Spurs edged a five-goal game at St Mary’s as Southampton were beaten for just the second time at home this season by the team with the best away record.
Adam Lallana had given the hosts a perfect start to the game as he struck the opening goal after 13 minutes of play. His fourth league strike of the season was a well-taken one as he collected Danny Fox’s pass to turn and strike into the bottom corner from 25 yards out.
The home side were pegged back, however, just ten minutes later by Emmanuel Adebayor, who struck the first of his two goals on the day with a smart volley from Roberto Soldado’s left-wing cross.
It was level-pegging at half-time, but three goals in nine minutes after the break saw the scoring completed with Spurs starting and finishing the scoring after the interval to seal their win.
An unfortunate own goal from Jos Hooiveld gave Spurs hope which was quickly dashed by Rickie Lambert’s first goal in six games when he rolled home from Lallana’s pass to make it 2-2.
Adebayor rounded off the scoring in the 64th minute with an arrowed finish from inside the area which saw Saints’ winless run extended to six matches as 2013 at St Mary’s ended on a sour note.
Mauricio Pochettino made three changes from the team that drew with Newcastle. Luke Shaw was struck down by illness, so Danny Fox came in at left back. Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana made their returns to the starting line-up, with Dani Osvaldo and James Ward-Prowse dropping out.
Spurs got the game underway lining up in their all blue strip, attacking the Chapel stand on a cool and clear day inside St Mary’s.
In a competitive opening to the game, the visitors won a corner inside the first two minutes, which Saints defended well with both Jack Cork and Dejan Lovren making clearances to propel the initial wave of pressure from the hosts.
Saints were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Rickie Lambert around 30 yards from goal. The striker picked himself up to strike a fierce effort at goal, but Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris made a smart save down at the left post to make a crucial block.
The home team stepped it up in the seventh minute when first, Calum Chambers, and then Jack Cork, kept the ball alive in the final third to deliver crosses that were narrowly missed by Lambert from close range.
Spurs came back into it when Soldado broke free down the right flank to send in a low cross towards Adebayor, but Lovren covered the danger well to deny the Togo forward from getting on the end of it.
But on 13 minutes Saints broke the deadlock with a relatively easy move that saw Danny Fox as the creative force. The full back advanced into the final third and played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Adam LALLANA who turned to apply a crisp low finish into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0.
The visitors tried to hit back straightaway when Gylfi Sigurdsson found some space 25 yards from goal, but he fired high and wide of Gazzaniga’s goal, with the Saints keeper remaining largely untroubled.
Gazzaniga collected Christian Eriksen’s cross with ease, with Saints standing firm in the opening 20 minutes of action, with Spurs unable to penetrate the hosts’ backline.
The visitors won themselves another corner which came to nothing, with Saints going back on the attack, and almost finding another goal for themselves when they pounced on a vulnerable Spurs defence.
Lambert robbed Danny Rose of possession on the right, and intelligently laid the ball back to Lallana, whose first time pass into Rodriguez presented the club’s top scorer with a shooting opportunity on the edge of the area, but the former Burnley man rushed his effort which he put over the bar.
Then, on 23 minutes Spurs reignited the contest with a bolt from the blue. A long clearance downfield was chased down by Soldado on the left flank who kept his composure to deliver a swirling cross into the area where ADEBAYOR met it with a volley that flew past Gazzaniga from close range to level the scores.
Spurs continued to take chances at the back though as they invited pressure onto themselves with slow passes back to Lloris, who hurried his clearances.
The visitors forced another chance when Sigurdsson made a late run into the area to get on the end of a blocked shot, but the Icelander’s low shot towards goal was deflected wide and out for a corner.
Gazzaniga punched the ball clear, with Saints again looking for the counter, which they were thwarted from doing so by an improving Tottenham team.
A couple of fouls broke up the flowing action. Mousa Dembele came off worse in a 50-50 challenge with Lambert which left the Spurs midfielder requiring treatment, and then Spurs earned the first booking of the game when Sigurdsson clattered into Steven Davis right in front of referee Chris Foy.
Chambers was desperately unlucky not to help push Saints towards a late chance when he got the better of Danny Rose, only for the ball to run out of play as the youngster was well placed to cross for Lallana.
Three minutes of additional time for stoppages gave Saints an opportunity to go on in search of a goal that would restore the lead they previously held, but the quick-thinking of Lloris denied Lallana from making something of his surge into the area with what proved to be the last goalmouth action of the half.
HALF-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
There were no changes from either team at the interval, with Saints getting the new half underway.
The hosts started the second 45 with a neat pre-planned move that almost got the better of their opponents. From kick-off, Lambert held the ball on halfway whilst Schneiderlin ran into space on the edge of the area. The Frenchman nodded down Lambert’s high ball towards Rodriguez, but Michael Dawson read the situation to clear for the visitors.
It soon became clear that Dembele wasn’t going to continue for Spurs, so he was replaced by Nabil Bentaleb just four minutes into the half.
Spurs started this half with more confidence, but Saints soon found their stride, with Lallana making his presence felt through the middle of the park.
So it was against the run of play that Spurs turned the game on its head with a fortuitous strike on 55 minutes. A neat move down the left led to Rose getting to the byline where he crossed towards Sigurdsson, but the ball instead bounce doff the unfortunate HOOIVELD who put through his own net at the near post.
Saints responded with Fox winning a corner on the left which Steven Davis swung into the area, and Lloris gathered, but Saints weren’t to be denied from finding their equaliser before the hour mark.
A swift break which began from Cork saw the ball played into space that Lallana got into, and with Lloris rushing out to meet him, the skipper cleverly laid the ball off across the area where LAMBERT was able to roll home the equaliser.
In the aftermath of the goal, Spurs withdrew Lamela in favour Nacer Chadli, and soon after, Saints made their first change with Cork coming off and Ward-Prowse replacing him.
Gazzaniga made a smart low save to deny Adebayor one-on-one, but incredibly, Spurs retook the lead on 64 minutes.
Kyle Walker’s cross into the area from the right touchline was knocked on by the substitute Chadli into ADEBAYOR who powered a low strike under Gazzaniga for 3-2 as the goals kept on coming in an absorbing contest.
It could and perhaps should have been four to Spurs when Soldado went clean through on the right, but the Spaniard dragged his shot wide. Soldado had two further opportunities come his way, the latter of which he stuck into the side-netting, as Spurs gathered momentum in attack.
Saints sought to stop that by introducing Gaston Ramirez for Steven Davis in the 69th minute, but were still having to contend with a Spurs team that had their tails up. Chadli was the latest blue shirt to try his luck from distance, but the shot thankfully, flew wide.
Saints built themselves up again to test the visitors with Ramirez adding a spark to the attack as the hosts tried to unlock their opponent’s defence once more.
On 76 minutes, Ramirez played an inviting ball into Lallana, but Lloris’s gung-ho nature continued to reap rewards as he thwarted Saints’ number 20 inside the area.
Saints went for it by introducing young striker Sam Gallagher for Fox with 13 minutes remaining, with the Academy man joining Rodriguez and Lambert in attack. Gallagher’s first job however, was to clear a corner from inside his own area as the hosts played a patient game in search of a leveller.
Gallagher saw a low shot saved by Lloris, with Lambert’s speculative effort from range not causing the Frenchman any worries.
Spurs introduced Jermain Defoe in place of Soldado for the last six minutes or so of the 90, but Saints remained the team that looked more threatening in attack as they pushed as many players as possible forward.
Ramirez and Ward-Prowse combined for the latter to cross for Hooiveld, whose header narrowly escaped the far post and the clutches of Gallagher who was also rushing in to meet it.
As five minutes of stoppage time were added on, Lambert won the hosts a corner. Ward-Prowse’s delivery was cleared only as far as the man who won the set-piece, but Lambert’s shot into the ground, bounced up and over the bar.
The hosts continued to push for a late equaliser, with a series of crosses up to the edge of the area, but Spurs held out to take all three points.
FULL-TIME: SOUTHAMPTON 2-3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Southampton team: Paulo Gazzaniga, Danny Fox (Sam Gallagher 77), Jos Hooiveld, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers, Jack Cork (James Ward-Prowse 62), Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis (Gaston Ramirez 69), Adam Lallana (c), Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert
Unused substitutes: Cody Cropper, Maya Yoshida, Jose Fonte, Harrison Reed
Goals: Lallana (13), Lambert (60)
Tottenham team: Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Vlad Chiriches, Michael Dawson (c), Erik Lamela (Nacer Chadli 59), Mousa Dembele (Nabil Bentaleb 49), Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Roberto Soldado (Jermain Defoe 84), Emmanuel Adebayor
Unused substitutes: Brad Friedel, Lewis Holtby, Etienne Capoue, Ryan Fredericks
Goals: Adebayor (23 & 64), Hooiveld own-goal (55)
Referee: Chris Foy
Attendance: 31,455 (including 3,173 away)