Southampton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
ALAN BALL and Lawrie McMenemy had the last laugh over Kevin Keegan, their former colleague at The Dell, when Southampton beat Newcastle for the second time this season on Saturday.
United's 2-1 defeat was a repeat of the scoreline at Southampton last October, and once again it was Matthew Le Tissier who was their principal tormentor. He scored both goals at The Dell and at St James' Park he assisted in the first and scored the winner with a well- struck free-kick over the wall and into the top corner of the net.
The new team manager, Ball, rushed on to the field at the end to salute his charges, who had achieved an unexpected result, largely through hard work, application and a thick slice of luck.
For much of the game Southampton's goal was bombarded by United, trying to make amends for a dreadful start. They conceded a goal after only five minutes when Neil Maddison headed home Le Tissier's corner at the near post.
Newcastle equalised in the 39th minute through Andy Cole, who plundered his 30th goal of the season in a record time for a club that has boasted some of the finest centre-forwards in the game. It was one of the few glimpses of Cole all afternoon.
Southampton always threatened in counter-attacks and after Ian Dowie had headed a cross from Le Tissier against the bar, they scored the winner six minutes from the end. Le Tissier avoided tackles by Barry Venison and Paul Bracewell before Mark Robinson tripped him about five yards outside the penalty area. Le Tissier picked himself up and converted the free-kick with a swerving shot over the wall that left Mike Hooper flat-footed.
Kevin Keegan, the United manager, was none too pleased and vowed to bring in a new signing within a week or 10 days, saying that 'things had to be changed'. Actually, there does not seem to be very much wrong with United, but Keegan is never at his best after losing.
McMenemy and Ball were in a mutually supportive mood, praising the Southampton players for the hard work they had put in all afternoon. 'As I said to them before the game, anything can be achieved in life if you are prepared to graft for it,' Ball said.
Goals: Maddison (5) 0-1; Cole (39) 1-1; Le Tissier (84) 1-2.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hooper; Robinson, Howey, Venison, Beresford; Lee, Clark, Bracewell, Sellars; Beardsley, Cole.
Southampton (4-4-2): Beasant; Monkou, Wood, Moore, Charlton; Kenna, Allen, Maddison, Le Tissier; Dowie, Banger.
Referee: A Gunn (Sussex).