Top Fives: Late Dell drama

By SFC Media time Tue 19 May History
Photo by Action Images | Matt Le Tissier

On the anniversary of Southampton's last competitive fixture at The Dell, we remember five times Saints left the old stadium shaking...

5. Le Tissier rescues a point
18th January 1997

Remember when Newcastle nearly won the Premier League? This was the following season, by which time Kevin Keegan had added Alan Shearer to his squad for a world-record £15m fee. Ten days after Keegan’s shock resignation, Newcastle were in action at The Dell, now under the management of Kenny Dalglish. With Saints second from bottom and United in the top four, the game was going to form when Lee Clark added to Les Ferdinand’s opener with what looked like the clinching goal in the 82nd minute. But the home team rallied, as Neil Maddison halved the deficit two minutes from time, before Matt Le Tissier added to his growing repertoire of spectacular goals at Newcastle’s expense with a brilliant half-volley to salvage a most unlikely share of the spoils.

4. Paine completes comeback
11th December 1971

One of the great Saints comebacks, visitors West Ham seemed to be out of sight in the first half at The Dell, helped by influential World Cup-winning duo Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst. Goals from Billy Bonds, Clyde Best and Trevor Brooking eased the Londoners into a 3-0 lead, but Ted Bates’s hosts worked their way back into the game before the interval. By half time it was 3-2, thanks to a Jimmy Gabriel penalty and a well-taken header from Mick Channon, but the game descended into normality after the managers’ respective team talks. With time running out, Terry Paine found Channon in the box, who eluded Moore and returned the ball to the winger, who jinked inside and rifled a low shot into the bottom corner to complete the comeback.

3. Pahars pegs back Liverpool
26th August 2000

Another game in which Saints seemed down and out, on this occasion five of the six goals were scored in the second half, rather than the first. The deficit was hardly insurmountable for Glenn Hoddle’s side at the break, who trailed courtesy of Michael Owen’s low shot that kissed the post on its way in. But with 17 minutes left they were 3-0 down, after Sami Hyypiä and a second from Owen left Saints staring down the barrel of defeat. Marian Pahars reduced the arrears by catching out goalkeeper Sander Westerveld at his near post, before Tahar El Khalej added Saints’ second with five minutes left, as Liverpool began to look vulnerable from crosses. Time was against them, but substitute Matt Le Tissier sent another high ball into the box and Pahars was quickest to react, poaching his second of a dramatic afternoon.

2. Horne’s heroics stun Bolton
26th February 1992

After overcoming Manchester United on penalties at Old Trafford, Saints were held to a 2-2 draw by Third Division Bolton in the fifth round. Back at The Dell for a replay, Ian Branfoot’s top-flight hosts were heavy favourites to progress to the quarter-finals, particularly after Alan Shearer fired them in front, but the underdogs fought back to lead 2-1 late on. With the final whistle due any second, Barry Horne took matters into his own hands, striding into visiting territory and trying his luck with a speculative 30-yarder. A shot that swerved left then right, the ball dipped just in time to bamboozle goalkeeper David Felgate and save Saints’ blushes deep into added time. When Horne struck again in the second period of extra time, there was no need for another shoot-out – Saints were in the last eight.

1. Le Tissier signs off in style
19th May 2001

It couldn’t be any other, could it? If this goal had been scored any later it would’ve come at St Mary’s, as Saints bade farewell to The Dell in fairy-tale fashion. The drama was all the more miraculous given the calibre of the opposition – an Arsenal team containing Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry. Twice Saints trailed, through goals from Ashley Cole and Freddie Ljungberg, but twice Hassan Kachloul pegged the Gunners back. Level at 2-2 with 16 minutes to go, Stuart Gray sent on Le Tissier for one last godly act. Cue a long kick downfield from goalkeeper Paul Jones, a flick-on from James Beattie, a loose ball in the box and a crack of the left foot from Le Tissier, who sent a half-volley from 18 yards rising into the top corner. What a way to go.


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