Watford v Southampton
23rd April 2019
Shane Long scored the fastest ever Premier League goal, officially timed at 7.69 seconds
IBO Reporter : channonite
I suppose this game will be remembered for the goal scored by Shane Long exactly 7.69 seconds after the game kicked off. Even more remarkable, when you think that it was Watford who actually kicked off! However, for me the thing I will remember is that we were so, so close to taking all three points.
I was looking forward to the game and settled down to watch the game in good time for the 7.45pm kick off. My big mistake, after watching Watford take the kick off, was that I looked down at the team sheet and by the time I had looked up again, the ball was in the back of the net. WTF?!!
I think that I must have spent most of the next 15 minutes laughing in disbelief. The fastest Premier League goal ever. Apparently.
But I am getting ahead of myself now. The team when it was announced saw Gunn in goal again, with Stephens, Bednarek and Yoshida in front of him, with Ward-Prowse and Bertrand as the wing-backs. Midfield was Højbjerg, Romeu and Armstrong, with Redmond and Long as the forwards. Although during the match the midfield seemed to be just Højbjerg and Romeu for much of the time, with Armstrong and Redmond operating on the overlap with the two wing-backs.
Once Long had scored, we were treated to the spectacle of Watford kicking off for the second time in less than a minute. The daft thing was that they swept forward and but for Gunn's alertness it would have been 1-1 straight away, although it did look offside, it was not given.
No time to even draw breath.
Saints were looking a fluid, potent attacking force going forward, particularly Redmond and Long, but like an accident waiting to happen at the back. The right looked a particular concern, with Ward-Prowse and Stephens looking anything but defenders.
Long had a decent chance from a great Ward-Prowse cross, the irishman just failing to connect with a stooping header. Shortly after Ward-Prowse was again the provider with a cracking corner kick that somehow Maya Yoshida just failed with his attempted left footed flick, which was gratefully gathered up by Foster.
Then in a wonderful scything move involving Ward-Prowse, Højbjerg, Redmond, Long and Bertrand, Watford were cut open once again, with Long missing with his sliding attempt to connect in the centre of the area, but the ball continued through to Bertrand, whose shot cannoned against the base of the upright.
With hardly a pause play quickly moved up to the other end of the pitch and Deulofeu got in behind Stephens, but fortunately his shot fizzed just wide of the far post.
Somehow halftime arrived without a further goal, but Saints were looking good value for their 1-0 lead. An impressive attacking force, albeit with a certain fragility at the back.
The first notable thing to happen in the second half was Romeu getting booked by Mike Dean, one of my least favourite referees, for what seemed like an innocuous tackle.
This was a game you just couldn't take your eyes (or ears!) off. Thankfully Gunn was paying attention when a great cross found the onrushing Doucouré, who managed to tamely head into the Saints goalies hands from about three yards out.
Long's final contribution to the game came when he raced onto another poor Watford pass and was fouled by Kabasele right on the edge of the penalty area, earning the Watford man a yellow card. From the resulting free kick, Ward-Prowse curled a shot that almost deceived Foster, but the goalie just managed to punch the ball away to safety. Just a couple of minutes later Long was replaced, after another excellent game, by Yan Valery.
As the game moved into the last quarter the pressure on Saints was ramped up a couple of notches. Once again Stephens was beaten in midfield and the move ended with Gunn having to make a smart save from Pereyra.
Saints were back-pedalling now and there was some pretty desperate defending, but at the time I felt reasonably confident that we would prevail and earn the points that would get us within touching distance of the crucial 40 point mark. As the game crawled into the last minute of normal time Saints seemed unable to get any sort of possession, other than to thump the ball away from the penalty area.
Strangely enough, when the goal came it was almost unexpected. Watford had been playing in and around the Saints area for several minutes, when the ball fell to Gray and in a flash it was behind Gunn in the net. 1-1.
So, so cruel. The team had played really well and I felt gutted for them. Daft, isn't it? A point earned on the road would normally be seen as something good, but this felt like the worst kind of crushing defeat.
They now have to dust themselves down and deal with Bournemouth on Saturday.
Man of the Match
Well, just for that record-breaking goal alone he should have it, but there was so much more than that. Shane Long was a constant thorn in the side of the Watford defenders and now he has an end product again he thoroughly deserved to be my Man of the Match.
Having been unable to hit the proverbial barn door, Shane Long just can't stop scoring now
27 Kabasele - Booked 75'
15 Cathcart (Femenía 45')
11 Masina - Booked 80'
16 Doucouré - Booked 40'
29 Capoue - Booked 26'
19 Hughes (Success 77')
7 Deulofeu - Booked 57'
35 Bednarek - Booked 45'
14 Romeu - Booked 17' (Lemina 74')
17 Armstrong (Sims 67')
7 Long (Valery 78')
Tuesday 23rd April
Referee: Mike Dean
- Watford 62%
- Southampton 38%
- Watford 15
- Southampton 8
Shots on Target
- Watford 4
- Southampton 4
- Watford 3
- Southampton 4
- Watford 10
- Southampton 14