Leeds 1-1 Southampton: James Ward-Prowse scores another trademark free-kick to cancel out Jack Harrison’s opener in Elland Road draw
- There was nothing to separate Leeds and Southampton in an entertaining draw
- Jack Harrison tapped in from six yards out to open the scoring in the first half
- James Ward-Prowse equalised soon after half-time with a 25-yard free-kick
- Leeds are unbeaten in three games after losing Jesse Marsch’s first two in charge
Not a bad day for an England midfielder to restate their case. To provide a timely reminder of why they deserve a spot on that plane this winter.
There was little under 25 minutes left when Elland Road rose to salute Kalvin Phillips. To serenade their Yorkshire Pirlo on his return after four months out with a hamstring problem.
How Leeds have missed him, how Gareth Southgate could do with his intelligence and industry in Qatar. How cruel, then, that Phillips was barged out of the limelight here by a Three Lions team-mate.
Jack Harrison opened the scoring after Fraser Forster tipped Raphinha’s cross into his path
Leeds (4-2-3-1): Meslier 7; Ayling 7 (Struijk 89), Llorente 6.5, Cooper 6, Dallas 6.5; Klich 6.5 (Phillips 66, 6.5), Forshaw 7; Raphinha 7, Rodrigo 7.5, Harrison 7.5, James 6 (Gelhardt 59, 6.5) Subs not used: Klaesson, Koch, Phillips, Cresswell, Summerville, Greenwood, Kenneh
Goals: Harrison 29
Manager: Jesse Marsch 6.5
Southampton (4-2-2-2): Forster 6.5; Livramento 6.5, Bednarek 6, Salisu 6.5, Walker-Peters 7; Ward-Prowse 7.5, Romeu 6.5 (S Armstrong 64, 6); Diallo 6.5, Elyounoussi 6; Broja 6 (Long 90), Adams 6.5 (Tella, 87) Subs not used: Caballero, Stephens, Long, Perraud, A Armstrong, Smallbone, Tella, Valery
Goals: Ward-Prowse 49
Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 6.5
Referee: Anthony Taylor 6.5
Now, only David Beckham (18) has scored more Premier League free-kicks than James Ward-Prowse.
His 13th, curled brilliantly towards the top corner shortly after half-time, rescued a point for Southampton here. And, for a short while, it was his name that rang out around these parts.
Ward-Prowse had to watch from home as Phillips helped carry England to the brink of glory last summer.
Here he provided yet more proof of those qualities that no other English midfielder possesses.
His delivery was outstanding all day. His free-kick cancelled out Jack Harrison’s first-half opener that had Leeds marching towards safety with a third straight win. Instead Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints halted a run of four successive defeats.
There were no late heroics from Jesse Marsch’s side this time. But they edge a point further away from the drop zone. After other results went their way, the gap now stands at eight points.
Phillips was, again, left on the bench but captain Liam Cooper did return from the start to a defence that has shipped more goals this season than any other.
It was a huge boost for Marsch; Cooper had been out since December with a hamstring injury. And yet it was his central defensive partner who should have made the first telling contribution.
From the game’s opening corner, barely two and a half minutes in, Diego Llorente sent a free header bouncing wide. He had to do better.
At the other end, Mohamed Elyounoussi erred too shortly after, when he shot straight at Illan Meslier from inside the area. Fortunately, in a frenetic first half, neither side struggled for opportunities to make amends.
James Ward-Prowse equalised for Southampton with a 25-yard free-kick just after half-time
A point for Southampton ended a run of three successive defeats for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side
For Leeds, the pace of Dan James was a constant weapon. Just a shame the forward too often struggled to translate space into something more. James did force Fraser Forster into one smart save and the Saints keeper was beaten soon after when Raphina’s low corner hit the post and sparked chaos. Harrison turned the ball home, only for referee Anthony Taylor to punish Rodrigo for a push. Nothing would deny Harrison a few minutes later.
Again it was Raphina who caused havoc – again there was a hefty dollop of good fortune. After the ball ricocheted off Kyle Walker-Peters and then Raphinha, the Leeds winger chased it towards the byline.
Just in time, he hooked in a cross. Forster could only flap the ball into the path of Harrison, who poked it home. Saints were furious. Moments earlier, Cooper appeared to haul down Armando Broja as the striker attempted to race clear from halfway. Nothing wrong with that – or Raphina’s cross – according to to the officials.
Leeds are now unbeaten in three matches after losing their first two under Jesse Marsch
The visitors’ mood hardly improved five minutes later, when Che Adams turned brilliantly inside the area, sat Mateusz Klich on his behind, and skewed a shot towards the bottom corner. Somehow Meslier stretched to reach it and Leeds scrambled the ball clear.
Alas, Saints kept on coming and within a few second-half minutes, they were level. Who else? Ward-Prowse struck the free-kick brilliantly. Meslier might feel he ought to have done more but the ball brushed through his finger tips and it could have been worse for Leeds, had Broja not turned an effort wide shortly after.
Briefly, Marsch’s side seemed to be clinging on. To their credit, though, they wrest back some control and had the better chances to win it. Raphinha scooped an effort over and Stuart Dallas saw a shot beaten out by Forster.
Eventually Marsch sent for Phillips and Leeds kept pushing. Three minutes from time, his fellow substitute Joe Gelhardt fell under a challenge from Ibrahima Diallo inside the area but nothing doing. And so Ward-Prowse had the last word.