(Reuters) - Southampton were left in the Premier League’s bottom three after losing an early lead to draw 1-1 at home to fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Despite having gone 10 league games without a win and losing 5-2 at Spurs four weeks ago, Southampton started brightly and deservedly went ahead after quarter of an hour.
Ryan Bertrand overlapped powerfully down the left and from his low cross Tottenham’s Colombian defender Davinson Sanchez diverted the ball past his goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who was deputising for Hugo Lloris.
It took Harry Kane barely three minutes to equalise, rising to head in a corner by Ben Davies and register his 99th Premier League goal.
There could have been more goals before halftime in tricky conditions as both defences struggled to adapt.
They were both vulnerable to crosses. Eric Dier hit the post for the visitors after a corner was not cleared and Moussa Sissoko almost deflected in a low centre from Davies.
At the other end Southampton centre-half Jack Stephens was left unmarked but headed over the bar from a fine cross by James Ward-Prowse.
Two Argentine coaches, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mauricio Pochettino, turned to their substitutes’ benches in an attempt to liven up the later stages.
Attacking players Sofiane Boufal and 17 year-old Michael Obafemi, making his league debut, came on for Southampton and Erik Lamela appeared for Spurs, who made the better chances overall.
Lamela was crowded out four metres from goal, Dele Alli went close from 20 metres and Kane, who scored a hat-trick in the win at Christmas, shot across goal, leaving him to wait for his 30th of the season in all competitions.
Obafemi, one of Southampton’s youngest ever players, missed a glorious opportunity, however, when he side-footed wide shortly after coming on.
Tottenham had needed a two-goal win to move into fourth place above Liverpool, who visit Swansea City on Monday.
It became a frustrating day for them in the end, Pochettino failing to complete a hat-trick of wins at the ground where he made his name in English football as Southampton manager in the 2013-14 season.
“We made a lot of mistakes in possession and in the end the result was fair,” he said.
Southampton were happy enough with the draw.
“It was an end to end game and we are pleased to come away with a point,” Bertrand said.
“Looking at our remaining fixtures, today was a bonus point on our journey.”
Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Ed Osmond