Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur. Premier League.
St. Mary's StadiumAttendance30,157.
Report and free match highlights as Tottenham throw away two-goal lead at bottom side Southampton; Spurs were 3-1 up with 16 minutes left but James Ward-Prowse's stoppage-time penalty after Theo Walcott's goal rescued a draw for the home side; Antonio Conte's side miss chance to move third
Saturday 18 March 2023 21:06, UK
Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead at bottom side Southampton as James Ward-Prowse's stoppage-time penalty rescued a 3-3 draw that saw Spurs miss the chance to move third.
Antonio Conte's fourth-placed side looked to be going above Manchester United as they took a 3-1 lead in the 74th minute.
But Theo Walcott inspired a late Southampton comeback as his close-range finish was followed by Ward-Prowse's 93rd-minute penalty to secure a vital draw for the home side that keeps them two points from safety.
After the match, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte launched an extraordinary tirade at his team, saying: "The players have to take the responsibility. I see a lot of selfish players and I don't see a team.
"In this moment we are not a team, we don't have the spirit, we are not ready to put our heart into the pitch for the badge and to show the sense of belonging. And when you don't have this it means you are going to finish the season really badly.
"The players have to take the right responsibility because the fans, the supporters they deserve much better than this team."
Conte added: "They don't want to play under pressure, they don't want to play under stress. Tottenham's story is this. 20 years there is the owner and they never won something. Why?"
Che Adams had brought Saints level 43 seconds into the second half following Pedro Porro's opener in first-half stoppage-time - his first Tottenham goal.
Harry Kane's header then put the visitors back in front with Ivan Perisic scoring his first goal for the club to give Spurs a two-goal lead.
But strikes from Walcott and Ward-Prowse put a dent in the north London side's top-four hopes, as they now sit just two points above fifth-placed Newcastle, who have two games in hand.
A stop-start first half saw four injury-enforced substitutions in the first 37 minutes.
Southampton lost both centre-backs - Armel Bella-Kotchap and Jan Bednarek - giving them a new pairing of Mohammed Salisu and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while a tearful Richarlison lasted just five minutes for Spurs, who also had to replace Ben Davies.
Porro wasted two good openings to give Spurs the lead but made no mistake at the third attempt in the first minute of first-half stoppage-time as he hammered in off the crossbar after being picked out by Heung-Min Son.
But Southampton responded immediately after half-time as Walcott teed up Adams, who slid in an equaliser for his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.
Kane restored Spurs' lead in the 65th minute as he powered home a header at the back post from substitute Dejan Kulusevski's deft cross.
The England captain's 21st Premier League goal of the season was also his ninth headed goal this term, equalling Duncan Ferguson's single-season record in the competition from 1997-98.
Tottenham then looked set for all three points when substitute Perisic scored his first Tottenham goal in his 36th appearance with a downward volley in the 74th minute.
But just three minutes later Saints were given a way back into the game when Walcott finished off Sekou Mara's knock down from close range.
Southampton then had the chance to complete the comeback when they were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute after Spurs substitute Pape Sarr caught Maitland-Niles in the area at a corner.
Ward-Prowse, who had missed his last two spot-kicks, made no mistake this time to equalise past his former Southampton team-mate Fraser Forster.
Spurs nearly snatched the win with the last touch of the game but Clement Lenglet headed over from Perisic's cross to cap off a frustrating afternoon for Conte's side.
Southampton manger Ruben Selles:
"I'm feeling proud, very proud of the performance that the boys put on to the pitch, very proud of how the crowd supported us in the last 15 minutes, I think it was a key moment for us," he said.
"Of course we need to analyse the game, get the things we didn't do well, but I think we didn't deserve to be 3-1 down, and the comeback just shows how much football and character we have in our dressing room.
"I think you can see on the pitch when we concede the 3-1 [goal], the boys got together and sent a message to each other. We went for it - we had the situation to score the second one.
"It was difficult to play after you lose against Brentford after three days, but we showed physicality, we showed football, we showed character, we showed togetherness, we saw a stadium that was bouncing with the team, and I'm very proud of it."
Both sides will next be in action in April with the international break getting under way after this weekend.
Southampton return with a pivotal game at the bottom as they go to relegation rivals West Ham on April 2, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 2pm.
Next for Tottenham is another trip to a struggling side as they face Everton at Goodison Park on April 3 in the Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.
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