Spurs Away Lost 2 – 1
Saints went to Tottenham after an eventful few days for the home club. Of course the only surprising thing about Jose Mourinho’s departure was that it took so long – this was the organisation that chose to sack Mauricio Pochettino after he took them to a European Cup Final. It would seem that they had an interest in playing the continent’s elite on a weekly basis anyway and while we all share their disappointment about the failure of the ESL, there are those who wonder how Spurs were invited to dine at this particular table in the first place. Ralph was quoted as saying that Mourinho’s absence “changes everything” and he sent out an odd looking team, mainly in defence where Bertrand’s absence meant a reversion to his back line at Manchester City, including McCarthy in goal. I’m always inclined to wonder if we are over-thinking things when such tinkering occurs, but the team gave a much improved performance from the word go, and just after the starting signal they should have been ahead: Salisu, upfield for a free kick routine, saw a powerful header from Tella’s inviting cross saved by Lloris on the goal-line, and Adams was scratching his head in disbelief when the keeper recovered to keep out the follow-up effort. Walker-Peters was the next to be denied by Lloris and as the game went on, it was a wonder that the scoreline still included “Southampton-nil”; how it was “Tottenham-nil” was also a surprise after a couple of mistakes by Salisu, but Spurs had to wait until the stroke of half time before they created a dangerous situation by their own efforts. By then Saints had scored thanks to a Danny Ings header from one of JW-P’s dangerous corners, and it was a lead they held until the hour mark. Then the outstanding home player, Bale, made the most of a loose ball and curled in a fine finish – only to be expected the way Saints are playing at the moment, but it was a double disappointment as Ings had just limped out of the game and may face another lay off. Things seemed to have got a lot worse when Heung-Min fired home; definitely time for a toilet break but with the commentary turned off, it was a happy return to the screen just as VAR and the match ref were judging Moura to have been offside. Surely a sign of a welcome change in fortune? Not so, as N10 is known for late penalty disappointments and VAR were able to oblige Spurs on 89 minutes, with Djenpo’s unnecessary and ill-advised foul challenge on Reguilón judged to have been on the line; VAR may have then turned its attentions to a possible handball by Adams in any case, but at least they can only give one spot kick at a time. It’s been a while since one of our keepers saved a penalty, and the wait goes on as Heung-Min sent McCarthy the wrong way.
LSSC Man of the Match: James Ward-Prowse, back to his hustling best.