Leeds 1-1 Southampton: James Ward-Prowse scores another trademark free-kick in Elland Road draw

Leeds 1-1 Southampton: James Ward-Prowse reaffirms his case for England selection at the World Cup after scoring another trademark free-kick… with the midfielder canceling out Jack Harrison’s opener in the game draw from Elland Road

  • 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 equalized shortly after half-time with a free kick from 25 yards out
  • Leeds are unbeaten in three games after losing Jesse Marsch’s first two in charge

Not a bad day for an England midfielder to reaffirm his case. To provide a timely reminder of why they deserve a place on this plane this winter.

There were just under 25 minutes left when Elland Road rose to greet Kalvin Phillips. To serenade their Yorkshire Pirlo on his return after four months out with a hamstring problem.

How Leeds missed it, how Gareth Southgate could do with his intelligence and industry in Qatar. How cruel, then, that Phillips was kicked out of the spotlight here by a Three Lions teammate.

Jack Harrison opened the scoring after Fraser Forster tipped Raphinha’s cross into his path

James Ward-Prowse equalized for Southampton with a 25-yard free-kick just after half-time

James Ward-Prowse equalized for Southampton with a 25-yard free-kick just after half-time

MATCH DATA AND PLAYER RATINGS

London (4-2-3-1): Messier 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)

Unused subtitles: Klaesson, Koch, Phillips, Cresswell, Summerville, Greenwood, Kenneh

Goal: Harrison 29

Yellow: Ayling

Red: Any

Director: 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)

Unused subtitles: Caballero, Stephens, Long, Perraud, A Armstrong, Smallbone, Tella, Valery

Goal: Ward-Prowse 49

Yellow: Elyounoussi

Red: Any

Director: Ralph Hasenhüttl 6.5

Presence: 36,580

Arbitrator: Anthony Taylor 6.5

Now only David Beckham (18) has scored more free-kicks in the Premier League than James Ward-Prowse.

His 13th, curled brilliantly towards the top corner shortly after half-time, saved a point for Southampton here. And, for a brief moment, it was his name that resounded in these parts.

Ward-Prowse had to watch from home as Phillips helped bring England to the brink of glory last summer.

Here he provided further proof of those qualities that no other England midfielder possesses.

His performance was outstanding all day. His free-kick canceled out Jack Harrison’s opener as Leeds cruised to safety with a third straight win. Instead, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints snapped a four-game losing streak.

There was no belated heroism from Jesse Marsch’s side this time around. But they’re getting a little further away from the drop zone. After other results, the gap is now eight points.

Phillips was left on the bench again, but captain Liam Cooper has returned from the start to a defense that has scored 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 first corner of the game, just two and a half minutes, Diego Llorente sent a free header bouncing wide. He had to do better.

On the other side, Mohamed Elyounoussi made a mistake too soon after, shooting straight at Illan Meslier from inside the box. Thankfully, in a frenetic first half, neither side struggled to find opportunities to redeem themselves.

A point for Southampton ended a three-game losing streak for Ralph Hasenhuttl's side

A point for Southampton ended a three-game losing streak for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side

For Leeds, Dan James’ pace was a constant weapon. Too bad the striker too often struggled to translate the space into something more. James forced Fraser Forster into a smart save and the Saints keeper was beaten shortly after when Raphina’s low corner hit the post and sparked mayhem. Harrison returned 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 wreaked havoc – again, there was a healthy dose of good fortune. After the ball ricocheted off Kyle Walker-Peters and then Raphinha, the Leeds winger chased it towards the boundary line.

Just in time, he hung a cross. Forster could only throw the ball the way Harrison, who pushed it home. The Saints were furious. Moments earlier, Cooper appeared to bring down Armando Broja as the striker tried to pull away from the halfway mark. Nothing wrong with that – or Raphina’s cross – according to officials.

Leeds are now unbeaten in three games after losing their first two under Jesse Marsch

Leeds are now unbeaten in three games after losing their first two under Jesse Marsch

The visitors’ mood hardly improved five minutes later when Che Adams brilliantly spun inside the box, sat Mateusz Klich to his behind and deflected a shot to the bottom corner. Somehow Meslier stretched to reach him and Leeds scrambled the ball.

Alas, the Saints kept coming and within minutes of the second half they were level. Who else? Ward-Prowse brilliantly hit the free kick. Meslier might think he should have done more, but the ball grazed his fingertips and it could have been worse for Leeds, had Broja not deflected an effort soon after.

In short, Marsch’s side seemed to hang on. To their credit, however, they regained some control and had the best chance of earning it. Raphinha recovered an effort and Stuart Dallas saw a shot beaten by Forster.

Eventually Marsch sent for Phillips and Leeds kept pushing. Three minutes from the end, his substitute teammate Joe Gelhardt fell under a tackle from Ibrahima Diallo inside the box but nothing helped. And so Ward-Prowse had the last word.

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