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Match Reports
Southampton v Spurs, 19.09.98


Southampton scorer -
Le Tissier 64

Spurs scorer -
Fox 25

Att:- 15,204

Referee:- Keith Burge

Southampton:- Jones; Warner (sub Lundekvam - 53 ), Dodd, Palmer, Benali; Le Tissier, Gibbens, Howells ( sub Beattie - 53 ), Bridge; Hughes, Ostenstadt

Subs not used:- Hiley, Basham, Moss

Booked:- Benali

Tottenham:- Segers; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Tramezzani; Fox, Berti ( sub Dominguez - 75 ), Calderwood, Clemence; Ginola; Ferdinand

Subs not used:- Walker (GK); Edinburgh, Gower; Armstrong

Booked:- Berti, Calderwood, Tramezzani.

The build up to the game referred to it being an early season "six-pointer", and said when did you last hear "When the Saints Go Marching In " or "Glory, Glory, Tottenham Hotspur". How sad.

The first surprise was the selection of Hans Segers. Espen Baardsen was ill with 'flu, and although Ian Walker was on the bench, he too has been ill this week, and was not ready to play. As it happened, Segers turned out to be a real hero, with a match saving stop in the last minute, and an otherwise solid all-round performance, which had not required anything spectacular, but which also featured good distribution, often finding Ginola.

These two sides have the worst defences in the premiership at the moment, and one intriguing question was whether Ginola or Le Tissier would be the most successful down the same flank. Well, Ginola dominated the first half, once again weaving patterns around any defender that cared to oppose him, but also playing good passing moves with Clemence, and on a lesser scale, Tramezzani. Clemence, I thought, had an excellent first half, but tired in the second. On the right flank, Carr, and Fox were almost as successful. However, the problem in the end for Spurs was a lightweight midfield. Try as he might, Berti doesn't come up to the required standard, and whilst he had a little tantrum when he was substituted in the second half, I think he may be on borrowed time. His feet don't match his brain, and his passes were too often short, or astray.

Some post match comment has suggested that we dominated the game until Le Tissier scored, and only then did the home team take over. Now, this is probably true, the fact of the matter is that Segers was the busier of the goalies. For example, Ostenstadt was presented with a good chance within 30 seconds, and Bridge was on his own with only the goalie to beat after a stray Ferdinand pass on the edge of the home area, led to a swift counter-attack.

Spurs then put some pressure on, and the best chance at this stage came when a low cross from Stevie Carr was only just in front of Clemence in the box. Ferdinand also went close during this spell with a header that was scraped clear for a corner. When the Spurs goal came it was from the right. Carr made good running, and put a low cross into the edge of the area, finding Fox, who cleverly turned and drove the ball into the bottom left of the goal. Spurs really should have increased their lead, but rather than force saves, they were off target, most of the time. In fact, David Howells nearly laid on an equaliser for Gibbens just before half-time, and a Le Tissier shot from the left led to an Ostenstadt header that went just over.

Spurs dominated the opening spell of the second half, winning several corners, from which Calderwood went close, and Sol Campbell also forced a save. I believe Calderwood actually hit the bar.

However, after 65 minutes a long ball found Vega floundering. Instead of heading back to the goalie, he tried to hook the ball clear, but presented it to Le Tissier, who was left with only the goalie to beat. He doesn't miss from here.

Dominguez came on for Berti, and had a few pretty runs. Spurs played some good approach football, but too often seemed afraid to shoot. Ginola was more central when Dominguez came on, and I felt became less effective. Er - we had three wingers on folks! When has that happened before?

Segers best moment came in the last minute. Vega again made an elementary mistake, heading the ball across his 6 yard box. Gibbens met the ball with a powerful effort that Segers stopped at point blank range.

I honestly don't feel this was an unfair result. Somehow, we are still near the half-way mark. I am not optimistic about the visit of Leeds next week. Rumour has it that Anderton will be fit to play then, but we will need some grit all over the park, and especially in midfield.

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