Spurs Away Lost 2 – 1
Early setbacks on and off the pitch for our first visit to the new Tottenham ground. The stadium looks great but it’s only as good as its infrastructure and fans turning up after about 2:45 were frustrated by gates that didn’t work (and security staff who didn’t care), but already Southampton’s plans had had to be altered after Soares managed to injure himself warming up, with Vestergaard drafted into the starting line-up. The team are used to switching between a back three, a back four and even a back five, so maybe the change was not the issue it could have been, and things were certainly looking more promising than they had ever done at Spurs’ Wembley home until midway through the opening half when Saints allowed Ndombele to get in a shot that fairly went through a culpable Gunn and into the net. Then our fortunes seemed to change: firstly Boufal made the most of what was certainly a foul and cautionable tackle by Aurier, who compounded the offence a few moments later by clipping Bertrand as he broke away, and thus ended his involvement; Ings then benefitted from a comical goalkeeping error for the second time this season when Lloris’s attempts to play around in his penalty area came unstuck – both sets of players, and the referee too, one suspects, were content that it was a goal, but celebrations were muted until it was clear that there was no VAR check. Against all odds, mathematical and mental, Spurs still managed to turn around in front thanks to a very good goal indeed with Son, Eriksen and Kane all playing more than one key role before the latter shot home. It was still eleven v. ten, and not surprisingly the match stats show Saints on top in terms of possession and shots – indeed Ralph thought the third quarter of the match was quite good for us, although we didn’t create what he called a ‘100% chance.’ We came close though, with Ward-Prowse at last getting on target with a free kick only for Lloris to save, and then the keeper produced an even better stop to foil Yoshida who has not had much luck with close range headers this season. The final quarter was a disappointment, ‘after the substitutions’ according to Ralph. Well it was he who preferred Long and Obafemi to the ‘rested’ Adams who was not even on the bench… the man we really wanted was Djenepo, but the lad’s injury continues to leave us short of match changers.
LSSC Man of the Match:: Sofiane Boufal. In Djenepo’s absence, and until Redmond fires on all cylinders again, he’s the nearest we have to someone to scare opposition defences.