Top Fives: Sublime solo strikes


On the anniversary of Matt Le Tissier's wonder goal against Newcastle, we look back on five of the best solo strikes scored by Southampton players in the Premier League…

As with all of these goals, there seemed very little danger when the scorer picked up possession. In this case, Kevin Davies received the ball inside his own half, wide on the right touchline. Though not blessed with express pace, the striker was a powerful runner when he got going, which, to their cost, is what Everton allowed him to do. He duly attacked the space, brushing off the first challenge before approaching the edge of the penalty area. Davies then took a touch inside, evading a second tackle, before retrieving the ball to escape a third, and cleverly using Dave Watson as a marker, bending a well-placed shot around the final defender to leave helpless goalkeeper Neville Southall unsighted.

This piece of Chris Marsden magic owed much to the well-timed tackle that regained possession in Saints’ favour. The ball rolled kindly towards the midfielder, who was hugging the left touchline, and swiftly dropped a shoulder to turn away from his first adversary. He then accelerated into space to evade a second defender, albeit towards a sea of blue on the edge of the Ipswich box. Undeterred, he kept going, nudging the ball past the next man and drawing out the goalkeeper in the process, who proved to be Marsden’s last victim, as he prodded the ball further to his right, before rolling the ball into the unguarded net with his weaker foot, racing away with both arms aloft in celebration.

This goal was as much about the finish as the run that went before it, but enigmatic frontman Dani Osvaldo had already left Vincent Kompany in his wake not once but twice before picking his spot. First turning inside the Man City captain, he then went back outside, leaving the Belgian on the seat of his pants. Now faced by Pablo Zabaleta, he negotiated the slightest gap to send an inch-perfect shot floating beautifully beyond the outstretched right hand of Costel Pantilimon, dipping and curling into the top corner via the underside of the crossbar. With such talent at his disposal, it’s just a shame there were not more moments of genius from the Italian in a red and white shirt.

The greatest goal St Mary’s has ever seen? Sofiane Boufal took matters into his own hands with Saints on the verge of being held to a frustrating goalless draw by stubborn visitors West Brom. The most impressive part was perhaps right at the start, when the Moroccan found himself surrounded by navy shirts, yet still managed to find a way out. Holding off Allan Nyom, he breezed past Jake Livermore to find space as he crossed halfway. Another jink saw off Craig Dawson, who comically collided with the retreating Nyom, allowing Boufal to approach the penalty area. At this point he slowed down, allowing the run of Charlie Austin to make space for a shot. Stepping inside, away from Gareth McAuley, he steered a precise low strike around the last defender that nestled neatly just inside the far post... wow.

At the time of this fixture, Newcastle were yet to succumb to the brilliance of Saints’ talismanic number seven – something that would become a habit in the years to come. Amazingly, Matt Le Tissier was not an automatic selection at the time, and the man himself believes he was about to be substituted when he opened the scoring in unforgettable style. Controlling an awkward knockdown from Iain Dowie that was fractionally behind him, Le Tissier caught the ball on his left heel, which invited Barry Venison to step in, before his second touch snatched it away. Next in his sights was Kevin Scott, who succumbed to an equally casual flick over his head, before Le Tissier showed staggering composure to roll the dropping ball into the bottom corner with the calmest of side-foot volleys. Sheer class.