Le Tissier finds his touch at right time

Southampton 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
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The Independent Online
Matthew Le Tissier has always been something of an enigma. One game he is brilliant, the next he simply fails to shine. This inconsistency is at the heart of England managers' decisions not to select him regularly for the national side.

Unfortunately for struggling Southampton, recently he has had more bad days than good. On Saturday, however, it was clear from his first deft touch that the captain for the day in place of injured Barry Venison was at the peak of his game.

Southampton started one place above the relegation zone, but the way Le Tissier calmly took control you would never have guessed it. After five minutes he skipped past a couple of lunging tackles and tested his old team-mate Tim Flowers with a well-struck shot from outside the box.

However, five minutes later, against the run of play, Blackburn almost scored when Jeff Kenna ended a long run with a shot against the inside of the left post which rebounded only for Alan Shearer, another ex-Southampton man, to slice an effort wide.

Blackburn's forward movement was limited by the need to keep Le Tissier in check. Kevin Gallacher was booked for a cynical foul on him as he set off on an amazing run. Moments later, there was relief on Flowers' face when a powerful shot from the midfielder flew wide.

It was from a clever Le Tissier through ball that Neil Shipperley was tugged back by Chris Coleman and the penalty awarded in the 79th minute. With remarkable composure given the pressure, Le Tissier slotted in his shot.

The match had added spice by the recall of Bruce Grobbelaar in Southampton's goal in place of Dave Beasant. Dave Merrington, Southampton's manager, said that he had been picked to "freshen up" the team. Despite the pending court case and pulling a muscle early on, Grobbelaar was very much his old flamboyant self.

Goals: Le Tisser (pen, 80) 1-0.

Southampton (4-4-2): Grobbelaar; Dodd, Benali, Widderington, Neilson; Hughes, Le Tissier, Tisdale, Shipperley; Watson, Heaney (Charlton, 73). Substitutes not used: Bennett, Sheerin.

Blackburn: (4-4-2) Flowers; Berg, Marker (Fenton, 83), Coleman, Kenna; Sherwood, Flitcroft, Gallacher, Wilcox; Newell, Shearer. Substitutes not used: Mimms, Croft.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow).

Bookings: Blackburn: Gallacher.

Man of the Match: Le Tissier.

Attendance: 14,793.

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