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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear

Late Saints rally frustrates Watford on cusp of a shot at Klopp's Liverpool

FA Cup 4th Round

Watford (1) 1 Martins 5

Southampton (0) 1 Stuart Armstrong 90

The FA Cup fifth round draw being made while this game was still going on, the Hornets players may or may not have been aware that a likely trip to Liverpool was going to be their reward if they could hold on to an early lead.

In the event, maybe Saints players had got wind of what fate had in store. They raised their game and managed to force a replay with a late equaliser from sub Stuart Armstrong.

All poised to be part of the Jurgen Klopp farewell story - only to suffer late disappointment.

It did look as if the Hornets were about to end Southampton's incredible unbeaten run of 21 games but the visitors found a way - helped in no small part by the injection of four subs on the hour.

Watford got the perfect early fillip when Yaser Asprilla won a free-kick on the edge of the area following a foul from Mason Holgate and Matheus Martins rifled the ball past Joe Lumley.

More bright moments followed as the hosts looked in the mood to progress in the competition. Jamal Lewis went close with a rasping drive and a rush of blood from Lumley almost cost him when Vakoun Bayo skipped around him out on the left - only for the striker to fail to pick out a team-mate in time to take advantage of a vacated goal.

Bayo also skidded a low angled shot just wide after a fine run from Ismael Kone had created space.

Martins hit a post with a deflected shot in the second half, but a second goal didn't come.

The Championship high-flying Saints took an age to get into gear. A header flashimg over from Taylor Harwood-Bellis was a rare moment of danger from them during a first-half in which boss Russell Martin must have already been contemplating who of his regular first-teamers he should bring off the bench first.

After the interval, Carlos Alcaraz wafted a free-kick over the bar for Southampton, but after an hour, Martin knew he had seen enough and he made four changes in one hit in a bid to ignite the visitors.

In the end, it did the trick. Holgate's stinging drive tested Daniel Bachmann's gloves was a warning and the visitors now piled forward in numbers in a bid to salvage the day. They managed it when Armstrong found just enough room on the left edge of the area to drill into the bottom corner.

It meant we had the same result as when the teams met at Vicarage Road in December.

Hornets: (4-1-4-1) Bachmann - Andrews, Sierralta, Hoedt, Lewis (Morris 62) - Pollock - Asprilla (Sema 62), Kone (Ince 77), Chakvetadze Porteous 86), Martins (Dennis 77) - Bayo

Saints: (4-3-3) Lumley - Holgate, Stephens, Harwood-Bellis, Meghoma (Amo-Ameyaw 78) - Rothwell (S Armstrong 62), Charles (Smallbone 62), Dibling (A Armstrong 62) - Alcaraz, Adams (Fraser 62), Mara

Attendance: 16,688


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