Lethal Le Tissier

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The Independent Online
Southampton 2

Dodd 2, Le Tissier 77

QPR 0

Attendance: 15,137

MATTHEW LE TISSIER had been disappointed with his form of late, but the signing of a one-year extension to his contract has restored his confidence and returned him to his impudent, inventive best. That played a key part in a Southampton's victory yesterday. The home side will also have been heartened by the return of Jim Magilton from injury and a positive performance from Barry Venison, whose arrival has coincided with three successive Saints wins.

QPR were never able to get into the game, and apart from an impressive full debut from their Australian international, Ned Zelic, they were often little more than mediocre. The normally potent strike force of Trevor Sinclair and Daniele Dichio was effectively confined by Kenneth Monkou and Francis Benali.

But QPR may feel hard done by after the seemingly harsh 75th-minute dismissal of David Bardsley for a clumsy challenge on Neil Heaney. Le Tissier curled the resulting free-kick delightfully into the top of the net and put paid to any challengeQPR might have mustered.

Southampton had gone ahead inside two minutes when Le Tissier and Magilton played a neat midfield one-two. Magilton held up the ball well and worked it to the right-back, Jason Dodd, who coolly lofted the ball over Juergen Sommer from the edge of the box.

QPR looked rattled and shaky at the back and in danger of being overrun in midfield, as Le Tissier prowled the area 30 yards from goal, searching for space and inspiration. Dodd made a succession of troubling runs down the right flank. It took the steadying influence of Ray Wilkins and Zelic, who showed great poise in midfield, to work QPR back into the game. A well-timed pass from Zelic almost released Sinclair and Zelic himself shot over from 10 yards.

But it was Southampton who created the better chances. A volley by Gordon Watson shaved the bar and a low drive by Magilton was well saved by Sommer just before half-time.

In the second half, Dodd and Heaney repeatedly got to the byline and three headers from Magilton, Shipperley and Le Tissier flashed just wide. Thepressure ensured Southampton a deserved success.

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