Southampton 4 – 0 Watford

Southampton consolidated their early position at the summit of the championship table with a stunning second half performance to sink Watford to their first away defeat of the season. The […]

Southampton consolidated their early position at the summit of the championship table with a stunning second half performance to sink Watford to their first away defeat of the season.

The Saints were looking to make it 16 home wins on the bounce in all competitions, but started poorly as Watford had a trio of good chances in the first 20 minutes to take the lead. First Adrian Mariappa headed a low cross wide from only a few yards out, followed shortly after by a miscued volley by Jonathan Hogg when unmarked on the edge of the box. The ball then again broke to Hogg who shot straight at Kelvin Davis in the Southampton goal. Just a couple of minutes later Joe Garner was put through but his lob was fantastically tipped over the bar by Davis with the whole stadium looking on nervously.

This was the catalyst for Southampton to take control of the game. On 22 minutes the ball was lumped up to the far post, and in preventing Rickie Lambert getting to the ball John Eustace handled. Lambert dusted himself off and stuck the penalty beyond the Watford ‘keepers reach.

From that moment on it was all Southampton, with Watford hardly having a kick. Shortly after the penalty Adam Lallana smashed a ferocious half volley from the edge of the box onto the underside of the bar, which bounced clear. Lambert also had a header which hit the outside of the post. This was a sign of things to come in the second half.

From kick off Soton almost nicked another, Steve De Ridder whipping in a ball which was deflected just past the far post by a Watford defender. For the next 10 minutes Lallana and Richardson, playing at right back, bombarded the Watford box with crosses, with Mirfin and Taylor doing well to head them away, until the 55th minute when Rickie Lambert was dragged to the ground while trying to jump for a far post header. Once again Lambert put away the penalty with aplomb into the corner.

Southampton laid siege to the Watford goal, Lambert almost getting his hat trick as he struck a powerful long range effort which struck the side netting. Forsyth of Watford tested Davis with a low drive but it was well saved. De Ridder then skewed wide when played in on the right hand side of the area. He was then substituted for tenacious midfielder Richard Chaplow.

On 70 minutes Guly Do Prado finished the game off with a smart finish from inside the area after good work from Lallana once again. The Saints carried on pushing forward and almost got another a couple of minutes later as a long ball bounced over the head of Mirfin, and Chaplow volleyed the ball against the post.

Watford won a free kick which was whipped into the Soton box, but was well caught by Davis. The ball was well distributed to Richardson, who after running the whole length of the pitch from the edge of his own box, had a well struck effort turned round the post. On this seasons evidence Richardson could well be the best right back in the division.

The assault was not yet over, and a Barcelona-esqe passing move ended in Chaplow having a prodded finish smothered, to prevent a goal which would have been well up there for goal of the season.

Adam Lallana was substituted with 5 minutes to go after another virtuoso performance, the playmaker earning a standing ovation from all four sides of St Mary’s. Lee Holmes came on for his first league appearance of the season, having battled back from a ruptured left ankle last November. He had a immediate impact, within two minutes cutting in from the right wing and curling a low shot past the helpless keeper.

The whistle finally blew and Watford’s ordeal was over. A fantastic performance by the Saints and a great watch for the neutral; the game could have easily ended 8-2!

Highlights available here: