FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
WEDNESDAY 26TH DECEMBER, 2001
SOUTHAMPTON 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Referee:- P. Jones
Attendance:- 31, 719 (New Record in Saints' new ground)
Southampton (4-4-2):- Jones; Dodd (Capt), Lundekvam, Williams, Bridge; Delap, Telfer, Svensson, Marsden; Pahars (sub Ormerod, 81)
Subs not used:- Moss; El Khalej, Petrescu; Le Tissier
Spurs (3-5-2/4-4-2):- Sullivan; King, Richards, Gardner (sub Davies, 75); Taricco, Freund (sub Sherwood, 71), Anderton, Poyet (sub Rebrov, 86), Ziege; Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand
Subs not used:- Keller; Perry
Booked:- Gardner, Richards (fouls), Taricco (Dissent)
New manager or not, this Christmas has been as dismal as that of last year, as another half-hearted Spurs performance gifted three points to lowly opposition. Saints were awful in the first half and didn't look like scoring before next Christmas, whilst Spurs and in particular Ferdinand failed to capitalise on their domination until just after the interval. After Ferdinand's early second half miss, the home side showed more desire and effort, sealing the points with a Beattie header that Sullivan should have collected with ease. The Spurs keeper did make two heroic saves though, and the bottom line is that too many of his team-mates had an off day at the same time.
Suddenly, Southampton have learnt to win in their new home, and this was their third such win on the trot. Glenn Hoddle and Dean Richards were predictably subject to abuse, but it was nowhere near as venomous as that we gave to Sol Campbell earlier in the year. The attraction of this Spurs side, and the festive holiday, helped saints to fill their new ground for the first time.
Spurs were at full strength, with Davies returning to the bench, and Anthony Gardner keeping Chris Perry out of the side. It has to be said that none of the back three were convincing, but Richards had the best game. Gardner got an early booking (unfairly in my view), and maybe that and a knock when on the attack early in the second half, put him off to some extent. I felt that he suffered at the hands of the physical play that Southampton were allowed by Referee Jones. King too was often caught out by Southampton's use of the long ball for their pacy forwards to chase. The Spurs midfield were too easily dominated, apart from the occasional decent bit of approach play in the first half.
Spurs were finding some space early on, and Les Ferdinand set Teddy up for a shot. His 20 yard dipper was saved by Jones near his right post. It was a long time before Spurs made another decent chance though, when after 22 minutes, Taricco's cross was pushed out as far as Ziege, whose shot was saved by Jones. Then Anderton had a chance inside six yards, as Teddy headed down, but Darren, on the stretch, fired over.
Sheringham seemed to have acres of space on 38 minutes, when Les Ferdinand cut the ball inside to him. However, the Spurs captain (still contemplating a crucial three game ban pending the appeal against his sending off on Saturday) took too long, and Jones was able to push his shot round for a corner. Just before the break, an Anderton corner was headed towards goal (possibly by Gardner), and the ball bounced out to Les Ferdinand, only 8 or 9 yards out, but he still managed to shoot wide. Almost the only home highlight that the hosts found to show on their screens (about half the size of the Jumbotron) was a cross that went over the goal.
Neil Sullivan came out early for the second half, as he was going to be contending with the high midday sun. He chose not to use his cap, and may have paid the penalty for that when Beattie scored. He did make a brilliant point blank save from Svensson just two minutes into the second half, when Gardner wasn't quick enough to see the through ball. Ferdinand then headed a Freund cross wide, when it seemed easier to score. Gardner then made ground to reach a Poyet ball on the left. Jones came flying out to the right edge of his area, ad was stranded as Gardner crossed. Sheringham's shot was blocked in front of the line.
Then came the disastrous goal. Williams, in his won half, hit an innocuous long ball that was more of an up and under. Richards seemed to leave it to Sullivan, but the keeper failed to collect, as Beattie got his head to the ball, which looped into the net. The Saints team slapped Williams back as if he was the greatest playmaker ever! Sullivan had to make another great save in a one on one with Pahars who collected a ball that bounced kindly for him from a challenge outside the box.
Glenn Hoddle rang the changes to try and retrieve the situation. First he reverted to 4-4-2, then Sherwood was an ineffective replacement for Freund; Davies replaced Gardner, allowing Taricco to play on the left, and finally (many would say once again too late) replaced Poyet with Rebrov. Anderton did get in the Saints box to force a save, but the home side looked more threatening, and nearly took advantage of Spurs forward commitment, when Sullivan had to stretch to his right to save from Delap.
Saturday's game at Villa Park takes on new dimensions, as we could be fighting things out with them for seventh place, which would be enough to qualify for the UEFA cup this season. However, on this form, and with the Captain possibly missing vital games to come, I fear for our ability to get a result at Coventry in the FA Cup, and of course in that Worthington Cup Tie against Chelsea. The senior players had two parties in the run-up to Christmas, one of which involved them flying to Dublin last Tuesday night. I wonder if that was one or two parties too many?
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
· Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions
Top of page | Back to Fixtures and Results