FA Cup report: Saints 4-0 Spurs
English FA Cup
Our 2003 FA Cup dream ended on the South Coast with a desperately disappointing 4-0 defeat to Southampton.
In the first FA Cup tie played at St Mary's, Southampton were, in fairness, the dominant force throughout and goals from Michael Svensson, Jo Tessem, Anders Svensson and James Beattie reflected this.
Missing the injured Dean Richards, Spurs struggled to quell waves of home attacks, while Robbie Keane was the principal thorn in Southampton's side, albeit without reward for his efforts.
Spurs endured a torrid opening 30 minutes and failed to gel as a unit as Southampton made most of the running and looked threatening in attack.
The livewire midfielder Fernandez tormented the Spurs rearguard and linked up well with James Beattie.
Despite the territorial advantage, Saints were creating little in the way of clear-cut chances, Marsden volleying wide before the home side were awarded a free-kick for a trip by Perry on Beattie right on the edge of the area on 12 minutes.
The England contender took the kick himself and his low drive struck the chest of Kasey Keller and unfortunately fell to Michael Svensson to prod Southampton into the lead.
The goal inspired Saints to greater heights and, for a long period, it seemed as if they would increase their lead before the break. Beattie spurned the best chance to do so when he was found in the Spurs area by a superb Fernandez ball from the right but, thankfully, opted to head back across goal.
Southampton's players snapped at the heels of their Spurs counterparts and never gave them an opportunity to settle into any sort of pattern and it soon became clear that Glenn was pondering a half-time change with Darren Anderton favourite to be introduced.
The midfielder duly entered the play at the beginning of the second period, a change that led to a change of formation with Chris Perry making way.
Spurs upped the tempo in the minutes after the break, but failed to find the final decisive pass.
Southampton had no such problems and it was a Beattie pass on 50 minutes that found Tessem free to the right of the Spurs area and the Norwegian dispatched his low shot past Keller to double the advantage.
Keane nearly reduced the deficit minutes later after some typical trickery in the area. His shot was parried by Niemi, Sheringham's angled follow-up was blocked by two advancing defenders and Taricco's power drive was dealt with in a similar manner.
After that bright spot things only got worse for Spurs when Anders Svensson pushed forward from a central position with options either side. Our defence was possibly waiting for him to take one of those options but the Swede went it alone and fired low past Keller to seemingly put the tie beyond reach.
A combination of Sheringham and Davies created an opening for Keane just before the hour, but his powerful drive went over the bar. The Irishman had another great chance when he rounded Niemi minutes later but toe-ended his effort past the post. The Finnish keeper was alert to deny Sheringham 20 minutes from time.
Spurs pushed on, committed to attack, but were getting picked off by Southampton on the break with Anders Svensson particularly influential. Keller was forced into smart action to save from the Swede on 77 minutes and Beattie fired over from a scoring position a minute later.
Substitute Kevin Davies burst down the right just a couple of minutes after coming on and floated in a cross that Beattie headed powerfully goalwards. Keller stopped superbly, but the striker hit the rebound into the net to make it 4-0.
At no stage did Saints shut up shop and Keller saved well to his right to deny Fernandez.
MINUTE BY MINUTE GUIDE TO THE ACTION
9mins: After a frenetic opening, a Fernandez cross was headed clear and fell to Marsden who volleyed well wide.
12mins: GOAL - Bridge tripped by Perry right on edge of area. Beattie takes, ball bounces off the chest of Keller and Michael Svensson pounced to prod the ball into the net. 1-0 Saints
18mins: Superb diagonal ball from Fernandez on the right finds Beattie in the clear in the area. In-form striker opted to head back across rather than at goal from good position.
21mins: Keane's low shot drifts wide.
22mins: Glenn comes down to dugout area from director's box in order to rally the team.
24mins: Crossfield ball from Beattie finds Tessem beyond Perry adn what looked like a clear scoring chance was denied by the defender.
26mins: SUB Injured Marsden replaced by Anders Svensson.
32mins: Keller saves well from sub Svensson.
37mins: CHANCE, Poyet and Davies combine to present shooting chance to Keane, but effort is deflected wide.
Half-time: Saints 1-0 Spurs
45mins: SUB Anderton on Perry.
50mins: 2-0 Beattie played in Tessem to the right of the Spurs area and his angled shot beat Keller.
52mins: CHANCE. Excellent Keane effort saved by Niemi, Sheringham pounced on loose ball but shot blocked and Taricco follow up also blocked.
53mins: 3-0 Anders Svensson picked up the ball and advanced unchecked before firing past Keller.
59mins: CHANCE. Sheringham chip from the left flicked on by Davies and Keane fired just over the bar.
64mins: CHANCE. Keane rounded Niemi but poked his effort past the post.
65mins: SUB. Iversen on for Freund.
70mins: CHANCE. Sheringham shot blocked by Niemi.
73mins: SUB. Doherty on for Davies.
78mins: SUB. Kevin Davies on for Tessem.
80mins: 4-0. Davies cross from the right headed goalwards by Beattie forcing Keller to save, but the striker struck home the rebound.
Team: Keller, Perry (Anderton 45), Taricco, King, Carr, Davies (Doherty 73), Freund (Iversen 65), Poyet, Thatcher, Keane, Sheringham. Subs: Sullivan, Bunjevcevic, Anderton, Doherty, Iversen.
Saints: Niemi, Bridge, Lundekvam, M Svensson, Telfer, Oakley, Marsden (A Svensson 26), Delap, Fernandez, Beattie, Tessem (Davies). Subs: Jones, Williams, Ormerod.