Abdoulaye Doucoure’s controversial last-gasp leveller earned Watford a comeback draw to deny struggling Southampton a much-needed win.
It’s now 10 games without a win for Southampton after second-half headers from Andre Gray and Doucoure cancelled out a James Ward-Prowse double.
In the battle of two out of form sides, Southampton will be kicking themselves for failing to ease the pressure on manager Mauricio Pellegrino. But Doucoure’s strike might not have stood as he replays showed he bundled the ball home with his hand.
There was no VAR here but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any early confusion with the officials. Shane Long was level when he collected Oriol Romeu’s pass and the Irishman saw his tame shot pushed out by Heurelho Gomes.
All the players stopped as they waited for a flag which eventually came but if the ball had beaten Gomes then referee Roger East would have had a big decision to make.
As it was, just like it has gone for Long over a prolonged space of time, the ball stayed out.
Watford took their time to settle down but Gray missed a golden chance to ease any tension. Doucoure’s cross found Gray unmarked but he could only kick thin air and Southampton escaped.
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Moments later Alex McCarthy, keeping Fraser Forster out once again in he Southampton goal, tipped over Daryl Janmaat’s long-range shot.
Despite the scare, Southampton were troubling the hosts on the counter-attack. Long, in particular, was causing a nuisance and it was his run which led to the 20th minute opener.
Long burst down the right flank and his cross was diverted to Ward-Prowse, who had too much time to control the ball and pick his spot from 12-yards out.
Just like last weekend, Ward-Prowse had struck in the 1-0 FA Cup win at Fulham and they would be hoping history would repeat itself here.
Long, who did break his long drought earlier this month, could have had another three minutes later. Dusan Tadic turned his marker inside out and his cross saw Long loop a header which was clawed out by Gomes.
Southampton looked a team revitalised and even Wesley Hoedt was trying his luck from distance, with Gomes backtracking to keep out the audacious 40-yard shot.
Watford were all at sea and another Southampton chance went begging in the 33rd minute. Tadic again skipped past his man and his cross found Long, whose goalbound shot was blocked by Marvin Zeegelaar.
The home fans were becoming increasingly frustrated and then they reacted with anger when Tom Cleverley was hooked for Roberto Pereyra after just 35 minutes.
There appeared no injury with Silva deciding on reshaping his team that had been under the cosh. No that is made a jot of difference as Ward-Prowse would punish Watford with a fine counter-attacking goal in the 44th minute.
Long outpaced Molla Wague and his pass saw Tadic’s beautifully weighted pass set up Ward-Prowse for the simplest of finishes.
On the day of Graham Taylor’s anniversary of his death, it wasn’t what Watford had in mind. Silva threw on Troy Deeney at the break and it was a different game as Southampton were now being pinned back.
Pereyra curled wide when well placed. But the comeback was on when Janmaat’s shot was pushed onto the crossbar and Gray followed up to head home the loose ball in the 58th minute.
Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg headed over in a rare Southampton break. But at least they were slowly taking the sting out of the game after weathering a real onslaught before Doucoure’s last-gasp intervention.