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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"A more perfect end there couldn't have been at The Dell"
 real 14k

Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Le Tissier caps Dell farewell
Alex Manninger and James Beattie
Manninger was beaten by Le Tissier in the last minute
Southampton 3-2 Arsenal

Matt Le Tissier gave Southampton the perfect result in their farewell match at The Dell with a stunning volley in their 3-2 win over Arsenal.

The Southampton hero hit a late winner to give the club victory in their last game before their move to a new 30m 32,000 seater stadium next season.

That was after a determined Southampton had come from behind twice with Hassan Kachloul equalising strikes from Fredrik Ljungberg and Ashley Cole.

  Key incidents
28 mins: Ashley Cole pus Arsenal ahead
46 mins: Hasan Kachloul equalises
54 mins: Fredrik Ljungberg restores Arsenal's lead
61 mins: Kachloul put Saints on level terms again
89 mins: Matt Le Tissier hits the winner

The players seemed to be comfortable with the party atmosphere, taking the field wearing bandanas in aid of a children's charity.

And for the first 15 minutes of the game both sides continued in charitable mood with some sloppy passing.

Neither side managed a shot on goal and there was little indication of the free-scoring match that was to follow.

Then James Beattie missed a good opportunity to put Saints in front, heading straight at Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger.

Arsenal continued in much the same fashion as they had played in their last two matches, with some neat passing and a greater share of possession but little cutting edge.


It was very fitting for Matt Le Tissier to score the final goal in the Dell
  Stuart Gray

But when Robert Pires neatly dummied Martin Keown's through-ball, Ashley Cole galloped into space down the left flank.

His initial shot was saved by Paul Jones but he made no mistake with the rebound.

End-to-end

Southampton battled back and Bridge's free-kick forced Manninger to make an excellent save.

Kevin Davies directed a header straight at Manninger and at half-time it looked as though Southampton would end their 103-year stay at The Dell with defeat.

But after the restart some uncharacteristically sloppy defending from Arsenal and sure finishing from Kachloul brought Saints back on level terms.

Kachloul chipped in his first after Chris Marsden had charged down a Gilles Grimandi clearance.

And 15 minutes later he was on hand again when Manninger flapped at Gary Monk's cross and the Moroccan tapped in for his second.

In between Ljungberg put the finishing touch to a flowing Arsenal counter-attack involving Henry and Pires.

The Swede swept the ball home from Pires' low centre to give the visitors a short-lived lead.


We did not intrude on their party - we gave them what they wanted in the last minute
  Arsene Wenger

Five minutes later Marian Pahars was clean through as Arsenal's offside trap failed but Manninger dived bravely at his feet to save.

Then a frantic goalmouth scramble almost saw Arsenal take the lead for a third time, but some resolute defending from Saints kept them at bay this time.

Patrick Vieira hit a post with a cracking volley from a corner as Arsenal pushed for a winner.

Perfect ending

Substitue Edu came close with a rasping drive that was just too high.

But it was another substitue who took the glory, coming on to create a fairytale ending to Saints' tenure at The Dell.

Southampton legend Le Tissier scored with a beautifully struck volley from inside the box with just one minute left in the match.

It was a fantastic finale for Southampton and particularly fitting that Le Tissier should provide it.

Le Tissier and the rest of the Southampton players were mobbed at the end as the fans ran on to the pitch and the celebarations began and emotions flowed as the supporters broke into song.

Long will Southampton's stadium and the final match played in it remain in the memory.


Southampton: Jones, Monk, Lundekvam, Richards, Bridge, Tessem, Marsden, Kachloul, Pahars, Davies, Beattie. Subs: Moss, Le Tissier, Draper, Benali, El Khalej.

Arsenal: Manninger, Grimandi, Keown, Adams, Cole, Pires, Vieira, Parlour, Ljungberg, Henry, Bergkamp. Subs: Stepanovs, Edu, Upson, Kanu, Taylor.

Referee: P Taylor

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