English Premiership

Bale returns to haunt Saints

2012-10-28 19:40
Gareth Bale (File)

Southampton - New father Gareth Bale came back to haunt former club Southampton on Sunday as Tottenham Hotspur won 2-1 at St Mary's to climb to fourth in the English Premier League table.

Spurs had lost 4-2 at home to Chelsea in their previous outing, followed by a 1-1 draw at Maribor in the Europa League on Thursday, but goals from Bale and Clint Dempsey saw them roar into the Champions League places.

Jay Rodriguez pulled a goal back in the second half for Southampton, who remain second from bottom after losing seven of their first nine matches on their return to the top flight.

Bale was returning to Southampton for the first time since he left the club to join in Spurs in 2007 and he needed just 15 minutes to show the home fans what they have been missing.

Tom Huddlestone supplied the assist with a cross that Bale directed past Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc with an emphatic header to mark his return to action after the birth of his first child in style.

Bale, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon were giving the Saints defence plenty of problems, and Bale and Defoe were both involved in Spurs' second goal six minutes before half-time.

The Welshman freed Defoe and although the England striker's shot lacked power, Southampton defender Jose Fonte stumbled as he attempted to clear the danger and Dempsey was able to bundle the ball home.

Andre Villas-Boas' men had no trouble keeping the home side at bay in the first half but Southampton rallied in the second period.

Daniel Fox and Jason Puncheon both threatened the Spurs goal, before Maya Yoshida somehow contrived to miss from point-blank range, but the Saints' pressure was rewarded in the 66th minute.

Fonte flicked a corner towards goal and although Brad Friedel got down to claw the ball away, Rodriguez was on hand to tuck the rebound home and register his first goal for the club.

The former Burnley forward came within inches of an equaliser moments later, only for his effort from the edge of the box to flash narrowly wide of the post.

Nigel Adkins' side pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages but Spurs held firm to climb above Everton and arch rivals Arsenal in the Premier League standings.

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