Bale and Son get Mason off to winning start - match report and debrief
Spurs 2-1 Southampton
Wed 21 April 2021, 20:06|Tottenham Hotspur
Ryan Mason made a winning start to his role as Interim Head Coach as Heung-Min Son’s late penalty gave us all three points against Southampton on Wednesday evening.
Our former Academy graduate and first team player only took over this week following the departure of Jose Mourinho, but steered us to a vital win after we came from behind to snatch the points at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Danny Ings had given the visitors the lead in the first period, but we hit back with an improved second-half display to level the scores when Gareth Bale scored against his former club, before Son’s well-taken spot-kick settled the game in our favour.
Had it not been for an outstanding double save from Hugo Lloris, the visitors would have taken a second minute lead, as the skipper initially kept out Mohammed Salisu’s close-range header before denying Che Adams’ volley from the rebound. We couldn’t find much rhythm to our play, particularly in attacking areas and it was the Saints who went in front on 31 minutes when Ings glanced a header in off the far post from James Ward-Prowse’s corner. Our best chance of the half came in stoppage time but an off-balance Lucas Moura fired over the bar.
It meant we’d failed to have a shot on target in the first half for the first time in the Premier League this season, but nine minutes after the break we did test Alex McCarthy in the Saints' goal thanks to Bale’s 30-yard effort. That was the start of a much-improved second half display which yielded the equaliser on the hour mark, Son’s blocked shot from just inside the area falling to Bale to the right of goal and he quickly moved the ball onto his left foot before curling past McCarthy.
We had the ball in the back of the net on 74 minutes thanks to Son’s finish, but it was ruled out after a VAR inspection since Lucas was in an offside position and blocking the line of sight of the goalkeeper as Son shot goalwards. But it was VAR that intervened in our favour in the closing minutes of the game. A corner was cleared to the edge of the Southampton box where Sergio Reguilon hit a shot and was fouled by Moussa Djenepo. Referee David Coote awarded a free-kick but on closer inspection, the offence was right on the line of the penalty box and therefore the decision was upgraded to a penalty. Up stepped Son to send McCarthy the wrong way and secure us maximum points and a great confidence boost just in time for Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final.
Big win at the right time
Without a win in our last three league matches, this victory was just the tonic we needed as we kept our hopes alive of a top four finish. A change in manager is always an upheaval for any club and we looked a little out of sorts for much of the first period, but got our reward for the way we played after the interval.
Southampton had picked up just two wins from their last 14 league matches before this game but looked bright in the opening stages and were wondering how they didn’t take the lead in the second minute following Lloris’ superb double save.
Giovani Lo Celso curled wide on 10 minutes after Bale pounced on a mis-control by Salisu, while Reguilon failed to cut out a pass from deep which former Spur Kyle Walker-Peters latched onto but Lloris was swiftly off his line to smother the shot. The visitors probably deserved their lead, given to them thanks to Ings’ neat header and his departure through injury in the 58th minute was a big blow to them, one which we certainly capitalised on. Just two minutes later we were level after Tanguy Ndombele threaded a pass into the box for Son who laid off for Lucas to fire in a shot, Salisu blocked but the rebound ran to Bale who finished in style.
It was an excellent move which led to Son firing home in the 74th minute only for it to be disallowed and we wondered whether our chance had gone. But we kept plugging away and were by far the dominant team, so the winning goal was well-deserved. Despite our regular penalty taker Harry Kane missing the game through injury, Son was confident and composed as he side-footed home, his fifth goal against the Saints this season following his four-goal haul at St Mary’s!
Mason makes history
At the age of just 29, Ryan Mason became the youngest person to ever take charge of a team for a Premier League match. And there was a certain symmetry this evening as well, since Mason was the coach in charge of our Under-18s when they played Southampton in the first-ever match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in March, 2019. Ryan’s last home appearance in our colours also came against the Saints, in a 2-1 defeat in May, 2016.
Victory against Southampton means we now haven’t lost a home Premier League game on a Wednesday since a 1-0 loss to Leicester in January, 2016, winning 11 of our 12 such matches since then (D1), scoring 27 goals and conceding just five.
In team news, Mason’s first starting XI as our Interim Head Coach saw him make three changes from the side that drew at Everton on Friday with Lo Celso, Bale and Lucas coming in for Joe Rodon, Moussa Sissoko and the injured Kane.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'The guys gave absolutely everything'
Ryan said after the game: "It’s a great feeling. I’m so happy, I can’t really tell you my emotions right now. I thought the performance in the second half was outstanding, the effort... the guys gave absolutely everything. We deserved to win the game, so I'm very, very happy.
"We were fully committed, brave, aggressive as well. I thought there were times in the first half where I thought we could have been better in individual duels, in 50-50s, but the guys gave everything. You could see that, you could feel that. The momentum was with us in the second half. We gained full control of the game. We created chances, the VAR decision to disallow the goal was disappointing but the guys kept going, kept believing and I felt the right team won."
Spurs 2-1 Southampton
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Winks 73), Bale (Bergwijn 83), Lo Celso (Lamela 79), Son, Lucas. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Sanchez, Tanganga, Sissoko, Dele, Vinicius.
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Salisu, Walcott (Djenepo 67), Ward-Prowse (c), Armstrong, Tella (Redmond 84), Adams, Ings (Diallo 58). Substitutes (not used): Forster, Stephens, Ferry, Jankewitz, Minamino, Nlundulu.
Goals: Spurs – Bale 60, Son 90 (pen); Southampton – Ings 31.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Ndombele, Dier; Southampton - Djenepo.
Referee: David Coote.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Sunny intervals, gentle breeze, 12 degrees.