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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 August, 2003, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Saints ruin Foxes' return
James Beattie (left) and Kevin Phillips
Phillips (right) made a dream debut for Southampton
Leicester 2-2 Southampton

Kevin Phillips scored a stunning goal on his debut as Southampton fought back from two goals down to wreck Leicester's return to the Premiership.

The Foxes took a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes with a controversial penalty from Paul Dickov and a trademark header from debutant Les Ferdinand.

But just as Southampton's cause looked hopeless, substitute Phillips struck a rasping shot from 30 yards which flew past Foxes goalkeeper Ian Walker.

And James Beattie completed Saints' recovery with a neat finish after Phillips' initial effort had hit the woodwork.

It had all looked so rosy for Leicester boss Micky Adams, who handed debuts to five of his 11 summer captures.

Ferdinand, who arrived at the Walkers Stadium on a free transfer from West Ham, took just five minutes to endear himself to the Foxes fans - albeit in controversial circumstances.

The veteran striker tumbled over while challenging Michael Svensson for a high ball in the box and referee Mike Riley incensed Saints fans by pointing to the spot.

5 mins: Leicester go ahead through Paul Dickov's penalty
10 mins: Les Ferdinand scores on his debut to make it 2-0
76 mins: Kevin Phillips gives Saints hope with a spectacular effort
80 mins: James Beattie pulls Southampton level

Dickov sent keeper Paul Jones the wrong way to open the Foxes Premiership account and five minutes later Ferdinand sent Leicester's supporters into delirium once more.

Jamie Scowcroft just managed to keep a long ball from Walker in play and hooked it back across for his strike partner to leap high above Svensson and Claus Lundekvam to head home off the underside of the bar.

Southampton's calamitous start was compounded when Lundekvam was forced out of action by a head wound and moments later Dickov should have made it 3-0 for Leicester but mishit his shot from 15 yards.

Gordon Strachan's side manage to limit the damage in the remainder of the first half but it was no surprise when the Saints boss brought on Phillips after the break in an attempt to inject some inspiration.

The effect was almost immediate as the former England striker nearly pulled one back for his new side as he latched onto the end of fellow debutant Graeme Le Saux's cross, but could not get any power on his header.

And 20 minutes later, just as Saints looked to be running out of ideas, Phillips scored his first goal for his new club in spectacular style - blasting a right-footed shot past Walker from 30 yards.

Leicester were clearly rattled and Southampton took full advantage, equalising just four minutes later as Phillips' partnership with James Beattie immediately bore fruit.

Phillips' shot came back off the post and Beattie was on hand to ram home the equaliser and dash the hopes of Leicester's fans.

Leicester: Walker, Curtis, Elliott, Thatcher, Rogers, Scowcroft, Izzet, Scimeca, Gillespie (Stewart 83), Ferdinand (Deane 45), Dickov (Nalis 71). Subs not used: Coyne, Hignett.

Booked: Izzet, Scimeca, Dickov.

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Michael Svensson, Lundekvam (Higginbotham 13), Le Saux, Oakley, Delap, Anders Svensson (Phillips 45), McCann, Beattie, Telfer (Fernandes 67). Subs not used: Blayney, Prutton.

Booked: McCann.

Attendance: 31,621.

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

BBC Five Live's John Rawling
"As a second-half substitute Phillips inspired Southampton"

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