BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 8TH MAY, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) SOUTHAMPTON 2(1)
Davis, 31, 72
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- A. Holmes & H. Lennard
Fourth official:- M. Oliver
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Mason (sub Chadli, 78); Eriksen, Lamela, Son (sub N'Jie, 65); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Wimmer, Davies; Carroll, Winks
Southampton (4-2-3-1):- Forster; Martina, Fonte (Capt.), van Dijk, Bertrand; Wanyama, Clasie (sub Romeu, 58); Mane (sub Pelle, 65), Davis, Tadic (sub Ward-Prowse, 86); Long
Subs not used:- Stekelenburg; Soares, Yoshida; Austin
Booked:- Mane (foul on Rose), Romeu (foul on Eriksen), Long (foul on Lloris)
Spurs flag on their flag day.
The match had been hailed as a celebration of Spurs' successful season, having confirmed Champions League football, although failing at the final hurdle in the title run-in. It was played in a blaze of warm sunshine - so warm that we got an official drinks break midway through the second half. Spurs started in dominating form, camping in the Southampton half, and going ahead with a 16th minute Son Heung-min goal. However, Ronald Koeman's "Saints" side had been well drilled. They were patient, and after soaking up the early Spurs pressure, they looked dangerous almost every time they broke into the Spurs half.
As the game wore on, Southampton marked our lads tightly wherever they ventured into the opposition half. They drew in the attacking full backs, and with a strategy that has often been the weakness of Spurs, Southampton often broke with pace and energy, finding space to exploit unlike their opponents, who basically ran out of steam and out of ideas.
The enthusiastic atmosphere and lauding of most of the players, including the suspended Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele by the home fans gradually dissipated, and a full contingent of away supporters became more and more confident, mocking their former manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs were able to field both Alderweireld and Danny Rose who had to go off at Stamford Bridge on Monday, and Ryan Mason replaced Dembele. Unfortunately, Ryan was unable to fill Dembele's boots adequately and was too often the stumbling block in Spurs' play. With Dembele out for the first four games of next season, a stronger replacement must surely be on Pochettino's shopping list.
Harry Kane, who still leads the Premier League scorers' list, despite not scoring today, had the first chance when getting a touch to Danny Rose's cross after four minutes. Fraser Forster smothered that effort. Spurs were well on top, and Eriksen came close to creating something for Son and Lamela who were inside him.
Tadic showed first for "Saints" in our half after 10 minutes, getting almost to the line on the left of the box, but firing his cross/shot right across Lloris's goalmouth. Mason and Son worked the ball to Walker on the right hand side. Walker crossed and both Son and Kane were there to meet the ball, but Kane headed wide.
Son's second goal in successive games came after he received a good long ball from deep on Tottenham's right. Son prodded the ball forward to Lamela, who pushed the ball in front of him. Kane was the intended recipient, but he was offside and stood still. Son didn't stop, whilst Southampton paused momentarily, as the South Korean chased a seemingly lost cause, retrieving the ball near the goal-line on the right, before rounding Forster and beating a couple of defenders before scoring from close range.
After 22 minutes, Son and the ever industrious Lamela did well under tight marking and got the ball to Walker. Walker crossed and Harry Kane tried to turn in a shot from the near post, but pushed the effort over the bar. Lamela then became provider for Eriksen in a return pass before Erksen's right foot shot was held by the keeper.
Eric Dier picked up a loose ball in Southampton's half, passing forward to Kane, who ran diagonally to the right before hitting a right foot shot wide.
Lloris had to punch clear a Bertrand corner, which had been conceded by Danny Rose after a dangerous cross from the left. To be honest, it was no surprise when Southampton equalised in the 31st minute. Tadic got to the line down the right channel, cutting the ball back for Steven Davis, whose shot had little power, and was touched by Lloris, but went over the line.
Spurs won a couple of corners through both their full backs. Danny Rose had won a battle near the goal-line and Kyle Walker had a shot deflected. After the second corner Danny Rose fired wide.
As half-time approached Tadic went down just outside the left of the Spurs area under a Mason challenge, but referee Jon Moss waved play-on. Harry Kane had a close range effort saved and Eriksen had a shot deflected for a corner in first half added time.
There was a a real hero's welcome for 8 year old meningitis victim Marshall Janson, who was introduced by Paul Coyte, who interviewed the lad, before Mousa Dembele led him in a brief kick-about with the Spurs subs. The Spurs crowd sang " We love you Marshall" and called "Sign him up!". For those who had not heard Marshall's story, he is severely disabled and wears blades. His smile and cheerfulness in the face of such adversity certainly brought a tear to my eye.
Shane Long became a thorn in the side of the Spurs defence and Jan Vertonghen won a free kick in an early second half challenge. Southampton meant business and Mane got a yellow card for a challenge on Danny Rose deep in Southampton territory on the left. Erik Lamela's free kick was cleared.
Eriksen managed to thread a ball to Harry Kane after 61 minutes, but Harry had correctly been called offside. Spurs won a corner after an Eriksen cross was headed out and from the corner, Vertonghen's header was also deflected out of play for a corner.
Son was replaced by N'Jie but we saw little impact from Clinton, and Spurs generally started to slow down, run out of ideas, and became too predictable. Kane did have a shot blocked after a Lamela through ball, before Eriksen's shot was actually blocked by the unfortunate Ryan Mason.
After the drinks break, Southampton made a break down their right flank. The ball was crossed deep and Tadic exchanged with Davis as he made a run left to right across the edge of the box before squeezing a shot through a few pairs of legs just inside Lloris's left post.
Dier headed wide from a Walker cross, but once again Southampton made a rapid break and Long seized a shot over the bar. We went into five minutes of added time, but substitute James Ward-Prowse had the first chance, offered by Long who had made a good run with the ball before passing to his right. With over 93 minutes on the clock, Chadli failed to get a strong enough touch into Eriksen's free kick, and from the resulting corner Kane fired over.
The game was up for Spurs, and second place is not yet secured, because Arsenal got a draw at Man City. Third place is guaranteed mathematically now, but we need at least a point next week at Newcastle to put that Arsenal hoodoo to rest.
Toby Alderweireld was presented with the members' player of the year trophy after the game, and Harry Kane once again won the Junior Spurs' award.
After those fantastic results against Manchester United and Stoke, Spurs' closure of the season has been disappointing with that draw at home to West Brom and now this defeat. I don't think some fans truly appreciate just how much Monday night's battle at Stamford Bridge took out of our boys both physically and mentally.
We all hope for a victorious final salute next week at St. James' Park where Newcastle could be playing their last Premier a league game for at least one season.
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