team 2012-13

Saints 1 - 2 Spurs (0-2 HT)

Barclays Premier League

St.Mary's - Sunday 28th October 2012

Rodriguez 66′
Bale 15′
Dempsey 39′
Ref: Mason
Att: 31,944
Well, that was a game of two halves.

In the first half Saints players looked listless and out of sorts. Passes were going astray and they didn't seem to know what they were supposed to be doing. Spurs were running the game without really getting out of second gear. Their forward players were just so much faster both in outright pace and in speed of thought. They went two goals up through Bale (well he would wouldn't he?) and a scrambled goal from Dempsey.

Then came the second half. Right from the off it was a different game altogether. suddenly the Saints players looked half a yard faster and they were winning more of the ball. Saints further increased the pressure when the largely ineffective Puncheon was replaced by Mayuka. Suddenly they were more effective in the final third. The whole team seemed galvanised. After a period of intense pressure Rodriguez managed to force the ball home for his very first Premier League goal. The team, in the words of Nigel Adkins after the game, then 'threw the kitchen sink' at Spurs, but for all the effort could not find a way to get an equaliser.

When the fans turned out for what was widely advertised as another sell-out crowd, there were few surprises when the team sheet was read out. The personnel were largely as had been speculated in the IBO forum the day before. The only exception seemed to be that Artur Boruc continued in goal, whereas most fans seemed to be expecting the return of Gazzaniga. The fans showed amazing perception, as Boruc looks out of shape and nowhere near ready for the first team.

Right from the off Spurs grabbed the initiative and almost had a goal within the first five minutes after an appalling mix up in the Saints defence. Yoshida made his one and only mistake of the game, an attempted headed clearance went skywards and came down right in front of the goal. Fortunately the Spurs players were as slow as Boruc to react and the danger passed.

Saints looked thrown by this fortunate escape, but Spurs looked dangerous going forward. Lennon in particular was very quick and Huddlestone was pulling the strings in the middle. The Saints formation just could not get to grips with things and Lallana in particular was beginning to make some rash tackles, as frustration began to get the better of him.

Eventually, after a quarter of an hour, the inevitable happened and the impressive Bale worked himself into a good position and his curling header looped past the hapless Boruc into the goal.
Still Saints did not change anything. There were still acres of space on the Saints left (which we have seen on so many occasions this year), but with Fox carrying the groin strain and Lallana being AWOL from the left, Lennon practically had the freedom of St.Mary's.

The second goal was a messy affair and Boruc was rooted to the spot while Fonte desperately tried to clear a shot off the line. Unfortunately he only succeeded in clearing it as far as Dempsey, who had a simple tap in to score.

There was some aggravation after the goal, with a fair number of people in the Chapel end blaming Boruc for this fiasco. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, Boruc reacted to the provocation and there were reports that he kicked, or threw a water bottle into the crowd. Not very clever.

Half time came without further changes, either to Saints, or to the scoreline. I think it fair to say that I haven't been that depressed at a Saints performance since before the dark days of administration. They were simply abysmal. Worse than that, they looked a beaten side. I was reduced to hoping that they manage to keep the score down to fewer than they conceded against Arsenal.

When the second half began it quickly became clear that Saints had changed formation and they were a completely different proposition. They were playing with more self-belief and suddenly it was Spurs on the back foot.

The real turning point came when Mayuka replaced Puncheon, who was repeatedly running into blind alleys. Instantly Mayuka was offering more of a threat and it came as no surprise when Rodriguez thumped the ball home beyond Brad Freidel in the Spurs goal.

For the remainder of the game it was pretty much one way traffic, with Saints continually putting Spurs under intense pressure. Saints defence looked solid now, with Yoshida in commanding form in the centre. Unfortunately, the damage had been done and try as they might they failed to get an equaliser.

I left the ground with mixed emotions. Pleased to see the team playing so well in the second half, but frustrated that they could not have played like that from the off.

Channonite 31.10.2012

Teams

Southampton

31 Boruc
02 Clyne
03 Yoshida
06 Fonte
13 Fox (Reeves - 79' )
04 Schneiderlin
08 S Davis (Guly - 78' )
20 Lallana
42 Puncheon (Mayuka - 58' )
07 Lambert
09 Rodriguez

Substitutes
01 K Davis
05 Hooiveld
29 Reeves
16 Ward-Prowse
21 Guly
27 Chaplow
24 Mayuka

Tottenham Hotspur

24 Friedel
05 Vertonghen Booked
13 Gallas
28 Walker
33 Caulker
02 Dempsey (Dawson - 90' )
06 Huddlestone (Livermore - 63' Booked )
07 Lennon
11 Bale
30 Sandro Booked
18 Defoe (Sigurdsson - 78' )

Substitutes
25 Lloris
16 Naughton
20 Dawson
22 Sigurdsson
27 Falque
29 Livermore
31 Townsend

Match Stats


Possession
Southampton 48%
Tottenham Hotspur 52%

Shots
Southampton 11
Tottenham Hotspur 11

On target
Southampton 6
Tottenham Hotspur 4

Corners
Southampton 2
Tottenham Hotspur 3

Fouls
Southampton 14
Tottenham Hotspur 8