This post was most recently updated on November 15th, 2018
Watford snatched a late qualiser at St. Mary’s on a rainy saturday afternoon in Hampshire. Simon Hooper was the match official, a rookie with onlyÂ three Premier League games under his belt, the fourth was to be challenging.
Watford had the early chances but Southampton gave as good as they got and took the lead in the 20th minute, Lemina outjumping Marriapa and glancing on Bertrand’s corner which Watford’s Kiko Femenia failed to clear, the ball spilling to Roberto Pereyra.Â The Argentine’s poor touch allowed Danny Ings to rob him and feed Gabbiadini who duly put the Saints into the lead. The joy that relief brings was paplable, belief that maybe a first win at St. Mary’s in six starts was on the cards. Nobody was really complaining at the refereeing at that point.
After 40 minutes Jave Gracia brought on Watford’s talisman Troy Deeney for Will HughesÂ with Mark Hughes following suit with Charlie Austin for Ings. Hooper’s decline began in the 57th minute when Southampton’s left back Ryan Bertrand scythed down Nathaniel ChalobahÂ in the penalty area. Inexplicably Hooper did not consider it an offence. Look at the photo and decide yourself. At this point Bertrand was aready on a yellow so if Hooper had deemed it a punishable offence Bertrand would surely have been shown red and Watford given a penalty. Charlie Austin was not amongst those remonstrating with the man in black.
Then just six minutes later substitute Austin had what appeared to be a perfectly good goal disallowed.
After good work by Nathan Redmond on the right, drifting between Holebas and Pereyra, he cut the ball across to Austin who rifled a shot past Yoshida andÂ the outstretched hands of Foster. Austin wheeled away in celebration and after what seemed an age Hooper tapped on his earpiece and blew for offside. Now almost everyone seems to think the offside was given because an official thought Yoshida had touched the ball in an offside position but in my opinion it was given offside because Yoshida was interfering with play. Ben Foster seemed to hesitate diving, anticipating a header from Yoshida who leant beackwards to avoid the ball. When Foster finally dived it was too late. It was a correct decision in my book.
In the 82nd minute Watford got the goal they deserved.
Deeney picked the ball up just outside Southampton’s penalty area on the right, holding off Hoedt and Hodjberg, squeezed the ball to Gray on the edge of the six yard box who pulled it back for Doucoure. Docoure’s touch wasn’t the best and the ball fell to Ward-Prowse who tried to blast it away but the ball struck Deulofeu and ricocheted to Holebas who took one touch before lashing the ball into the net aided by a deflection off of the back of Soares’ calf.
The last eight minutes were mostly Watford’s with a Holebas corner scrambled away by Yoshida and McCarthy onto the upright.Â Although Southampton felt hard done by the match statistics speak for themselves. Watford hadÂ 57% posession and six shots on target to Southampton’s four.
The afternoon was topped off with the post match interview with Charlie Austin.