Saints At Watford The Verdict Wednesday, 24th Apr 2019 10:04
Saints started with Shane Long scoring the fastest ever Premier League goal and finished by conceding what is fast becoming the traditional last minute sickener.
This was one of those games that for Saints have been too prevalent this season, ahead of the game most Saints fans would have been happy with a draw, but at the end they felt sick due to once again conceding a last minute goal robbing us of points.
Shane Long charged down a clearance from a Watford defender and lifted the ball over the keeper to score the fastest ever goal in Premier League history and give Saints a 7.69 seconds lead.
From then on the game settled into a a familiar pattern with plenty of possession but doing little with it as they tippity tapped little passes around the edge of the box, but we dug deep and kept them at bay.
In fact despite being pinned back in our own half for long periods we counterattacked well on the break and could have and should have doubled our lead with both Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand hitting the post in the first half.
As the second wore on Saints got stronger but Ralph Hasenhuttl made the right substitutions and as we headed into the final 10 minutes we looked to be the side that could get the second and goal of the game.
But sadly it would be the same old same old and a sloppy goal conceded in the final minutes, yes there was an element of luck with the ball cannoning off one of their players into the path of Andre Dray who lashed home from close range, but on watching the goal on TV replays it's the familiar picture of a Saints defence at sixes and sevens and not marking their men just at the very time that they need to be doing so, this is the reason why we concede so many last minute goals these days, there is no calming presence at the back to organise and keep the defence focused.
A word about referee Mike Dean who was absolutely shocking from start to finish, yes he was bad for both sides, but he seemed even worse for us even in the final seconds refusing us a free kick as it would have meant sending their player off as he was the last man, he blew up pretty quick after to ensure that yet another poor piece of refereeing didn't get highlighted if Watford went straight up the other end and scored.
If I was a Watford supporter I would be disappointed with the crowd, for a team in the cup final 19,170 is around 2.5k short of capacity, I would suspect that they might take a few more than that to Wembley and a few more who will moan about not getting a ticket.
But a point is a point nearer safety and the other last minute goal, that one at Tottenham meant we creeper a point further ahead of Brighton, the job is nearly done, hopefully we can finish it against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Half a loaf is better than none I suppose although disappointing none the less. We've conceded twenty five points from winning positions this season, more than any other team in the league.
The bookies think we are safe from relegstion with most of them not even bothering to offer odds.They consider it to be a two horse race between Cardiff and Brighton who at 4/1 look a decent bet given that they can't buy a goal at the moment and have to play both Arsenal and Man City.
It is a bit bizarre why so many people seem so obsessed with our supposedly terrible defence. Every goal conceded gets dissected in microscopic detail until fault can be apportioned (usually to Yoshida and/or Stephens). Not sure why the same sort of analysis never seems to be applied when strikers miss an easy chance - surely that has as much bearing on the result of a game. From what I gather, Saints could and should've been home and dry by half time last night. Maybe Nick has a restricted view and only sees our half of the pitch. Also, does anyone know where all these world class central defenders are coming from in the summer transfer window?
We are in the lowly position we are in because we concede too many goals. We concede goals because our central defence is rubbish and has been for a couple of seasons. If we want to do better next season we need new centre backs. Had we not conceded last night we would have won.
I don't believe that. We are probably 2 players short of being a functional team but no more than that. We lack an identity and any sort of consistency. RH is doing what he can to scrap our way to survival but to say we can go from this to top ten with 2 players is unrealistic.
Agree with comments above. Focus is on the defence as conceding goals is highlighted all the more when you don't score many. If we stay up this season we will make history as the first team not to get relegated despite not having a fit striker in the squad.
Psychologically, Watford like any opposition who plays Saints, never feel beaten with our one goal leads. We have to kill off the matches by scoring more than the single goal per match and then having to soak up the pressure before the inevitable equaliser. We can acquire a world class defence but if we don't start scoring far more goals in matches then we will still be a struggling relegation threatened club, but with a good defensive record.
Number_58, it’s a bit rich for you to criticise Nick’s report and accuse him of only seeing half the pitch. You have admitted yourself that you weren’t even at the game, so you have no grounds to make a comment on the report.
Nick is at every game and has been writing saints content and match reports for as long as I can remember. What do you do for the club? You don’t even show up when it matters. There’s plenty of 600 words ‘articles’ written about Matt Le Tissier tweets, so why don’t you waste your time on those instead.
It was a thrilling game of football that Saints should have put to bed in the first half, however Watford are a solid team and play well. Shane Long was superb and what a pleasure to get the premierships fastest ever goal. Enjoy the games all! we are not going down, so rather than moan about the defense, sit back and enjoy!
Last year we scored 2 up there, that would have sufficed last night. If you want to win away from home you usually need more than one goal unless you play negative tactics and don't attack, hoping to get a goal on the break.. Had we have got a second and they scored in the last min, nobody would be talking about the last min goal which proves the failed attempts to score are as pivotal as the failed attempts to defend, which was once last night. If you keep believing our defence is poor then they will perform poorly, nocebo effect. Wake up and talk about the positives, the moments there were good tackles by Yoshi, Jan and Jack because I saw some of that. We limited a good team to one lucky goal in the last minute and I think the defence did well over the whole game... Another night we would have won 2 or 3-1.. Bodes well for next year! Cheers
Agree with those defending the defenders. If we had proper strikers, and consistently scored 2 or more goals a game, we would be bragging about our defenders and how teams only score 1 maybe 2 goals per game on us and that's why we were so high up the table.
In that last 15 minutes our attackers were utterly useless. The defenders did their job as best they could but the inability of Redmond, Ward Drowse & Sims to hold the ball up for even a minute or two meant that the back line was under constant bombardment with no relief. Their goal was only a matter of time. The removal of Long was yet another tactical error on the part of Hutch, he is making quite a few bad calls as we go along.
I don't get the constant quarrels about whether the defence or the attack is the main culprit for dropped points. Of course, the answer is both. The stats show we let in too many and don't score enough. Of course if we'd been 2 up the last minute goal wouldn't have mattered. Both of these areas need strengthening but the priority has to be at the back because of the sheer lack of quality. One good signing would solve our problems up front - it is more like 3 or 4 at the back.
I didn't see the game but would agree with the sentiment that we'd have taken a point before kick-off so now I am over the disappointment I feel it is a point gained and at worst we only now have to do as well home to Huddersfield as Cardiff do at Manure - and I very much doubt it will get to that.
SaintBrock - Long being subbed wasn't tactical - he got injured by that number 27 when he was brought down just outside the box. Perhaps RH should have gone like for like and put Ings on, but perhaps he also had an eye on Saturday and didn't want to risk another striker in case he too got injured.
That aside, had we conceded in the first half or midway through the second half, there wouldn't be such uproar. It is just that we are usually the ones to concede late goals , rather than score them. Conceding so late makes it feel like a loss.
We had less possession but were far more effective with it and created the best chances - and could have easily been 2 or 3 up at the break.
The ref was awful as well and could and should have really sent that number 27 off with his push on Redmond when clean through, but even their linesman didn't flag for a 2 handed push on Long by their same player, when literally stood 10 yards away.
1-1 was a commonly predicted result that most would have been happy with before the start. But yes it should have been a win and yes we do owe them, but what with hand ball goals, disallowed goals and poor decisions in general, Watford are fast becoming a bogey side for us.
Bringing Valery on when Long got injured was a perfectly sensible move as it allowed JWP to go back to midfield. The problem was the tactics. Even when Long was still on the pitch, we were bringing 11 back for Watford corners. If we left one man up that would force Watford to drop someone back as well as giving us an outlet. Instead we retreated further and further which just invites pressure. I cannot believe RH achieved success with his previous clubs playing this way.
Still, if we match Cardiff’s result on Saturday then it’s job done with two to play. We’d have settled for that at the turn of the year wouldn’t we?
10 draws so far- we are the highest in the division. If we had converted only 3 of those draws into wins, we would have had 43 points, not good, but we would have been safe a couple of weeks ago. Look at the gap between Everton/Watford/Wolves and Man U, and then compare it to the gap between them and Cardiff. Almost every team other than the top 6 are within the group where if the luck goes with you, then you are safe and if it doesn’t, then you will struggle.
I thought it was quite a good game and Saints really dug in and fought for the cause. We deserved to win that match, but scoring only one goal (however FANTASTIC that was) is rarely enough when You don´t have a well-oiled-top-of-the-drawer-defence. I´m proud to support the team that not only scored the fastest ever hattrick but also has now scored the fastest ever PL goal. Well done Saints & Shane Long.
SaintNewYork: I'm really not that bothered if you don't agree with my opinions - but the 'what do you do for the club' comment is downright insulting and disrespectful. And since you ask, I watched my first league game in 1974 and I've barely missed a home game ever since, and I reckon I've seen Saints play at around 70 grounds around the country. How about you? That aside, my comments were about the regular criticism of our defenders when the deficiencies of our goalscorers are constantly overlooked. Probably a bit difficult for you to understand.
Thanks for the comparison; It´s pretty obvious. Every team outside the top 6 can end up struggling to stay in the league, I agree. But think of all the games, where we oulselves (by poor defending), or lack of luck, or the ref., or the universe cost us the margins and points, this season. It´s more than 10 points! We would be fighting for 7.th place, if we had not lost those points.
Suppose Shane Long hadn’t scored what was, let’s be honest, a flukey goal, we would have been fighting for a nil nil draw and, guess what, conceded at the last minute and so lost the game And then out would come all the moaning Minnie’s again this time saying how we should have held on for a draw but blew it. But, and it’s a big but and I’ve said it before, that RH is a lucky manager and that’s good enough for me. Just think where we’d be if we’d still got either Sparky or Pelliwhatsit in charge...down with the dead men I guarantee it. So let’s thank Christ for small mercies, be happy and prepare to boot the Cherries in to the middle of next week!!!