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Southampton 1 v 1 Watford
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 10th November 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Saints V Watford The Verdict
Sunday, 11th Nov 2018 11:15

Saints were robbed of a much needed win by inept refereeing after a lot of hard work was destroyed by a late offside flag that was wrong.

The headlines should have been all about Saints finally winning at St Mary's but due to the refereeing of Simon Hooper it was all about the ref not a superb winning goal by Charlie Austin.

Hooper was poor all afternoon before the disallowed goal, he constantly was in the wrong decisions and got in the way of play, a football fan can go years without seeing a referee hit by the ball in a match, Hooper was hit twice at St Mary's and this perhaps tells you a little bit about the way he handled the game, he was out of his depth, he also booked three Saints players for fairly innocuous tackles and Watford had cause to question his ability when he denied them what looked and turned out to be on replays a stonewall penalty.

But two wrongs don't make a right as Saints fans found out when after a great run and pass by Nathan Redmond, Charlie Austin swept the ball home to make it 2-0, only it turned out he didn't, initially the flag didn't go up, indeed Austin, not known for his pace was over by the Saints bench being mobbed by his team mates before the goal was disallowed.

Replays showed that yes Yoshida was stood in an offside position but he was not affecting play nor in the sightlines of the keeper, the linesman would have been right to bring the fact that Yoshida was offside to the referee's attention as he could not tell whether he was impeding the keeper or not, but it was the referee who then had to make the call and he called wrongly.

This would have put us two goals up surely on our way to victory at this stage, but instead it then became the usual story of a lapse in concentration and an equaliser that took a big deflection to wrong foot Alex McCarthy.

Indeed Hooper also played his part in this goal, pulling up James Ward Prowse for a foul on the edge of the Watford penalty box for no apparent reason and the visitors took the free kick quickly and went straight up and scored.

This completely burst the bubble, up to then the crowd was starting to believe we could win the game, the players were looking more confident and strong, but the crowd went flat, the team went flat and in the end I was glad to hear the final whistle.

The big question now though is whether Mark Hughes will still be in charge in a fortnight when Saints return after the International break in a game that will see them definitely in the bottom three should they lose.

Those supporting Hughes will point to the fact that although we haven't won we have drawn three out of the last four and in that fourth game it was against Manchester City away, possibly the toughest game in European Football at present let alone the Premier League.

They will point to three decent performances that could easily have been another four points on the board, points that would have seen us in 13th place, they would also point out that Bournemouth and Watford are 6th and 7th, the best of the rest so to speak and no push overs.

But on the other hand we now sit 1 place above the bottom 3, yes Saints did seem to have something yesterday that they had been lacking, but that still wasn't enough, was this more about the players own pride kicking in than Hughes tactics.

Certainly although Hughes changed things his selections were puzzling, even on the bench why on earth did we again have two central defenders, surely that is not needed, Hughes had bigged up Olafemi in the days leading to the game, surely when Watford equalised in the 82nd minute that was the time to bring him on to up the tempo and give the team and crowd a lift, but Hughes did nothing, he sat back and watched not bringing the youngster on till the 90th minute just as 4 minutes of injury time was being announced.

This perhaps tells the story of the season, we are not a bad side but we play without the tempo of the likes of Bournemouth and Watford, they are no better than us, but they up that tempo when they need to, we don't and some of that has to be down to the manager.

I was hoping that the departures in the back room at St Mary's this week would show that the board has it's finger on the pulse, I was hoping that no other departures would be needed, that this would give the team impetus, give the fans hope and that Mark Hughes would step up to the plate, sadly I don't think he did.

We have a team without leadership that has to come from the manager, there has been scant evidence of that this season, if we do the same things we will get the same results, perhaps one more change is needed.

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SanMarco added 11:57 - Nov 11
"...three decent performances that could easily have been another four points on the board, points that would have seen us in 13th place". Yes - taken in isolation that might be true but this has been going on for over two years now. We had less quality than a very average Watford side is the more aposite point.

MH is flailing around like he is already on the tumbril heading for the guillotine. JWP came on again to (presumably) strengthen the midfield while we were winning and yet again had a hand in the equaliser.

Finally the ref. Yes, he was useless but of his two major match/result changing errors the penalty came first. The likely result of a correct decison was 1-1 with 10 men and still 35 mins to got. We weren't unlucky yesterday, we played as well as we could but Les's legacy is a lack of quality. I have got used to that now and it seems the club themselves have finally cottoned on too. Kruger's dire interview where he seemed to say we will not be strengthening in January does not however bode well.

If MH is still with us in a fortnight he wont be long after a failure to win at Craven Cottage...

underweststand added 12:11 - Nov 11
Agree with much of your comment (San Marco) ..but I am a little tired of people assuming that a penalty appeal, can be "automatically" considered as a goal they ought to have had.
(Neverthe less, Bertrand was lucky not to get a second yellow card for the challenge.)
I seen a good many penalties badly missed, and others well-saved by the keeper.

aceofthebase added 12:29 - Nov 11
Time to praise Yoshida for a good input, not only in defence but bolstering the attack. A pity he was incorrectly judged to have contributed to Austins fine goal.
Come on Nick give the man a tick!

Aussiejosh86 added 12:32 - Nov 11
Mark hughes has failed all season. We should have 4 or 5 wins and then the backroom sacking would not have beenn needed. Instead he has only won 1 game. If he cant get this team to beat bournmouth, brighton, watford, burnley, wolves and newcastle who is he going to beat?? I dont even think he can beat fulham as they can score goals quickly and our defence has been shaky to say the least. He needs to be sacked or mutual termination today and we jeed to sign a manager like Roger schmidt, brendan rogers, ralf hassenhuttl, marcelo bielsa, roberto martinez, leonardo Jardim managers like these guys who can beat teams just with tactics and can make tactically changes on the fly and the team respond. A manger that can really coach and improve the players. We have good players they just dont have a system to play, they dont seem to know their individual roles, they dont seem to know what yactics their playing it just seems highes is hoping for a player to produce some magic to win a game. He has to go. Even if you need to get a bank loan to pay out the compensation cause you will lose more money when you get relegated at end of the season. He has a worst record then pellegrino and we know how that turned out. Sack him now.otherwise we could be in league one in 2 seasons cause majority of this team will not want to play in the championship

REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 13:22 - Nov 11
I think the ref knew he'd made a big mistake not giving Watford a penalty and showing Bertrand a 2nd yellow. He bottled that decision, so when there was some doubt about Austin's goal he was happy to rule it out to even things up.
If it had gone 1 all with us down to 10 men I doubt we would've got a point.

As for Hughes having 2 centre backs on the bench, you can only assume they're there to make sure he can change to 3 CB's at the back to sure things up and see out the game. So then it begs the question why didn't he do that with 15 or 20 minutes to go?

HythePeer added 13:25 - Nov 11
Defenders lingering in offside positions. Defenders turning their backs on a shot and back-heeling it into the net. How much do they get paid?!

Whiteknight added 13:25 - Nov 11
Nick, a fair assessment overall. Another winnable game with a decent performance that went begging. I think we are no worse than most teams in the league - however, we are also no better so it's a scrap.

My concerns at the moment are:

1) Tactics seem all wrong. What happens during the week - it's like the players have never played with each other before. This is down to Hughes;
2) Substitutions seem all wrong - why bring on Obafemi so late? Why name 2 centre backs on the bench? etc. Hughes again;
3) Team fitness is not there - this would help with tempo etc. but most importantly with mental strength - Hughes again;
4) No leadership on the pitch - again I feel that Hughes needs to chance the captaincy to either Hjobjerg or Yoshida;
5) Premiership refereeing is terrible - I'm not saying the result would have been different but Hooper was appalling - this on isn't Hughes' fault!

I think Hughes needs to go now - he's not right for Saints. There is a list of decent managers who we could turn to right now - let's do it sooner rather than later.

ItchenNorth added 13:25 - Nov 11
We played well and should have won, but for inept officials costing us this one. I agree with the point above that a penalty does not automatically equal a goal, but in Austins case, it was a legitimate goal, no question.
I liked the formation and the selection. Although Armstrong didn't have his best game, he adds far more balance to the midfield (I don't think for example Lemina and Romeu has ever worked well in the midfield etc.).
Also, we FINALLY played Gabbi in his best position, which is wide, and look what we got! I thought Gabbi and Lemina were the stand out players yesterday.
We must now turn these draws into wins though.

highfield49 added 13:54 - Nov 11
Not too many months ago Doucoure's handball goal for Watford cost us three points and now a bad refereeing decision again denies us a potential winner. In the interim we've conceded from free kicks taken in the wrong place and opposition players not being red carded for serious fouls. I'm sure other teams have suffered equal injustices over the year but it hurts more when you're struggling for results. I suspect Hughes will still be in charge when we play Fulham but for the wrong reasons. Not because he is the right man to turn performances around but because fingers can be pointed at poor decisions from match officials that give him some unwarranted excuse for failure.

halftimeorange added 14:29 - Nov 11
Several Saints players put in decent shifts yesterday but you can't overlook the fact that we gave the ball away time and time again with loose passing turning promising attacks into nail-biting defence. I thought that Armstrong was weak, drifting out of the game too often and Hojbjerg, stand-out so far this season, was not on his game. Although Lemina played well, the weakness in midfield allowed Watford players to pick up the ball totally unmarked. The substitutions finally convinced me that MH has had his time. JWP gives us nothing and Obafemi showed a turn of speed that should have made his entry a must much earlier. I simply cannot understand why a multi-million £ sport is reduced to having totally inept officialling - I can't think of another where a person out of their depth can openly affect a result which can affect league standings so dramatically and damningly.

skiptonsaint added 14:33 - Nov 11
A slightly better performance and it looks like the players are playing for Hughes

But when you look at the next 4 home games with both Manchester clubs and Arsenal in there then probably the best we can hope for after 10 home games is 1 win. Where are the wins going to come from ? No ones adrift at the bottom especially if we lose at Fulham

So while we can moan about our luck or say there are slight improvements, Is it going to be enough to keep us up this year especially if we are not going to in January and are rivals are.

Let’s hope Ings injury isn’t serious because if Austin gets banned and Longs out then we go to Fulham with a wafer thing attack imo but maybe being fored to try the youngsters might be what we need.

PopeyeTheSailor added 14:36 - Nov 11
MH said last week that Obafemi has blistering pace.Why could he not be given the opportunity when Danny Ings got injured.We were leading at the time.Also what has happened to Sam Gallagher who was not sent out on lone because he will be required here this season.Two centre backs on the bench at home is a negative move.

the_saint added 15:09 - Nov 11
When he took Armstrong off possibly because he was knackered ( March fitness) he should have had a better option on the bench ie Romeu or target not two centre backs. So he brings on jwp not a great defending player I’m no manager but I would have put Stephens their or even put Stephens at right back and pushed the midget (soeres) to right mid that in my opinion is protecting a 1-0 lead .

the_saint added 15:18 - Nov 11
We have the best league in the world but crap refs ,You have all these foreign players in our league so why can we not employ the best referees in the world with all the money in the premier put some money aside for that

allsaint54 added 15:49 - Nov 11
The game was lost as soon as JWP came on after 72 min. Why oh why does MH persevere with him, is it any coincidence we concede so many goals in the last 10 min.

underweststand added 17:33 - Nov 11
To Popeye the sailor....
1.Sam Gallagher has a serious injury problem and likely out for a couple of months.

2. This was a very physical game and Obafemi got a really bad tackle -in the last few moments (went unpunished /unseen by the ref.) so I think having him on for even 45 mins. might have been a bit too much of a challenge for an 18 yer old whose only played youth football.

Number_58 added 17:52 - Nov 11
Baffled how anyone can say that Austin's goal would have definitely sealed the win. Did I dream the Brighton home game? We look totally rudderless as soon as we concede a late goal and in the last five minutes yesterday there was only one team who were likely to win that game. Interestingly, when we had a free kick in the Watford half very near to full time Watford kept at least three players up near the half way line, whereas we would have had everyone back in our own area hanging on for dear life. We're weak all over the pitch.

SaintBrock added 18:40 - Nov 11
Top marks for Charlie Austin for his candid interview. The only possible reason he can be sanctioned by the PL or FA is because of their own embarrassment that somebody in the game has had the guts to call it as it is.

It's worth noting too that this novice referee was not put in charge off one of Sunday's BIG GAMES, it just would not do to have such schoolboy errors in the spotlight of this "best league in the world".

I agree with others that Gabbi was MotM by a mile (so guaranteed not to be even on the bench at Fulham) and Lemina played very well but was a bit spasmodic. We'll need to ask Hughes what question he had in mind if the answer was Ward Prowse. Who the hell in the Club is covering this lad's backside, we all thought Reed but he's toast so there must be another hiding in there.

The good news is we are still very much on target to be 20th at Christmas.

DorsetIan added 19:44 - Nov 11
The ruled out goal was a massive kick in the nuts but we were generally very very poor yesterday. Not in terms of passion but just in terms of footballing skill and savvy. It’s at times like this that you need a manager who can get the most out of each player, provide some tactical nouse, and help the team fulfill its full potential. Very clearly, we don’t have a manager like that at the moment. And why should we, this a manager whose recent history is all about getting things wrong. It’s very much the blind leading the blind.

One home win under Hughes - however you spin it, it’s a complete joke and how he is still in a job is beyond me.

Consigliere added 20:31 - Nov 11
Who would be Maya Yoshida? He finally gets played by Hughes, has a pretty decent game including (by my reckoning) at least as many shots on target as our strikers, is unfairly and wrongly deemed to have caused a perfectly good goal to be disallowed - and then he is the man sent out to do the interviews to explain away a draw that ought to have been a win! The loyalty of the man is inspiring. Meanwhile, the ability of the manager to inspire and motivate his players is beginning to really grate. He hasn't got them fit, nor has be built their confidence in their ability and he makes strange team choices and bizarre substitutions. What is Obafemi supposed to do in the last minute or so of the game? As I've said before, he wasn't my choice in the first place but he kept us up so deserved the chance to stay, but his time is running out very fast now. If things haven't improved within the next month then he will need to go.

saintjf added 21:57 - Nov 11
We are above the relegation zone on goal difference. Are there really 3 worse teams than Saints at the moment? It really looks ominous to me. Lets not boo Hoedt by the way. That is not going to help.

SanMarco added 00:20 - Nov 12
I think penalty success rates are about 70% overall. Of course they might have missed but we would have been down to 10 for 35 mins so a draw would have probably have been a good result even after a miss. Whatever happened with the penalty the later incident would simply not have happened. Of course we may have won 2-1 if the pen had been given. All I was trying to say was the first major error, the one in our favour, came first.

StRipper added 01:37 - Nov 12
Our pass rate was just 68% yesterday on just over 40% possession. Along with about 100 less passes than Watford, who had a better pass success rate.
That's a truly bad preformance by Saints.
By the way, Hjobjerg's success rate das 81%, so he das one of our better players, not one of our worst.

I have no idea why, when we were up and playing well that Hughes brought on Austin (aside from his disallowed goal and great media preformance). It immediately threw away our attacking threat and ability to break.

Hughes should definitely be gone, but no way that's going to happen until a new Director of Football is appointed to select Hughes replacement. There's no obvious caretaker bar Jaidi and that works cause too much disruption to the youth set up.
Let's hope we scrabble a few draws and not all defeats in Hughes remaining games in charge to at least give us a chance when the new man comes in.

davidargyll added 07:36 - Nov 12
I agree with lots of this. No question, on that performance and the result, it has to be Night Night sparky ... and very very soon. On the Ugly TV podcast a win and/or a decent performance was the least that would enable him to keep his job. ‘Nuff said...
My pennyworth today is that decent, fit, confident, well-led and well-managed teams pick themselves up when a decision goes against them and get on with it it. Clearly we are none of those things. As Nick said, after the disallowed goal, the bubble burst and the game and the crowd went flat. The sort of manager we need and hopefully will get will be someone who can put his arm round every single player, tell them what to do, how to do it and restore their confidence so that we are able to get over such situations as and when they will surely happen again.
Let’s just hope Krueger’s comment about being fully supportive of MH is the fateful sign that he’ll be off in the wink of an eye...

Boris1977 added 14:25 - Nov 12
No additional comments from the above but yoshi looks like a Lego man in this articles picture. In these dark times it's good to have a genuine saints legend in the lineup. Can't help but think that if we get out of this mess Yoshi, and Gabbi, will play a major part in the team for the remainder of the season. Fitness, which Yoshi seems to have despite not playing much, and a settled 11, which saints have not had is key.

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