Southampton drew one-all with Tottenham Hostpur at St Mary’s this evening, with an impressive performance in the south coast rain.
An own goal from Davinson Sánchez and Harry Kane’s 99th Premier League goal for Spurs saw both sides share the points in an entertaining and open game.
Both sides had late chances to win the match, with Sofiane Boufal and Michael Obefemi wasting gilt-edged opportunities and Kane snatching a left footed effort uncharacteristically wide in the 89th minute.
Saints plan was to attack the flanks from the off, epitomised by Bertrand overlapping down the left on several occasions early on, and looked dangerous throughout.
It was through that avenue that the opener arrived in the 14th minute. Dusan Tadic played Bertrand in down the left, with the Englishman’s cross deflecting in off of the sliding Sánchez’s toe by way of the inside post. A slice of luck, but Southampton deserved it having gone gone close prior to that throughMonolo Gabbiadini and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The lead did not last long, with Kane equalising barely three minutes later. Southampton’s weak defence was exposed on several occasions early on, with Eric Dier rifling a shot into the post and the home side conceding six corners in the first 20 minutes alone.
That sixth corner proved decisive, with Kane bullying Jack Stephens and leaping over Gabbiadini to nod in Ben Davis’ whipped delivery in the 19th minute.
Saints rallied, with Tadic close to finding himself through on goal a couple of times and Mario Lemina driving at the Spurs’ defence impressively. Moussa Sissoko could have easily turned in Davies’ long range effort, hitting a reaction shot wide from close range.
Stephens came within inches of heading in a brilliant James Ward-Prowse free kick 35 minutes in, rising to meet the ball unchallenged but not able to find the target ten yards from goal.
Alex McCarthy showed his worth when called upon, getting down well to deny Dier’s shot from the edge of the area, saving with his feet just after the restart and coming out to collect corners when he could. Lemina, who enjoyed a good afternoon in the centre of the park, should have done better forty minutes in. Gabbiadini fed the Gabonese just inside the box but his shot was comfortable for Michel Vorm.
With Spurs slightly below par for long periods, Saints imposed themselves well and did not crumble in the second half like has so often been the case in recent weeks.
Ward-Prowse - excellent again for Southampton today, went close from range three minutes after the restart and ran himself into the ground for the cause.
54 minutes in both Southampton centre backs came over to manager Mauricio Pellirgino to discuss how to adapt to a Spurs tactical change. Despite sitting deep, the defended their area well and were on hand to block efforts when they came.
Deli Alli and Gabbiadini went close after the hour mark, the Englishman turning and driving a snap shot wide with the Italian having his effort saved well.
A scrappy period ensued with both teams pushing for the winner, with huge opportunities wasted in the final ten minutes.
17 year old academy graduate Obafemi was thrust into the action late on, and had the best chance to win the game with four minutes of normal time remaining. Tadic’s timed run in behind the defence saw the Serb feed the young Irishman six yards from goal. The starlet lacked the composure to turn it home though, the ball bouncing off his heel and behind.
Boufal was then guilty of taking too much time to get his shot off, with Tadic again feeding the chance to his team mate and Sánchez on hand to block the shot which should have already been buried.
Hearts were in mouths in the 89th minute as Kane collected the ball in space in the Southampton box. Luckily for Saints, the prolific Englishman pulled his effort just wide of the far post, with both teams seeing out the five minutes of extra time without incident.
Pellegrino will rightly point to this as another example of his side’s recent upturn in performance, and a huge plus for his side is how they performed against tough opposition - they will need it to negotiate a tricky run in if they are to avoid being relegated.
Despite that, Saints remain in the bottom three and are without a win in 11 games. They must now turn performances into points, with the side only four points off tenth, this performance should give them a much needed confidence boost.
Saints: McCarthy; Soares, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand (c); Romeu, Hojbjerg (Boufal 64), Ward-Prowse, Lemina (Davis 78), Tadic; Gabbiadini (Obafemi 81).
Subs: Forster, Pied, Bednarek, Davis, Boufal, Redmond, Obafemi.
Spurs: Vorm; Aurier (Trippier 71), Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 84); Sissoko, Alli, Son (Lamela 69); Kane (c).
Subs: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Lamela, Llorente.