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Shane Long's eighth goal of the season sends Saints marching to victory

The Irish international striker’s header put his side ahead against Watford at St Mary’s.

Manchester City v Southampton - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: Martin Rickett

SHANE LONG AND Dusan Tadic scored in each half as Southampton steadied the ship with a 2-0 home win over dangerous Watford in the Premier League tonight.

Ronald Koeman’s side had won just one of their previous eight league games, losing six, and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Crystal Palace at the weekend. But Irish striker Long’s 17th-minute header set them on their way to victory at a rain-soaked St Mary’s.

Tadic replaced Sadio Mane in the 71st minute and scored within two minutes to complete a victory that lifted Southampton up to 12th place, two points below 10th-place Watford, who are winless in four league games.

Southampton, who welcomed back goalkeeper Fraser Forster after 10 months out with a knee injury, went ahead when Long headed in his eighth goal of the season from left-back Matt Target’s inviting cross.

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Watford’s away form has been key to their successful re-adaptation to top-flight football, but they were forced to mount a rearguard action as Southampton looked to press home their advantage. Visiting goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes thwarted first Mane and then Long, while Mane wasted a great chance when he hit the post after intercepting a Jose Manuel Jurado pass intended for Sebastian Prodl.

Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte also sent a shot over the bar from marauding right-back Cedric Soares’s cut-back. Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores sent on Ikechi Anya in place of Almen Abdi just after the hour, but still Southampton came, Mane shooting just wide from Long’s pass.

Mane made way for Tadic moments later, but any hopes Watford may have harboured that the Senegalese’s exit would end their torment were dashed by his replacement within two minutes. From Steven Davis’s flick, Tadic picked up possession, shifted the ball past Prodl and Anya and fired a shot beyond Gomes from 10 yards.

In a further boost to Saints fans, striker Graziano Pelle made his comeback as a late substitute after four games out with a knee injury.

© AFP 2016

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