Wolves moved four points clear of Watford in the race for seventh place in the Premier League as goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota helped Nuno Espirito Santo’s side earn all three points at Vicarage Road.
Ryan Bennett’s mistake gifted Andre Gray an equaliser four minutes into the second period, only for Diogo Jota to take advantage of another error – this time from Ben Foster – to win it for Wolves with 13 minutes to play.
Wolves now sit seventh in the league – which would secure a Europa League qualifying spot if Manchester City win the FA Cup – four points clear of Watford and Everton, though their manager claimed they are not eyeing European football.
The player we could least afford to lose for, effectively, four games was Troy. He’s the one. Not the best player in the side, perhaps, but the one we are least equipped to cope without. It was harsh, yes, the red card. He made it possible too, undoubtedly. Equally beyond doubt that, like Ben Foster and Craig Cathcart he’s well, well in credit. “People who do things make mistakes”. We’ve paid heavily for this one… at least three points across the four games by any reasonable reckoning.
The teams ran out to “I’m Still Standing” and I was left cold again. It is not growing on me, but at least you can hear it, unlike the Superman theme. The game kicked off and some of our fans decided that this was a good time to goad Wolves after our cup semi-final win. I always think that pride comes before a fall, so the chants worried me greatly.
We’ve been using ‘I’m Still Standing’ now for three games and we’ve not won a single one. Based on this fact there can only be one logical conclusion… We have angered the footballing Gods and Z-Cars must be re-introduced as a matter of urgency if we are to win any game at home ever again.
Shane Long had given the Saints an early lead when he scored the fastest goal in Premier League history. Long struck after just 7.69 seconds and Southampton held on to their lead until Watford’s Andre Gray levelled from close range.
Craig Cathcart won’t forget the record-breaking moment in a hurry either as the Watford defender was the man at fault. Roberto Pereyra sent the kick-off back to the defender, whose attempted long ball was charged down by Long, who sprinted goalwards before dinking daintily over goalkeeper Ben Foster.
This must count as one of the Premier League’s more surreal occasions, and not just because John Barnes graced this stadium’s turf again, this time with microphone in hand, to bellow a karaoke version of Rocket Man during the half-time interval. More remarkable still was Southampton scoring within eight seconds of Watford’s kick-off, or Shane Long’s continued transformation from shot-shy workhorse into prolific goalscorer. It was only when reality bit late-on that Watford made their own impression on the night.
It’s a funny old night, really. Funny old game, funny old night. The celebration of the imminent Elton John biopic is rather awkward and misjudged, at least in parts. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of half-time nonsense, especially with John Barnes involved and some season tickets up for grabs. It isn’t my cup of tea, but we all find our fun in different ways and we often find other people’s fun a bit cringeworthy.
Having finished my pre-match ritual of putting on my replica shirt and retrieving my notebook, pen and camera from my bag, I noticed a big white envelope by my seat. I opened it to find a sheet with the words of “Rocket Man”, as if I don’t already know them. Irritation at this distraction was compounded when I looked up to see Shane Long bearing down on goal and shooting past Foster. Only 7 seconds of the game had elapsed. I had missed Cathcart hitting a pass at Long to lead to this chance. I was devastated and, again, I blamed the decision to dispense with Z-cars. You don’t mess with something so important at such a crucial point in the season.
Gerard Deulofeu’s double earned Watford victory at Huddersfield, who slumped to a record-equalling Premier League defeat. Deulofeu produced a finish similar to his stunning effort at Wembley earlier this month in Watford’s FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves to give his side an early lead.
I will really miss going to Huddersfield. It is a lovely ground and the pre-match pub is excellent, with good beer, good food and plenty of friendly, efficient bar staff. I hope that they return to the Premier League very soon.
It didn’t take long for Watford to get the first goal. Five minutes on his return from injury Deulofeu attempted the same skill that saw him score his first goal at Wembley. It didn’t quite have the elevation like the first time, but it had the same outcome.
They say it’s cold up north, but it was a sunny sunny day on Saturday. Jon, Mike, Jason and Kieran headed up to the John Smiths stadium – which doesn’t sell John Smiths – for the sort of game you have to win, even if it isn’t done in the way you wish.