Match ends, Watford 3, Southampton 4.
Watford 3-4 Southampton
Southampton bounced back from their EFL Cup final heartbreak to beat Watford in an entertaining encounter at Vicarage Road.
The Saints, who lost 3-2 to Manchester United at Wembley last Sunday, were behind after four minutes as Troy Deeney volleyed Watford into the lead from close range.
Dusan Tadic equalised on 28 minutes and Nathan Redmond put them ahead on the stroke of half-time, before Stefano Okaka levelled for Watford with 10 minutes to go.
Two goals in two minutes from Redmond and Manolo Gabbiadini seemed to settle matters but Abdoulaye Doucoure's tap-in on 94 minutes ensured a frenetic finish.
The win sees Southampton leapfrog Watford in the Premier League table as Claude Puel's side moved up to 10th.
"It was important we bounced back after that heartbreaking defeat at Wembley, " said two-goal Redmond.
"We knew once the final was done, the next challenge would be to get as many points as possible and move up the league table."
Saints deal with cup hangover
Watford, who went into the game with just one defeat in their last six league games, got off to the perfect start when they scored via a throw-in.
Younes Kaboul's long throw was headed on by Deeney to Stefano Okaka, who then teed up the Watford captain to volley past Fraser Forster from close range.
It was Deeney's 105th goal for Watford and moved him alongside Cliff Holton as the joint-fourth highest goalscorer in Watford history.
Southampton pressed for a reply and it came from some poor Watford defending. The Hornets failed to clear a loose ball and it came out to an unmarked Tadic in the 18-yard box, who drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
Redmond then put the Saints into a deserved lead in first-half stoppage time.
It was a lovely worked goal, started by the England under-21 winger who played the ball to James Ward-Prowse. He in turn found Tadic on the right, who then cut back for Redmond to squeeze his shot into the far post.
Gabbiadini continues his goal glut
Manolo Gabbiadini was Saints' most in-form player going into this game, having scored five goals in his first three games since a £14m move from Napoli in January.
The Italy striker, who scored twice in the cup final, should have netted on 56 minutes as he outstripped Miguel Britos down the left flank, cut inside but then wasted a golden opportunity.
Linking with the excellent Tadic and Redmond, the Saints front three caused Watford plenty of danger on the break.
It was a surprise when Okaka levelled and the Italy striker should have put Watford ahead five minutes later with a two-on-one. Just 30 seconds later and Watford were punished as Gabbiadini scored his sixth for the club.
Heurelho Gomes spilt Sofiane Boufal's shot and Gabbiadini pounced to become the first Saints player to score in his first three Premier League appearances for the club.
Okaka's wastefulness was punished further by Redmond who lashed a shot past Gomes, just a minute later.
Man of the match - Nathan Redmond
'It was important to get the result'
Southampton manager Claude Puel: "I'm unhappy about the third Watford goal, but it was important to get a good result after our big disappointment against Manchester United.
"It was important my players showed their character to come back from a goal down, they played directly, we kept concentration and we recovered and played good football and scored beautiful goals.
"Now we have two weeks without a game and this is difficult."
On Gabbiadini: "It was important to find a player who can give the team a good efficiency, a clinical edge. It is interesting for the confidence of the team and other strikers."
Watford manager Walter Mazzarri: "There were some bad defensive mistakes, but I would not say it was a bad performance, we deserved the draw and had a chance to go for the win to make it 3-2, but they went on the counter-attack and they managed to score and make it 3-2 and then 4-2."
Southampton's next game is a visit to Tottenham on 19 March. That will mean the win over Watford is the only Premier League game the Saints will have played between 11 February and the trip to White Hart Lane. This is due to games against Arsenal and Manchester United being postponed.
Watford face a trip to Crystal Palace on 18 March.
- 5PrödlBooked at 73mins
- 29CapoueSubstituted forSuccessat 70'minutes
- 33OkakaBooked at 44minsSubstituted forDoucouréat 89'minutes
- 9DeeneyBooked at 82mins
- 2SoaresBooked at 14mins
- 16Ward-ProwseSubstituted forBoufalat 78'minutes
- 11TadicSubstituted forClasieat 87'minutes
- 20GabbiadiniBooked at 33minsSubstituted forLongat 85'minutes
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 3, Southampton 4.
Goal! Watford 3, Southampton 4. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Miguel Britos with a headed pass following a set piece situation.
Foul by Jack Stephens (Southampton).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Shane Long.
Attempt blocked. Isaac Success (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by José Holebas.
Substitution, Watford. Abdoulaye Doucouré replaces Stefano Okaka.
Substitution, Southampton. Jordy Clasie replaces Dusan Tadic.
Goal! Watford 2, Southampton 4. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.
Foul by Sofiane Boufal (Southampton).
José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by José Holebas (Watford).
Substitution, Southampton. Shane Long replaces Manolo Gabbiadini.
Goal! Watford 2, Southampton 3. Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.
Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Maya Yoshida (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).
Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).
Goal! Watford 2, Southampton 2. Stefano Okaka (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Isaac Success with a cross.
Substitution, Southampton. Sofiane Boufal replaces James Ward-Prowse.
Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Stefano Okaka with a headed pass.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Cédric Soares.
Foul by Oriol Romeu (Southampton).
Valon Behrami (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Offside, Watford. Troy Deeney tries a through ball, but Stefano Okaka is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Stefano Okaka (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.
Sebastian Prödl (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).
Cédric Soares (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Isaac Success (Watford).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Isaac Success (Watford) because of an injury.
Substitution, Watford. Isaac Success replaces Etienne Capoue.
Offside, Watford. Sebastian Prödl tries a through ball, but M'Baye Niang is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Younes Kaboul (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.