Penalties give platform for fine second half
Saints 4, Watford 0
Southampton’s run of successive home wins versus Watford’s unbeaten away record this season: something had to give.
The Hornets gave every early indication that they weren’t going to concede quietly, and it took 20 minutes for Saints to mount a truly fluent move, one that De Ridder seemed to have spoiled with a poor first touch. However, the game continued and the winger was able to get in a decent enough cross towards Lambert, although Eustace and Murfin were in close attendance.
The ball was duly cleared, but not to the satisfaction of the assistant referee who persuaded his senior colleague that there had been a handling offence – possibly a match changing moment. Lambert converted from the spot with more conviction than his last effort, and that opened up the game as far as the home side were concerned, with Lallana almost taking advantage with a first time shot that clattered the crossbar.
The last time Watford visited St. Mary’s, they emerged with a clean sheet despite conceding two penalties. They were pushing their luck by transgressing in the box again when Mariappa hauled down Lambert although Richardson’s cross was maybe a bit too deep. 2-0 once Lambert had dusted himself down in the autumn sunshine to send Gilmartin the wrong way this time, and although there was a long time to go, Southampton were now coasting.
A third goal gave additional insurance and it was added by Do Prado with an accurate finish, courtesy of a defence that gave him ample time to pick his spot. Chaplow is becoming an unlikely impact sub against defences who aren’t keen on having players run at them late in a game, and he nearly added the fourth with a spectacular effort that came back off the post.
No matter: another substitute (Holmes) ensured Saints finished the game in style with a low shot that seemed to take at least one deflection before rolling under Gilmartin’s dive.
LSSC Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert. OK, both his goals were penalties, but he was the one who earned them (as well as converting them; something that hasn’t always happened against Watford).
08 Cork (Schneiderlin 73)
20 Lallana (Holmes 86)
33 De Ridder (Chaplow 64)