Southampton 0-2 Watford

Southampton’s attack, which mustered its first shot on target in added time, continued to stay silent as they fell 2-0 to unbeaten Watford at St Mary’s.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Daryl Janmaat each beat Fraser Forster in similar fashion either side of the break — both down low and to the corners.

Mauricio Pellegrino tinkered with his line-up due in part to the international break and handed Wesley Hoedt his Southampton debut whilst Sofiane Boufal also started in place of Dusan Tadic.

Despite the changes, Saints have still returned just three goals through five games across all competitions. All three, however, came against West Ham.

Doucoure brought to life a rather stagnant opening half when he gathered the ball following a soft clearance, before volleying into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Brazilian Richarlison looked poised to make it 2-0 to the visitors just three minutes later, but his right-footed effort was deflected into the side netting.

Doucoure, who had struggled for regular action last season, nearly added to his tally after running onto Andre Gray’s flick-on only to fire high over the bar.

Southampton came to life for a 10-minute stretch nearing the hour mark without return.

Nathan Redmond was able to Sofiane Boufal into space, but the attempt from the Moroccan was blasted over, before Redmond fired into the side netting from a tight angle.

Janmaat, however, doubled Watford’s lead minutes after his introduction when a mighty strike from 35 yards out beat Forster to the bottom corner on 66 minutes.

Watford continued to control the play with Southampton trying to salvage something out of the game by throwing on Charlie Austin and Shane Long.

But neither had any great impact, and Cedric Soares forced Gomes into his first real action of the game when he stung the 36-year-old’s gloves in added time as Saints limped to the finish.

Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Hoedt, Stephens, Cedric, Romeu, Davis (c), Redmond, Ward-Prowse (Tadic 46), Boufal (Austin 71), Gabbiadini (Long 69).

Unused subs: McCarthy (GK), McQueen, Yoshida, Lemina.

Goals: None.

Bookings: None.

Watford: Gomes (c), Femenia (Janmaat 62), Kaboul (Mariappa 61), Kabasele, Holebas, Doucoure, Chalobah, Carrillo, Cleverly, Richarlison, Gray (Deeney 84).

Unused subs: Karnezis (GK), Success, Watson, Capoue.

Goals: Doucoure (39), Janmaat (66).

Bookings: None.


Southampton 0-0 Manchester United

Manolo Gabbiadini continued Southampton’s woes from the penalty spot becoming the third consecutive casualty in a goalless draw against Manchester United.

Eric Bailly had been adjudicated by the linesman to have handled the ball with his arm inside five minutes, but Gabbiadini’s spot-kick was wisely telegraphed by Sergio Romero.

Southampton then withstood an early surging run from Bailly, which saw the defender cut into the box only to have Fraser Forster halt the chance.

Anthony Martial capped off an opening quarter hour of mere half chances when he dragged a shot wide after Wayne Rooney’s sublime touch led to a smart pass through the defence.

With the game limping towards half-time, Cedric did enough to head a dangerous cross aimed at Marouane Fellaini behind for a corner.

Nathan Redmond, at the other end,  played a one-two with Steven Davis before opening up for the shot, which was deflected by Fellaini and into the grasp of Romero.

Southampton started the second half brightly with Dusan Tadic’s powerful free-kick drawing a punching save before Oriol Romeu was denied from point-blank.

Romero continued his inspired performance as he kept James Ward-Prowse from finding the top corner with a curling effort from outside the box with 59 minutes gone.

United, who clearly had an eye on the Europa League final next week, rarely threatened, and Juan Mata found the outside of the upright after Forster was stuck in no-man’s land after Rooney broke into the box.

Anthony Martial had United’s best chance with 18 minutes remaining, but he struck the base of the far post before Mkhitaryan blasted the rebound over the bar.

Jay Rodriguez nearly found a late breakthrough when he flashed a shot wide of the far upright.

Southampton: Forster, Targett, Yoshida, Stephens, Cedric (Pied 69), Romeu, Davis (c), Ward-Prowse (Boufal 77), Redmond, Tadic, Gabbiadini (Rodriguez 62).

Unused subs: Hassen (GK), Caceres, Clasie, Austin.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Romeu (10).

Manchester United: Romero, Bailly, Jones, Smalling, Darmian, Tuanzebe (Carrick 63), Fellaini (Ander Herrera 75), Mata (Rashford 69), Rooney (c), Mkhitaryan, Martial.

Unused subs: Pereira (GK), Mitchell, McTominay, Lingard.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Jones (51).

Middlesbrough 1-2 Southampton

Jay Rodriguez ended Southampton’s goalless run at 312 minutes in a win 2-1 at relegated Middlesbrough.

Claude Puel, who made seven changes to his side, saw Rodriguez notch his first goal since January when the striker met Shane Long’s cross first time to beat Brad Guzan for pace nearing half-time.

Nathan Redmond came off the substitute’s bench at the break and added his career best seventh Premier League goal, but Southampton found a way to make their final away trip a difficult one.

Long — looking to end a personal drought of 11 appearances without a goal — would clip the crossbar with his spot-kick shortly before Patrick Bamford pulled one back for the hosts.

It was mere consolation for Boro, who make an immediate return to the Championship having won just three games at the Riverside Stadium.

George Friend headed wide of Fraser Forster’s upright, which was the epitome of a trying opening 30 minutes.

Long nearly linked up with Rodriguez’s run at the far post, but Guzan did well to prevent the cross from reaching its intended target.

The two, however, finally gave Saints fans their first goal to cheer for since a 4-2 defeat at Chelsea on 25th April.

Jordy Clasie sent Long scampering down the right side before Rodriguez met a cross with a scooping volley.

Redmond, who had replaced Sofiane Boufal at half-time, made it 2-0 with an equally impressive effort that found the top-right corner with 57 minutes gone.

Guzan drew more ire out the home supporters when he brought down Long and referee Anthony Taylor didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. But Long was left with wry smile on his face as he failed to convert.

Bamford erupted when he bundled in his first goal since April 2015, as it set up a nervy finish for Southampton.

Calum Chambers almost fired Boro level in added time, but Fraser Forster fought off the attempt to secure Southampton’s first victory in six games.

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Fabio, Chambers, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw (Leadbitter 60), de Roon, Downing (Fischer 60), Bamford, Negredo.

Unused subs: Dimi (GK), Barragan, Bernardo, Traore, Stuani.

Goals: Bamford (73).

Bookings: Clayton (66), Gibson (86), de Roon (90).

Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Yoshida, Caceres, Pied, Clasie, Romeu, Hojbjerg (Davis 74), Boufal (Redmond 46), Rodriguez, Long (Austin 87)

Unused subs: Hassen (GK), Targett, Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Austin.

Goals: Rodriguez (42), Redmond (57).

Bookings: None.

Liverpool 0-0 Southampton

Fraser Forster denied James Milner from the spot and Liverpool of all three points, as their bid for Champions League took a subtle hit.

Jack Stephens was adjudicated to have handled the ball inside the area, but Forster held firm pushing aside the penalty with a strong right hand.

The Southampton goalkeeper then kept out Marko Grujic’s header late in stoppage time to preserve a goalless draw at Anfield.

Liverpool, who has not scored against Southampton in four attempts this season, leads fifth-place Manchester United by five points with two games remaining. United, however, has two in hand.

A match largely void of excitement was brought to life when Liverpool was awarded a penalty after it was adjudicated that Jack Stephens had handled the ball in the area.

But following yellow cards for unsportsmanlike conduct to Cedric Soares and James Ward-Prowse, Milner had his attempt from the spot saved as he looked for the bottom left corner.

Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana all had half chances over the final quarter-hour, but none concerned Forster enough.

The Saints’ shot stopper had one last act of brilliance to ensure his team left with a point, as he was able to lift Marko Grujic’s goal-bound header over the bar.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner, Lucas (Lallana 69), Winjaldum (Grujic 87), Can, Coutinho, Firmino, Origi (Sturridge 69).

Unused subs: Karius (GK), Moreno, Alexander, Klavan.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Lovren (89).

Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Yoshida, Stephens, Cedric, Romeu, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Tadic, Boufal (Redmond 61), Gabbiadini (Long 69).

Unused subs: Hassen (GK), Pied, Caceres, Hojbjerg, Rodriguez.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Cedric (65), Ward-Prowse (65), Bertrand (90+2).

West Brom 0-1 Southampton

Jordy Clasie’s sensational strike lifted Southampton over West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Clasie, who has played just four minutes since 31 January, struck beautiful into the top corner from the edge of the box in a 1-0 Premier League victory.

Fraser Forster denied Craig Dawson a sure leveller from point-blank in added time with a reaction save off the line.

Southampton remained in ninth in the standings, but moved to within four points of their counterparts with eight games left.

Forster palmed away an effort from James Morrison before Nacer Chadli hit the follow up over the bar with the hosts looking for an early goal.

Saints dominated possession and it paid off when Clasie fired into the top corner on 26 minutes after being teed up by Tadic, who had received the ball in the box from Shane Long’s cut back.

Chadli had a chance to reply to Southampton’s opening goal, but his open header was blocked aside by Forster.

Long, who was without a goal for a sixth straight game, missed an opportunity to double the lead when he headed wide from a perfect delivery by Ryan Bertrand on the stroke of half-time.

Nathan Redmond continued to impress and he also came close after the restart only to see his volleyed effort saved on 68 minutes.

Chadli then fired an attempt straight at Forster from outside the area before Tadic curled a shot wide of the far post at the other end.

Forster, who kept his 11th clean sheet, preserved all three points as he stopped Dawson’s volley from a last ditch corner in extra time.

West Brom: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nymon, Fletcher (c) (Robson-Kanu 66), Livermore, Morrison, Phillips (McClean 62), Chadli, Rondson.

Unused subs: Myhill (GK), M Wilson, Yacob, Field, Brunt.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Evans, Phillips.

Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Yoshida (c), Stephens, Cedric, Clasie (Reed 84), Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse (McQueen 71), Tadic, Redmond (Sims 71), Long.

Unused subs: Hassen (GK), Caceres, Pied, Rodriguez.

Goals: Clasie (26).

Bookings: Cedric, Forster.

Zion Tordoff: The grind


Feature article originally printed in the September through December edition of the Lancashire Spinners’ Born and Red Magazine and on Photos courtesy of and credited to Deng Top 50.

ZION TORDOFF CASUALLY plucks the ball out of the air before breaking up the floor without a second thought. By the time he reaches midcourt it’s evident what is going to happen next. In three swift steps he drags his six-foot-six frame from the 3-point line to being airborne with the basketball rolling off his fingertips towards the orange rim. Count it. Two points.

After landing, he jogs back up the floor as if nothing’s changed. It’s become so routine through countless repetition that he expects that result every time. And it’s only adding to confidence already brimming over ahead of a first full season in National League One.

From January, when he made the initial leap to the Spinners from Division Three, until now, there’s a noticeable difference in the way Tordoff plays.

“That’s my guy,” said Kyle Carey, who watched his former Lancashire Spinners team play USA Select from his dorm room on the University of Northern Colorado campus 4,485 miles away.

Carey was so fluid attacking the rim during his season with the Spinners, as well as in the Elite Academy Basketball League with Myerscough College. In 36 games in Bury he racked up 357 points of total offence, ranked fourth on the team. He also had a team season- high of 35 points in a win over Kent.

If there’s anyone you want in your corner, it’s someone who has been there, done it and has the t-shirt to boot.

“I had to let him know I was proud of him and what he’s accomplished this year,” Carey continued. “He’s really put people on notice.”


Zion Tordoff drives the basket during the Deng Top 50 All-Star Game. Photo: Deng Top 50

SHORT OF A KITTEN cleverly placed atop his shoulder, à la Rob Gronkowski 2014, to complete the look, Zion Tordoff is the real deal on and off the court. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for him to admit it.

“I would like to think all this attention is down to the hard work I’m putting in on and off the court,” said Tordoff. “I’m really just taking it all in stride and I’m thankful that I’m in such a positive and supportive environment.”

He’s leaned on the success he saw first-hand by the 2015-16 No. 1 overall Deng Top 50 prospect — and former Myerscough and Spinners teammate — Carey, who secured a scholarship to Division I university in America.

Not to mention Carey was in a similar position when he entered the season with a chip on his shoulder following the 2015 Deng Camp.

“In terms of attitude and action on the court, Kyle is a big inspiration. We’re really good friends and it was great to be able to watch him work on his game and see what confidence can do for young players,” said Tordoff.

Carey’s message to Tordoff is simple: stay focused.

That’s something Tordoff doesn’t need to be told twice, as he is dedicated to basketball whether it is in the weight room or getting up last-minute reps after practice. He’s even surprised himself at times with the amount of effort and time he’s devoted. And he tries to squeeze every ounce out of trainings to make the most of them.

“Zion has a tremendous work ethic,” said Spinners and Myerscough College head coach Neal Hopkins. “He’s also just a great teammate, who is well-respected in the locker room because he does his job to the best of his ability every time he is asked to. He never stops learning and is well-receptive to coaching, which allows me to do my job.”

“Everything I’ve been able to do basketball wise is a reward for the principles I set for myself: work hard, learn, don’t settle and believe.”

— Zion Tordoff, Lancashire Spinners forward

The 17-year-old Tordoff earned his first place on the England Under-18 roster, which competed at the Division B European Championships in Macedonia at the end of July. The team underperformed by its standards and finished ninth, but reeled off five-straight wins to close out the tournament.

And he made it an objective to take full advantage of his 15.5 minutes per game, ranked fifth on a loaded roster that included the No. 1 overall player from the 2016 Deng Camp, RJ Eytle-Rock, who narrowly edged him out for the top spot.

“It was a big blow to miss out on the U16 Division A European Championships,” admitted Tordoff. “I know I was close, but the coaches made their choice. It showed me sometimes things don’t go your way, but the key is to focus on the big picture.”

Tordoff, who talks quickly and with an unmistakable enthusiasm, made the Under-18 roster a year ahead of schedule. He averaged 8.8 points and three rebounds in eight games, scoring in double figures in half of them.

A 16-point effort against Georgia to close the Championships capped off a brilliant experience, which also included a team-high in a win over Iceland.

“Not only making the team, but being successful as well, was down to my hard work and growth as a player,” he said. “The coaches and environment at Myerscough College had me mentally and physically ready for the demands of playing at that level.”

Standing at six-foot-six, the Bradford native was always going to be prepared.

In January he made the jump from playing with Myerscough College’s Division Three team under the watchful eye of Hopkins to the Spinners in Division One where he made his debut against the Essex Leopards.

It was fearless.

“Everything I’ve been able to do basketball wise is a reward for the principles I set for myself: work hard, learn, don’t settle and believe,” Tordoff said. “I know I will make mistakes along the way, but that is what will help me grow as a player.”

Prior to joining the Spinners, Tordoff was averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds in Division Three, as well as 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in the EABL for Myerscough.

His performance through the season earned him a place in the 2016 Under-17 HoopsFix All-Star Classic game where he led Team Black to a come-from-behind win and was awarded Most Valuable Player honours. Tordoff finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four steals.

“I have the ability to deal with both success and failure,” he said. “So much of this game is mental and I’ve put in a good body of work where my confidence has reached an all-time high. But my own expectations as I continue to progress to high levels of basketball will never allow me to become complacent.”


Tordoff (right) poses with two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (left). Photo: Deng Top 50

IT’S NOT A complicated formula.

“I love the grind,” Tordoff said. “It’s just fun to me, along with the process of getting better – believe in the hard work and stick to the plan.”

The shot is smooth. With his hands up and ready to receive a pass, it’s a quick catch and shoot, a motion that lasts just over half a second before the ball is released.

“Zion is fundamentally sound, but he’s also just trying to be himself,” said Hopkins.

In the team’s opening practice of the season there was a moment that stood out where Tordoff got hold of the ball on the edge of the 3-point line before a sweeping move from left to right helped him step past Connor Murtagh, a former Great Britain Under-20 player, and towards the baseline. He took off and then accepted contact mid-air from David Ulph (a stone heavier), as he casually lofted a left- handed floater over a swatting hand into the hoop.

There was no pomp. No circumstance.

“On court I can come across as being super serious,” Tordoff laughed. “But I like to have a bit of fun … live in the moment because life is good.”

One glance at his SnapChat and it’s consistently full of laughs he’s having with teammates before or after practice, and around Myerscough during lunch or in the dorms.

Newcomer James Banton is a regular feature, often mischievously up to no good.

Tordoff is going to continue being himself, which is calm, but never short of a recognisable smile.

“Basketball is taking me to places I might have never experienced otherwise,” he said.

Self-proclaimed as humble — though it can be confirmed as fact — Tordoff finished with a fitting joke after being asked about his Deng Camp photo-shoot: “GQ have been in touch.”

Southampton 2-1 Inter Milan

Southampton came from behind to claim a crucial 2-1 win over Inter Milan at St Mary’s in Europa League Group K.

Mauro Icardi gave Inter a halftime lead when he turned in from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

But Southampton scored twice after the restart, including an own goal from Yuto Nagatomo.

Southampton remains second behind group leaders Sparta Prague, who defeated Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Ever Banega had an early chance for Inter, but the forward was closed down in the box after Icardi picked off a poor pass deep in the Southampton half.

Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez, who replaced Charlie Austin in the starting line up, then curled an effort from the edge of the box over the bar inside 10 minutes.

But against the run of play, Icardi thrashed a left-footed shot past Fraser Forster from a scramble in the box after the ball found the forward standing on the six-yard box to give Inter a 1-0 lead on 34 minutes.

Southampton continued to press for an equaliser to no avail, until Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned a penalty for the hosts when his loose touch struck Ivan Perisic on the arm on the stroke of halftime.

After a melee in the box saw Antonio Candreva brandished a yellow card, Dusan Tadic stepped up only for his spot kick attempt to be saved by Samir Handanovic.

James Ward-Prowse nearly brought the hosts level on the restart, but his dipping volley found hits a dipping volley from distance into the keeper’s grasp.

The young Southampton midfielder then had his strike saved by a diving Handanovic on 50 minutes, who was also first to the rebound to deny a charging Rodriguez.

But Virgil van Dijk found a 64th-minute equaliser when Oriol Romeu’s lofted attempt careened back off the bar and onto the feet of the defender to slot home.

Tadic then had minor redemption for his missed penalty when his cross bounced off of Nagatomo and into the Inter net to give Southampton a 2-1 lead on 70 minutes.

Southampton: Forster, McQueen, van Dijk, Yoshida, Martina, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Davis 77), Redmond, Rodriguez (Austin 59).

Unused subs: Lewis (GK), Bertrand, Fonte, Clasie, Boufal.

Goals: van Dijk (64), Nagatomo (OG 70).

Bookings: Ward-Prowse (90+1).

Internazionale: Handanovic, Nagatomo, Ranocchia, Miranda, D’Ambrosio, Perisic, Gnoukouri (Melo 81), Medel (Eder 74), Candreva (Biabiany 89), Banega, Icardi (c).

Unused subs: Carrizo (GK), Ansaldi, Santon, Murillo.

Goals: Icardi (34).

Bookings: Candreva (45), Medel (52).