Southampton striker James Beattie got the cheers and former Southampton boss Glenn Hoddle and ex-Saints defender Dean Richards the jeers as Southampton snatched a 1-0 win over Tottenham at St Marys.
The burly striker notched his 13th Premiership strike of a superlative season nine minutes from time to send Southampton surging clear of Tottenham in the league table and send Saints fans home dreaming of a European place come May.
The way they are amassing the results at their home fortress of St Mary's that has to be a realistic proposition.
"We have a nice glow about us," is how manager Gordon Strachan described his team's inexorable rise since they moved into their new stadium.
It is no wonder. They remain unbeaten at home this season and boast the impressive record of having lost just two matches at St Mary's in the whole of 2002. But this was a special result on the south coast - part one of a grudge match which sees the two sides clash again in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
It was fitting that it was won by a special goal - Beattie slaloming his way through the Tottenham defence and leaving former team-mate Richards on his backside in his wake before smashing that lucky 13th goal past goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
It takes Southampton three points ahead of Spurs in the league and strikes a psychological blow for their cup meeting on the same ground at the weekend. It is also another nudge in England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's direction to look at Beattie for his squad to face Australia next month.
Richards, the former Southampton defender who Glenn Hoddle took with him to White Hart Lane, returned from an Achilles injury - and Teddy Sheringham was also back after injury.
Sheringham it was who should have given Tottenham the lead within two minutes, full-back Stephen Carr swinging in a perfectly flighted free-kick from out on the right directly on to the head of the unmarked former England striker on the edge of the six-yard box.
It was the sort of chance Sheringham has been burying for the best part of 15 years in top-flight football, but this time he could only glance his header past Southampton goalkeeper Antti Niemi yet wide of the far post.
It set the tone for a lacklustre first half when much of the play was confined in the space between both penalty areas, with little goalmouth incident.
There was occasional work for Keller, notably when Paul Telfer unleashed a thunderous angled right-foot shot from 20 yards which the goalkeeper was happy to palm away at the foot of his near post.
Tottenham gradually found their rhythm, and their football was increasingly tidy and creative in typical Hoddle mode - without being overly penetrative.
The best chances were falling to Robbie Keane, and he should have done better after 32 minutes when he latched on to a weak backpass by Fabrice Fernandes but fluffed his attempt to lift the ball over Niemi.
Indeed Keane was pivotal to practically all of Spurs' good work.
He might well have given Tottenham the lead within a minute of the restart, pouncing on a through ball and hitting a crisp shot which Niemi blocked with his legs.
Southampton responded with a stinging long-range drive from Rory Delap which might have given Keller more problems if it had not been directed straight at his midriff.
At least the tempo had improved after the tepid first half, and it was Tottenham who were looking most dangerous. Good work again by Keane forced a corner in the 53rd minute, and when Carr swept over the cross it glanced off the head of big Tottenham defender Ledley King - and Niemi was happy to see it flash inches past his far post.
In the 59th minute Keane's enterprise yet again threatened to provide the opening goal.
This time he ran on to a long punt out of defence and seemed to have outstripped Michael Svensson before turning inside to send a left-foot shot past the far post.
A minute later Beattie also squandered a good chance, weaving across the penalty area before sending an 18-yard shot inches above the Tottenham bar. The chances were coming thick and fast as both teams scented victory and a surge up the table.
Only a desperate one-armed lunge from Niemi saved Southampton after an hour when Steffen Iversen headed down from close range.
Then it was Sheringham who should have provided the finish after brilliant work by Keane had put him one-on-one with Niemi. Sheringham, however, could only fire tamely at the goalkeeper's legs.
In an attempt at a final push for all three points in the 69th minute Hoddle threw on Gus Poyet and Darren Anderton for Goran Bunjevcevic and Mauricio Taricco.
But it was the surge of Beattie which was to have the final say - a solo run of spectacular proportions following a superb through ball from Fernandes.
Gordon Strachan saluted prolific striker James Beattie tonight after his 13th
goal of the season gave Southampton a precious 1-0 triumph against Tottenham in
the first part of their double-header.
The victory saw Southampton surge past Tottenham in pursuit of a European
place and gives the south-coast club the psychological advantage when the two
teams clash again in the third round of the FA Cup at St Mary's on Saturday.
'The goal summed up everything about James in terms of determination and
power,' said Strachan after witnessing Beattie produce a typically bustling,
weaving run across the penalty area nine minutes from time before slotting a
precise left-foot shot past Spurs goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
'I also thought he showed a wee bit of composure. I thought he was going to
hit it straightaway and he fooled everybody. To do that at that stage of the
game said everything about him.
'It was so important to get that first goal. It was the sort of toe-to-toe
slugging game which suited his style.
'The lads have done fantastic. We do not have the bodies here to be able to
chop and change and maybe that is a blessing in disguise.'
Strachan does not expect to be making use of the transfer window, accepting
that it would cost the club too much in the present economic climate to bring
better players in.
The way Southampton are playing there is precious little need of new blood,
especially with the likes of Fabrice Fernandes providing the inspiration from
midfield and Finnish goalkeeper Antti Niemi in superb form.
Niemi produced a string of saves from Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Keane and it
was Fernandes who produced the telling through-ball which conjured up the goal
for Beattie amid a frantic finish.
The result, however, left Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle cursing his fortune on his
return to Southampton as he was booed throughout along with defender Dean
Richards, the man he lured from St Mary's to White Hart Lane.
'It was very frustrating,' said Hoddle, who admitted the game's complexion
would have been radically altered if Sheringham had scored with a glancing
header in the opening minutes.
'In the last two games we should have had four points and we've got nothing.
We've played well enough to have won them both.
'I thought we were the better team today but we were finished by a clinical
'Southampton put you under pressure and we are going to have to become
clinical ourselves if we are going to finish off teams. We're getting into lots
of good positions and making good opportunities but things are not going our
way. We have got to believe in ourselves. If we keep playing like that we will
win football matches.'