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2018/2019 English Premier League
  • Manolo Gabbiadini (20')
  • José Holebas (82')

Watford's Jose Holebas strikes late to deny Southampton victory

A late strike from Jose Holebas earned Watford a 1-1 draw at a rain-soaked Southampton on Saturday and extended the home side's winless run to eight Premier games while increasing the pressure on manager Mark Hughes.

Manolo Gabbiadini gave the Saints the lead with a smart turn and finish in the 20th minute, profiting from good work by Danny Ings, who picked Roberto Pereyra's pocket inside the penalty area and played in his fellow striker following a corner.

The goal was the Italian's first of the season but Holebas equalised in the 82nd to deny the Saints a much-needed victory and leave them one place above the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference ahead of the international break.

The ball broke to Watford's Greek defender just outside the Southampton area after bouncing off Gerard Deulofeu and he advanced into the box before unleashing a left-foot strike that took a deflection before flying past keeper Alex McCarthy.

Watford had started stronger, and McCarthy was forced into a sharp save by the lively Deulofeu in the fourth minute, getting down well to keep out the Spaniard's shot from a tight angle.

Deulofeu also shot high and wide from outside the box four minutes later after Kiko Femenia pounced on a loose ball and played in the former Barcelona man.

Saints defender Wesley Hoedt was then forced into a last-ditch tackle to deny Isaac Success, stretching out a foot to deflect the Nigerian's shot away from goal.

Watford soon paid the price for their wastefulness.

Hoedt headed straight at Ben Foster in the Watford goal from six yards before Holebas scrambled the ball to safety.

Gabbiadini scored from the resulting corner to lift Southampton's spirits and the hosts almost grabbed a second through their Japanese defender Maya Yoshida, who looped a header wide in the 34th minute.

His confidence boosted by the goal, Gabbiadini nearly extended the home side's lead with their first attack after the restart but his stunning strike from distance fizzed over.

Watford appealed for a penalty just before the hour when Nathaniel Chalobah went down under a Ryan Bertrand challenge, but referee Simon Hooper waved away the claims before Saints were denied by a controversial decision in the 68th minute.

Nathan Redmond skipped between two defenders and played in substitute Charlie Austin, who put the ball in the net.

However the striker's celebrations were cut short by the linesman, who ruled that the marginally offside Yoshida was in the keeper's line of sight, even though the Japanese made no effort to play the ball.

It looked like the Saints would cling on until Holebas pounced in the closing stages to earn a hard-won point.

"It's ridiculous, they shouldn't be in the game," Austin said of the referee's decision to disallow his goal.

"We scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside. The officials cost us two points. They said it was offside, that is a joke," he told Sky Sports.

The draw lifted Watford into provisional seventh place with 20 points from 12 games above Manchester United, who face Manchester City in Sunday's derby clash, on goal difference while Southampton have eight points.

English Premier League Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Manchester City 17 +38 44
2 Liverpool 16 +28 42
3 Tottenham Hotspur 17 +15 39
4 Chelsea 16 +20 34
5 Arsenal 16 +15 34
6 Manchester United 16 +2 26
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 0 25
8 Everton 17 +2 24
9 West Ham United 17 0 24
10 Watford 17 -2 24
11 AFC Bournemouth 17 -3 23
12 Leicester City 17 0 22
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 16 -3 21
14 Newcastle United 17 -8 16
15 Crystal Palace 17 -9 15
16 Cardiff City 17 -16 14
17 Burnley 17 -18 12
18 Huddersfield Town 17 -18 10
19 Southampton 16 -17 9
20 Fulham 17 -26 9