Gareth Bale’s Late Goal Rescues Tottenham Against Southampton


The season continues to shine for Gareth Bale as he scored Tottenham’s late winner at White Hart Lane against his former club, Southampton. just as it looked as if Spurs were going to be denied, the PFA Young Player and PFA and FWA Player of the Year and  fired in another unstoppable shot from 20 yards to claim the three points for Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur 1  Southampton 0

Scorer: Bale

Team: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, BAE, Huddlestone, Dembele (Holtby), Lennon (Adebayor), Bale, Dempsey (Sigurdsson), Defoe  Subs: (unused) Friedel, Naughton, Caulker, Carroll

Tottenham heroes – Hugo Lloris and Gareth Bale [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

It took a goal, four minutes from time, from Bale to break the deadlock against a Southampton  side who had shown energy and endeavour against a Tottenham team which for much of the game had been lethargic and lacking in ideas. It was only in the last fifteen minutes that Spurs forced Southampton back as prior to that the visitors had been the more dangerous in attack. The goal and the three points keep Tottenham’s ambition of Champions League football next season on track with the visit to Stamford Bridge next Wednesday holding the key for both clubs.

The match was delayed by thirty minutes due to traffic problems in the area causing difficulties for supporters. Southampton had the better of the first half with a high energy performance while Spurs were sluggish and ineffective. Twice Southampton could have gone ahead – first after 10 minutes when Clyne got behind the defence but shot wide with only Hugo Lloris to beat. The goalkeeper then saved Spurs when he got down low to a free-kick from Lambert. He touched the ball onto the post and when the visitors picked up the rebound he saved Davis’ header from the cross.

Tottenham’s best chance came early when Jermain Defoe hit the side netting. Their only other threat came in the final seconds of the half when a free-kick by Tom Huddlestone was headed out for a corner and from a second corner Bale’s header went wide.

Southampton were quick to get forward looking to play the ball behind the Spurs defence and Michael Dawson was called upon on a number of occasions to clear dangerous crosses. Spurs, on the other hand had little time in possession and when harried failed to get any movement to their game and frequently the Spurs defenders resorted to playing the long ball to clear any danger. This just played into Southampton’s hands as they kept up the pressure on the Spurs defence. Tottenham lost Mousa Dembele who had passed a late fitness test just before half-time with Lewis Holtby coming on.

In the second half, Bale moved out to the left with Clint Dempsey supporting Defoe. It made little difference with Southampton first to the ball to cut out any threat. They, in contrast, were quicker and more decisive going forward with greater accuracy in their passing and link-up play. Lloris saved a low drive after five minutes and just before the hour Spurs were put under pressure from a series of corners.

After an hour Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Aaron Lennon who had a quiet afternoon and this gave the attack more purpose. The Southampton central defenders were made to work more as Spurs started to increase the pressure. Bale had a shot which hit the bar but he was given off-side. A Spurs corner went through the goalkeeper’s hands but was cleared with difficulty then with ten minutes to play Bale got free on the right. His cross was cleared but as he followed up he appeared to be brought down. A shot from Bale was deflected into the goalkeeper’s hands and then a corner caused Southampton some difficulty.

With six minutes to play Holtby played a pass for Defoe to run onto but it was cut out by the defender. It was getting frantic for Spurs who knew the importance of scoring a goal. With 86 minutes played, Bale in his 200th game for Spurs, collected the ball on the right and cut in field towards the centre of the area and unleashed a fierce shot from 20 yards which gave Boruc no chance. Spurs had the goal they needed and held out for the final minutes for their first clean sheet in the Premier League since defeating WBA in early February and claimed the three points.

Tottenham still have their season under their own control but the result against Chelsea this week will be crucial. Arsenal’s win over QPR keeps them in third while Spurs remain fifth level on points with Chelsea who play Manchester United tomorrow at Old Trafford. Southampton are still short of safety with Wigan winning as their revival continues.