A late James Ward-Prowse penalty earned Southampton a deserved point in a thrilling encounter as they came from behind against Tottenham at St Mary’s.
A fragmented first half never really got going as both sides were forced into two substitutions apiece with Richarlison and Ben Davies coming off injured for Spurs and Saints’ Armel Bella-Kotchap and Jan Bednarek also replaced.
Pedro Porro broke the deadlock, hammering a shot into the roof of the net just before half time.
Che Adams levelled 47 seconds into the second half, but Saints were staring at defeat with 15 minutes to go thanks to Harry Kane’s header before a fine Ivan Perisic effort.
But Theo Walcott inspired Southampton’s comeback with a slotted finish from Sekou Mara’s header and Ward-Prowse completed it from the spot to secure a vital point.
Saints persevere to earn deserved point
A point does nothing to improve Southampton’s position in the table as they remain rooted to the bottom, but it does highlight the improvements made under manager Ruben Selles.
They have managed just one win so far under the Spanish coach – against fellow strugglers Leicester in March – but this spirited second-half performance showed promising signs as they face a tough battle to stay in the Premier League.
Saints had to substitute both their central defenders inside 33 minutes with Mohammed Salisu replacing Bella-Kotchap and Ainsley Maitland-Niles returning to the fold after two weeks on the sidelines after Bednarek was taken to hospital with a suspected rib injury.
But the home side were rejuvenated in the second half with Adams’ early goal putting Spurs on the back foot, and they were unlucky to concede the second goal to a quality Kane header.
Even trailing by two goals it was Southampton who had the chances as Walcott gave the St Mary’s crowd hope, before Mara went close to an equaliser but was denied by Spurs keeper Fraser Forster.
Southampton were eventually rewarded for their tenacity when Pape Sarr made contact with Maitland-Niles in the box and Ward-Prowse drove a powerful penalty into the back of the net.
Spurs struggle in face of spirited Saints
With Manchester United in FA Cup action on Sunday, victory would have seen Spurs move one point above Erik ten Hag’s side in the battle for Champions League football.
In a week when manager Antonio Conte said he does not expect to leave the club before his contract expires at the end of the season, Spurs ended a four-match losing streak away from home but threw away a two-goal cushion to bottom-of-the-league opposition.
Richarlison, who criticised Conte after Spurs’ Champions League exit for his lack of game time, was replaced by Dejan Kulusevski after just five minutes and looked upset as he left the pitch having struggled with injuries all season.
Clear-cut chances were rare as neither side managed a shot on target in the opening period until Porro broke the deadlock with his first goal since joining Spurs in January.
But Spurs were retreating for much of the second half, Kane’s goal came against the run of play and Perisic’s shot from range bouncing to catch keeper Gavin Bazunu off guard.
As has often been the case this season, Spurs led despite an unconvincing performance and were reliant on moments of quality from talisman Kane, who has now registered 21 goals this season.
Against a team who have failed to score more than once in a home match since August, Spurs seemed to run out of ideas and allowed Southampton to capitalise.
Player of the match
- 35BednarekSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 34′minutes
- 37Bella-KotchapSubstituted forSalisuat 8′minutes
- 17S ArmstrongSubstituted forAlcarazat 70′minutes
- 24ElyounoussiSubstituted forSulemanaat 70′minutesBooked at 87mins
- 10AdamsSubstituted forMaraat 70′minutes
- 9A Armstrong
- 23PorroSubstituted forEmerson Royalat 86′minutes
- 4SkippBooked at 85mins
- 33DaviesSubstituted forPerisicat 37′minutes
- 9RicharlisonSubstituted forKulusevskiat 5′minutesSubstituted forSarrat 86′minutes
- 7Son Heung-min
- 6D Sánchez
- 12Emerson Royal
- 27Lucas Moura
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