Saints 1-2 Spurs
Our frustrating habit of being unable to play to our best for an entire game continued against Tottenham Hotspur. A dismal first half prevented us from being able to make the most of a far more encouraging second period.
Old boy Gareth Bale naturally came back to haunt us.
Saints didn't manage to get out of the traps in the first half and were extremely fortunate to only be two down at the break. Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale looked to be unlocking us at will down the flanks and it was no surprise that our former player Bale opened the scoring on 15 minutes. A header from the Welsh international on the edge of the box looped into the net beyond home debutant Artur Boruc. Gareth Bale showed respect in his muted celebration but the professional within him had crushed any sentiment with his usual excellent performance on the day.
A hacked defensive move by Jose Fonte rebounded off Clint Dempsey on 39 minutes after Jermaine Defoe's defence splitting through-ball. Ex-skate Defoe had missed a score of chances in the first half much to our relief, yet the superiority of Spurs at this point was utterly alarming.
Was it Spurs sitting back or Saints finally playing to our best? The second half brought on something entirely unexpected, a very entertaining attempt at a fightback.
Jay Rodriguez' goal on 66 minutes from a corner, a close range finish after a Friedel save mere just seconds after Maya Yoshida somehow missed a seemingly open goal with a header was just desert for us as we tried to play our way back into the game. The introduction of Mayuka, impressive on the right of a front three looked to really drive us forward but Spurs held firm as Rodriguez fired wide and Lambert saw a shot at the right hand post blocked by William Gallas.
As with the Fulham game three weeks before, we lost out due to playing poorly for half of the game. This time however our best effort couldn't salvage a point.
Team: Boruc, Clyne, Fox (Reeves, 79), Yoshida, Fonte, Schneiderlin, S. Davis (Do Prado, 78.), Lallana, Puncheon (Mayuka, 58.), Lambert, Rodriguez
Unused Subs: K. Davis, Ward-Prowse, Chaplow, Hooiveld.