FACup Cup R4

Vicarage Road - 2.00 pm

Watford 1

  • Martins 5'

Southampton 1

  • S Armstrong 89'

Embed from Getty Images

Stuart Armstrong (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser in the 89th minute to take the tie to a replay at St.Mary's


Match Report

IBO Reporter: channonite


|This is going to be something of an abbreviated report, partly because the game ended in a 1-1 draw, so this is effectively only half-time.

As expected, Russell Martin made several changes to the team in order to give fringe players game time. What wasn't expected was that he made five changes. Stephens is returning from injury; Rothwell needs to get to grips with a very different way of playing; and several others, such as Holgate, Alcaraz, and Mara, need minutes under their belt. All will be needed in the weeks to come with such a packed fixture list.

I was concerned about the Saints' midfield, but from the kickoff, it was clear that the whole team was unsure. They looked static and more than a little tentative. Passing was sloppy, and Watford came at them in waves, giving them no chance to settle.

The initial fears were very quickly realised when, in the fifth minute, Watford won a free kick way out on Saints' right. The wall consisted solely of Alcaraz. Martins took the kick and curled it around Alcaraz and into the net at the near post. Frankly, Lumley could have done better, as he seemed to watch the ball all the way, only moving when it was already too late. 1-0 to Watford then.

Frankly, I spent the rest of the half waiting for Watford to score the seemingly inevitable second goal. How they didn't remains a mystery. Alcaraz was the only player who seemed to be making an effort. The rest seemed shell-shocked.

So, halftime came, and Saints were still only 1-0 down - a miracle. I felt sure that Martin would make at least a couple of changes for the second half, but no, it seemed not.

There was a little bit more life in the team, including Adams dropping deeper and deeper, trying to inject a sense of urgency. Things didn't really start to improve until Martin could stand it no longer and went for wholesale changes in the 63rd minute. Off went Rothwell, Charles, Dibling and Adams (Yes, that last one surprised me as well), to be replaced by Stuart Armstrong, Smallbone, Adam Armstrong and Fraser. This had a galvanising effect on the whole team, and everyone picked up their game. Even Holgate and Stephens looked transformed from the accident waiting to happen in the first half into decent players.

Watford had fallen into the trap of defending a seemingly safe 1-0 lead, and when the changed and now motivated opposition came at them, they found it increasingly difficult to respond.

I lost count of the number of near misses there were on the Watford goal, but this half was now as one-sided in favour of the away side as the first half had been in favour of the home team.

Just as I was almost giving up hope, it happened. Mara, who was looking much more threatening playing in the centre, had a thunderous shot from all of 25 yards, which the goalie could only punch clear. Stu Armstrong picked up the loose ball, turned and, from the edge of the penalty area, fired a shot into the net by the near post. An eighty-ninth-minute equaliser and the 4,000 Saints fans went mad.

Sam Amo-Ameyaw had a half-chance from distance to win the game, but his shot went agonisingly close, and that was it.

The replay is back at St.Mary's on Tuesday, the 6th of February, at 7.45pm.


Teams



Watford


  • 1 Bachmann
  • 45 Andrews
  • 15 Pollock
  • 4 Hoedt
  • 6 Lewis (Morris 62')
  • 3 Sierralta
  • 37 Martins (Dennis 76')
  • 11 Koné (Ince 76')
  • 16 Chakvetadze - Booked 45' (Porteous 86')
  • 18 Asprilla (Sema 62')
  • 19 Bayo

Substitutes

  • 5 Porteous
  • 7 Ince
  • 8 Livermore
  • 9 Rajovic
  • 12 Sema
  • 25 Dennis
  • 40 Roberts
  • 42 Morris
  • 59 Grieves

Southampton


  • 13 Lumley
  • 6 Holgate - Booked 4'
  • 21 Harwood-Bellis
  • 5 Stephens
  • 29 Meghoma (Amo-Ameyaw 78')
  • 19 Rothwell (S Armstrong 63')
  • 24 Charles (Smallbone 63')
  • 22 Alcaraz - Booked 40'
  • 33 Dibling (A Armstrong 63')
  • 10 Adams (Fraser 63')
  • 18 Mara

Substitutes

  • 1 McCarthy
  • 2 Walker-Peters
  • 3 Manning
  • 9 A Armstrong
  • 16 Smallbone
  • 17 S Armstrong
  • 26 Fraser
  • 27 Amo-Ameyaw
  • 35 Bednarek


Match Stats


  • Watford/Southampton
  • Possession: 31%/69%
  • Shots: 13/19
  • Shots on Target: 4/8
  • Corners: 6/6
  • Fouls: 8/7

Officials/Attendance


  • Referee: Michael Salisbury
  • Assistant referees: Matthew Wilkes & Derek Eaton
  • Fourth official: Will Finnie
  • Attendance: 16,688

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