The Neilson touch sinks Southampton
Southampton 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Monday 16 September 1996
Souness could have been forgiven for not feeling slightly crazy himself as he watched his team throw away a point for the second match in succession.
An appaling back pass by Neil Heaney gifted a winner to Steve McManaman at Anfield and Alan Neilson was the culprit on Saturday, when he threw up a hand and palmed away an innocuous cross from Chris Armstrong. Neilson blamed his actions on his momentum as he jumped, but in reality it was one of those instinctive, reflex reactions which will never be fully explained but will remain the stuff of Neilson's nightmares.
Reflecting on a striking crisis which saw Neil Shipperley largely anonymous, and Jim Magilton wasteful, Souness said: "We know where we're short." Not in defence, though, where Claus Lundekvam looked at home in the Premiership.
Lundekvam is similar to Chelsea's Frank Leboeuf, showing great composure on the ball, vision in his passing, tenacity in marking Armstrong and still finding time for thrilling, surging runs from deep in the first half, the second of which almost put in Neilson, but for Ian Walker's quick thinking.
Armstrong ran tirelessly but Spurs' lack of penetration originated in midfield where, just as at the end of last season, Gerry Francis is frantically juggling his injured players. Andy Sinton limped off at half-time and Darren Anderton is finding it increasingly difficult to finish matches with his hernia problem.
Anderton's reluctance to come forward repeatedly forced Armstrong wide, and with Justin Edinburgh playing out of position Francis acknowledged the need for new personnel saying, "there is a strong possibility that we will add to our squad this week."
Goal: Armstrong (pen, 66).
Southampton (3-1-4-2): Beasant; Monkou, Lundekvam, Dryden; Neilson; Charlton, Slater, Magilton (Watkinson, 67), Heaney (Oakley, 60); Le Tissier, Shipperley. Substitutes not used: Potter, Hughes, Moss.
Tottenham Hotspur: (4-4-2): Walker; Edinburgh, Calderwood, Campbell, Wilson; Sinton (Fox, 45), Neilsen (Nethercott, 78), Howells, Anderton (Rosenthal, 72); Armstrong, Allen. Substitutes not used: Baardsen, Carr.
Referee: P Alcock (Redhill). Attendance: 15,251.
Bookings: Southampton: Monkou, Le Tissier; Tottenham: Howells (Edinburgh).
Man of the match: Lundekvam.
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