Saints hold on for a point with 10 men - match report and reaction
Southampton 1-1 Spurs
Tue 28 December 2021, 16:56|Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane’s first-half penalty earned us a draw at Southampton on Tuesday afternoon, but we couldn’t take advantage of playing the entire second half against 10 men after Mohammed Salisu’s red card which led to our equaliser.
The hosts enjoyed the better of the first period, playing a high pressing game which was causing us problems and it wasn’t a great surprise when they took the lead in the 25th minute, James Ward-Prowse slamming home a right-foot shot from 15 yards out.
But we managed to work our way back into it from the penalty spot four minutes before the break, Salisu upending Heung-Min Son inside the area and Kane was as clinical as ever from 12 yards. Salisu was already on a yellow card and received another for his challenge, followed by the obligatory red.
We’d already had one goal disallowed in the first half, a Ben Davies header ruled out for offside, and had two more after the interval as we dominated the whole second period. First, Kane controlled Harry Winks’ pass and beat Fraser Forster but that was ruled out for the narrowest of offside calls by VAR before Forster dropped a high cross under pressure from substitute Matt Doherty and the ball ended up in the net, only for a foul on the goalkeeper to be awarded, which seemed very harsh.
We laid siege to the Saints goal in the closing stages with Doherty, Davies, Lucas Moura, Kane and Bryan Gil all going close but that elusive second goal just wouldn’t come and we had to settle for what was a disappointing point on the balance of play.
Missed opportunity on the road
Due to a combination of bad weather and COVID-19 outbreaks leading to postponements, this was our first Premier League away game for 51 days and, while we continued our unbeaten run under Antonio Conte, it felt like an opportunity missed to take all three points. Our new Head Coach became the first manager in the club’s history to go undefeated in their first seven league games in charge, but it’s unlikely he’ll be celebrating that too much as he watched his side fail to make the most of playing against 10 men for the best part of an hour.
Davies had the ball in the net on 14 minutes with a glancing header from Son’s free-kick but the flag was up for a clear offside before the Saints went in front. Salisu’s throw-in into the box was partially cleared but only as far as Ward-Prowse 15 yards out and he cut across the ball with a right-footed shot which curled away from Hugo Lloris and flew into the back of the net.
Salisu was already on a yellow card for a foul on Emerson Royal when he brought down Son, who latched onto a fine through ball from Harry Winks and raced towards goal before being cleaned out in the area by the Saints man. Referee Anthony Taylor had no option but to brandish a second yellow card and then the red, while Kane stepped up for the penalty and blasted right-footed high past Forster.
The home side were the better team in the first period, but the tide turned after the interval as we dominated possession and the chances. We had the ball in the back of the net again on 53 minutes, Winks clipping a lovely ball over the top for Kane whose first touch was exquisite and his finish superb, but a VAR check showed Kane was fractionally offside and it was ruled out. And on 67 minutes, we thought we’d scored again. Winks sent in a high cross, Forster climbed to gather the ball under pressure from Doherty and spilled it, with the ball flicking off his heel and going into the net but Taylor disallowed it for a foul on the goalkeeper by Doherty which seemed very generous.
For the closing minutes, it was just a case of whether we could snatch the winner or not. Forster saved from Doherty and then from a Son header on 79 minutes, Davies’ fierce volley was headed away by former Spur Kyle Walker-Peters and Lucas drilled a shot which was fisted away by Forster.
Despite the domination, the Saints almost stole the points two minutes into stoppage time when substitute Armando Broja nipped in to steal the ball from Eric Dier and was in on goal but Davinson Sanchez got across to block the shot. There was still time for more action at the other end, Kane heading into the side-netting under pressure from Walker-Peters and the last chance came and went when Forster tipped over Bryan’s drive in the 95th minute.
Rare road trip
This was our first Premier League away game in 51 days, since a 0-0 draw at Everton on 7 November. Excluding the 2019/20 season (with the lockdown enforced break), it’s the longest gap any side has had between away games in a single campaign in the competition.
Kane has now been involved in 17 goals in 12 Premier League starts against Southampton (11 goals, 6 assists).
Head Coach Antonio made three changes to the team that started our 3-0 win against Palace on Boxing Day as Davies, Winks and Dele came back into the line-up in place of Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp and Lucas. Harvey White was on the bench in the Premier League for the first time this season having been among the substitutes for three European matches earlier this term.
Dier, meanwhile, made his 300th appearance for us in all competitions. Signed from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2014, the defender becomes the 48th player to reach the 300+ mark for the club since we joined the Football League in 1908.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'We have to be a bit frustrated'
Speaking to Spurs TV at St Mary's, Antonio Conte reflected: "We have to be a bit frustrated for the final result. We’ve played a lot, the last three games against Liverpool, West Ham and Crystal Palace and today, I tried to make rotation, but only three players, because on one hand if you have big rotation, you make the team fresher, but on the other hand, sometimes you can drop the level of the team. It was a pity because when we arrived at this type of situation to play against 10 men, you have to try to exploit it 100 per cent and get the three points. Today, for fatigue and other situations, we made many mistakes."
Southampton 1-1 Spurs
Saints (4-4-2): Forster, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud, Diallo, Ward-Prowse (c), Valery, S Armstrong, Long (Broja 71), A Armstrong (Redmond 83). Substitutes (not used): Caballero, Small, Simeu, Romeu, Walcott, Elyounoussi, Tella.
Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris (c), Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Royal (Bryan 76), Hojbjerg, Winks, Reguilon (Doherty 46), Dele (Lucas 62), Kane, Son. Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Tanganga, Rodon, Skipp, White, Ndombele.
Goals: Southampton – Ward-Prowse 25; Spurs – Kane 41 (pen).
Yellow cards: Southampton – Walker-Peters, Salisu, A Armstrong; Spurs – Reguilon, Winks.
Red card: Southampton - Salisu.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Venue: St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.
Weather: Sunny intervals, fresh breeze, 11 degrees.