Football: Neilson Yields

Southampton 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 Armstrong 66 pen Attendance: 15,251
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The Independent Online
For the second time in two matches a terrible defensive aberration has cost Southampton a point and put them in further trouble at the bottom of the table. Saints had been in control, if unthreatening, against an unadventurous Spurs until just after the hour when Alan Neilson needlessly palmed away a harmless-looking cross from Chris Armstrong, giving referee Paul Alcock no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Armstrong could hardly believe his luck and coolly drove the ball low to David Beasant's right.

This is all the more galling for Southampton as their defence, with the Norwegian international Claus Lundekvam at its heart, had handled anything that an injury-weakened Spurs could throw at them with aplomb. Further forward, Saints were less convincing and in front of goal they were profligate.

Saints' manager Graeme Souness acknowledged this lack of firepower, commenting: "We know where we're short. For all our possession we didn't create as many chances as we should have and we should have converted what we got."

The first half was scrappy and shapeless, enlightened only by two surging runs from deep by Lundekvam and a sweet through ball from Matt Le Tissier, which Spurs' goalkeeper, Ian Walker, raced forward to claim from in front of Jim Magilton's feet. It was Magilton who missed the best chance of the half when his initial shot ricocheted back to him in the area only for him to side-foot wide from 10 yards.

Spurs substituted an injured Andy Sinton for Ruel Fox at half-time and hoped for more penetration on the flanks, particularly as Darren Anderton, who is suffering from a hernia problem, showed little inclination to go forward on the right. But Saints maintained the vast majority of possession and Neil Heaney forced a fine save from Walker with a low drive to the near post.

Southampton came closest to scoring from another bizarre defending incident. Magilton found himself free in the area but his chip was going well wide until Justin Edinburgh headed the ball against his own post. After Spurs' goal, Southampton pressed forward ever more frenetically but Le Tissier, who was booked for a tussle with Edinburgh, Neil Shipperley and the substitute Matthew Oakley all missed the target.

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