And though they went down to a 5-4 defeat, Saints fans will have seen plenty of positives over the 90 minutes, not least the goalscoring return to action of Jay Rodriguez.
The 25-year-old scored twice after coming on at half time, the second a header from new right back Cedric Soares in his first game since March 2014.
The phrase 'his return will feel like a new signing' is often overused, but it can certainly be said of the England international, who has been out injured for nearly 16 months.
In that time, there have been plenty of comings and goings at St Mary's, with manager Ronald Koeman a particularly notable arrival last summer. The Dutchman helped fire the Saints to their best top flight finish in many years, all without the help of a player who was a key figure in Southampton's two previous Premier League campaigns.
Koeman will be delighted to finally be able to call on the former Burnley man, and will be hoping Rodriguez is finally in the clear after his knee problems.
Further good news for the south coast club was the debut goal of Spanish striker Juanmi, and the encouraging performance of Soares, who not only assisted Rodriguez but also grabbed a goal of his own, while Maarten Stekelenburg also started the match.