Saints on slide

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Dozzell 64 Southampton 0 Attendance: 26, 320
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The Independent Online
THE cynics will insist that you make your own luck, but tell that to Southampton as they sink into one of the relegation spots after losing a game from which theyshould have had a point. Their luck deserted them when Jason Dozzell was pleasantly surprised to find an Andy Sinton cross settling on his forehead after a deflection that left Saints' goalkeeper, Dave Beasant, stranded.

Dozzell's header produced the game's only goal, although Neil Shipperley might have saved the point two minutes from the end when a dream of a pass from Matt Le Tissier gave him his one and only clear sight of the Tottenham goal. Sadly, the shot flew inches over the bar and despite the referee's decison to award a goal-kick, there was more than a suspicion that, on the contrary, Ian Walker had pulled off the save of the day by his fingertips.

After the midweek squabbling and crossing of lines with his manager, Dave Merrington, Le Tissier was obviously free to float wherever the notion took him. It rarely took him into areas that threatened Tottenham's piece of mind, though several first- half corners - including one that bounced off the junction of post and the crossbar - caused even the imperturbable Gary Mabbutt to appear slightly ruffled.

Southampton had looked the hungrier, more purposeful side in the first 45 minutes. Walker was relieved to see Colin Calderwood complete a clearance after the goalkeeper had blocked Shipperley's shot, a feat he repeated when Gordon Watson got a touch to deflect a Le Tissier pass beyond the Spurs keeper.

Deprived of the company of the injured Chris Armstrong, Teddy Sheringham nevertheless coaxed from his young replacement, Steve Slade, a performance full of portents for a bright future. The strikers were not helped by Ruel Fox having one of those days, as did Sinton until the 63rd minute. It was then he shook off Tommy Widdrington's challenge to thrash over a cross from the byline. The Southampton defender's desperate lunge produced the cruel touch that transformed a simple job for Beasant into an open goal for Dozzell.

It was far from stirring stuff, but both sides could plead that they had the FA Cup on their minds. From Spurs' vantage point in the Premiership table that excuse might do; from the lower depths Southampton now occupy, it will not.

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