely poor start, following what was an impressive campaign last term, in which they just missed out on a play-off place.The home side made most of the early running at St Mary's, but it was Leeds who had the first clear sight of goal when Jonny Howson found space to strike at goal from inside the area. However, his shot was straight at home keeper Kelvin Davis, who blocked.A minute later, the visitors were behind when Hammond was allowed to charge to within shooting distance and curl a shot past the diving Andy Lonergan from 22 yards.Both teams sought to push forward, but it was Southampton who looked the more dangerous and they extended their lead in the 25th minute.
Rickie Lambert found Lallana on the right and he cut inside in the area before curling a shot into the far corner.
The midfielder could have added a third for the home team when Guly Do Prado's cross found him in the box with only Lonergan to beat from six yards, but the keeper blocked superbly.
Leeds began the second half with intent, seeking to gain a foothold in the match, but instead they soon conceded a decisive third goal.
Connolly found Lallana wide left before collecting the midfielder's return pass and slotting into the far corner of the goal from the edge of the area.
Leeds boss Simon Grayson introduced Billy Paynter and the striker was given a superb chance to give his side a lifeline when he was put clear on goal by Adam Clayton, but he dwelt on his shot and Davis was able to save.
In stoppage time, United did register on the scoreline when Aaron Martin was adjudged to have handled in the area and Gradel fired in the resulting spot kick.