Saints' late show stuns Spurs

By SFC Media Sat 09 Mar Saints v Tottenham
Photo by Chris Moorhouse | James Ward-Prowse
Sat 09 Mar 3PM
Premier League
Southampton
2
Tottenham Hotspur
1
Valery [76'] Ward-Prowse [81']
Kane [26']
Romeu (10') Valery (22') Højbjerg (78') Redmond (88')
Walker-Peters (79') Sissoko (88')
Referee: Kevin Friend | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,890

Southampton secured a precious three points in their fight for Premier League survival, as they stunned Tottenham Hotspur with a remarkable late turnaround to win 2-1 at St Mary’s.

Saints had gone into the final 15 minutes of the game behind, after Harry Kane had put Spurs in front during a dominant first half from the visitors, but Yan Valery’s equaliser was followed by another incredible James Ward-Prowse free-kick, as the same duo who netted at Manchester United a week earlier this time saw their goals earn their team a huge result.

It was one that kept Saints out of the bottom three, coming at a crucial time, with Cardiff City also winning at home, as they beat West Ham.

As if it was in any doubt, the scenes at the final whistle at St Mary’s told the story of just how important a victory it was, as Ralph Hasenhüttl and his bench erupted in celebration, while the supporters were bouncing and in full voice all around the ground, with a deafening chorus of "Oh When the Saints" accompanying the players off the pitch.

It was a remarkable day, but there had been no hint at all in the early stages that it would end in such a way, with Spurs flying out of the traps.

Hasenhüttl named the same team for the third match in a row, sticking faith with the side that beat Fulham and then performed so admirably at Manchester United.

They were under pressure from the off, though. Unsurprisingly, it was Harry Kane who was the visitors’ biggest early threat, twice taking aim at the Saints goal inside the opening four minutes.

First was a dipping shot from 20 yards after he spun onto a Dele Alli flick-on, only to pull his effort wide, while he then blazed over from distance shortly after when a through pass hit him on the back, then shoulder, and fell fortuitously into his path.

Spurs’ pressure resulted in a yellow card for Oriol Romeu in only the tenth minute, as he brought down Lucas Moura during a surging run over halfway from the Tottenham man.

Oriol Romeu on the ball in the early stages

As the game ticked past 15 minutes, still it was Kane who looked the greatest threat on the pitch, winning the ball off Jannik Vestergaard near the corner flag with a sliding tackle, then quickly shifting the ball onto his left foot and nearly bending a shot inside the far post from the side of the area.

By the midway point of the half, Saints were still hanging on, but only by the skin of their teeth.

After Ryan Bertrand and Nathan Redmond got into trouble deep in their own half on the left, Kane pounced on the loose ball and sent a low first-time delivery across the face of goal. Maya Yoshida slid in and tried to turn it wide, but sent it slamming against the base of the post. The ball then ricocheted straight back at him and hit him again, sending it once more rolling goalwards, before the centre-back was able to react and scramble it away.

Saints couldn’t clear it as well as they would have liked, though, with Valery bringing down Danny Rose 25 yards out just seconds later, earning him a yellow card.

From the resulting free-kick, Christian Eriksen came within a whisker of opening the scoring, bending the ball over the wall, but seeing it hit the top of the bar and go over.

The visitors didn’t have to wait much longer for the lead, however, as they finally made the breakthrough on 26 minutes.

Harry Kane beats Angus Gunn to put Tottenham in front

It came via a swift break, and ended with Alli chipping a diagonal pass to Kane, who was in space down the right side of the area, with the Spurs striker taking a touch and slotting the ball through the legs of Angus Gunn to make it 1-0.

Saints attempted to mount a response through Redmond, who went bursting over halfway on 29 minutes before beating Davinson Sanchez and then Alli, only to send his right-footed shot from 20 yards wide of the top corner.

Nonetheless, it helped to settle Hasenhüttl’s men a little and, although it was still Spurs who looked the more likely to net the second goal of the game, the hosts were able to make it to half-time without any additional damage.

Two changes followed at the interval, with Shane Long and Josh Sims sent on – the latter making his first Saints appearance of the season – while Charlie Austin and Romeu were the ones withdrawn.

Sims made an instant positive impact, testing Hugo Lloris with a shot from the edge of the area inside the first minute of the half, before soon crossing for fellow sub Long, whose downward header hit the feet of Sanchez before being cleared by Spurs.

Josh Sims back in action for Southampton

The start to the second half was certainly in sharp contrast to the first, with Saints a far greater threat, although they almost fell two behind on 51 minutes, as Kane produced a brilliant moment down the left, shifting the ball inside and beating both Yoshida and Valery in one move, before curling a low shot towards the far corner, with Gunn diving at full stretch to his left and getting a fingertip on it to divert it just past the post.

Saints soon got back on the front foot, though, and had a decent chance to level the game on 55 minutes.

Long raced down the right and sent a low ball across the area that Sanchez missed, allowing Redmond to latch onto it. He shifted it past the recovering Sanchez and onto his left foot, but planted his shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was the next to go close, reacting quicker than Sanchez to win a loose ball on the edge of the area, then working it onto his left foot, only to see his shot fly over.

Saints then had a big appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Kevin Friend, as Josh Sims challenged Jan Vertonghen for a bouncing ball down the left. Vertonghen was able to clear, but his high foot then caught Sims in the face right on the edge of the box. Friend, however, waved play on.

Seconds later, Saints again came close to a leveller, as Valery won the ball by the corner flag, allowing Long to pick out Redmond with a clever low pass to the near post area, but he again found the side netting with his effort.

An equaliser now felt a distinct possibility, but there remained a significant danger from the visitors on the counter.

That was shown in the 68th minute, as Spurs broke forward, and Eriksen played a delightful reverse pass to find Kane in space inside the area, but he didn’t quite get his feet sorted in time and ended up digging out a left-foot shot that looped over.

Frustratingly for Saints, they then lost half-time substitute Long, who had been a threat, to injury.

The striker had been hurt in an earlier challenge with Vertonghen, and was replaced by Stuart Armstrong with 18 minutes remaining in the game after being unable to continue.

Armstrong’s impact proved to be instant.

He made an incisive run down the inside-left on 77 minutes and was picked out by a brilliant pass from Bertrand, who had been out on the left touchline. Having reached it just before the byline, Armstrong sent a low ball across the face, which really should have been cleared, but Rose made a big mistake by leaving it at the back post. Unseen, Valery had appeared behind him, and, although he scuffed his shot, it had enough on it to find the back of the net.

Yan Valery celebrates his equaliser

Four minutes later, Saints completed a remarkable turnaround.

Armstrong was tripped by Kyle Walker-Peters 25 yards out, as he attempted to reach a Redmond centre from out on the right wing, with the Spurs defender receiving a yellow card when he could have been dismissed.

But Spurs still paid a big price for the foul, as Ward-Prowse, fresh from scoring a stunning free-kick at Manchester United a week earlier, netted another incredible one.

Like he did at United, the midfielder bent the ball over the wall and found the top corner, with Lloris at full stretch, sending his teammates and St Mary’s wild.

There were a few nervy moments before the end, but Saints held on superbly and picked up what could prove to be an enormous result in the context of their season.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Tottenham Hotspur
  • Possession (%)
    37
    63
  • Shots
    12
    16
  • Shots on target
    4
    5
  • Corners
    1
    10
  • Passes Complete
    204
    390

Southampton

28
Angus Gunn (GK)
35
Jan Bednarek
4
Jannik Vestergaard
3
Maya Yoshida
43
Yan Valery
21
Ryan Bertrand
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
14
Oriol Romeu
Shane Long (45′) Stuart Armstrong (73′)
22
Nathan Redmond
16
James Ward-Prowse
10
Charlie Austin
Josh Sims (45′)
5
Jack Stephens
17
Stuart Armstrong
33
Matt Targett
39
Josh Sims
55
Callum Slattery
1
Alex McCarthy
7
Shane Long

Tottenham Hotspur

1
Hugo Lloris (GK) (C)
16
Kyle Walker-Peters
3
Danny Rose
Ben Davies (82′)
5
Jan Vertonghen
6
Davinson Sánchez
15
Eric Dier
23
Christian Eriksen
20
Dele Alli
Fernando Llorente (82′)
17
Moussa Sissoko
27
Lucas Moura
Son Heung-Min (72′)
10
Harry Kane
11
Erik Lamela
22
Paulo Gazzaniga
12
Victor Wanyama
7
Son Heung-Min
18
Fernando Llorente
33
Ben Davies
21
Juan Foyth
Yoshida on Valery and Ward-Prowse impact
Saints v Tottenham

Yoshida on Valery and Ward-Prowse impact

Defender hails goalscoring duo after Spurs fightback.

Mon 11 Mar
Yoshida: Together as one Video: Yoshida on Spurs triumph
PL2: Saints vs Blackburn
Saints v Blackburn

PL2: Saints vs Blackburn

1 hour ago
Loan Watch: Elyounoussi continues fine form Women's Highlights: Larkhall 1-3 Saints