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Russell Martin frustrated despite Southampton’s last-gasp victory over Watford

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2024

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Southampton boss Russell Martin was left frustrated about his side’s “nonsense” performance despite a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 victory over Watford.

Leicester and Leeds lost this weekend, while Ipswich dropped points to give Saints renewed hope of an automatic promotion spot and an immediate return to the Premier League.

They needed a stoppage-time winner from Flynn Downes to beat the Hornets after throwing away a two-goal lead.

And Martin said: “It’s a good day for us in the end with the results elsewhere as well, but we can only focus on ourselves and I’m pleased we got over the line.

“I’m frustrated with how long it took and what it took, but I’m really pleased we won. We played some brilliant football with plenty of running and energy.

“The feeling at the end is amazing, but it just shouldn’t be that. Watford were good, and they’re playing with freedom and they’re running so hard for Tom.

“We have five games now where we just can’t afford to play like that. Unfortunately for us, we’re not in the top two and having a nice time. We’re fighting and chasing for everything we have.

“I’m frustrated about some of it but really pleased with some of it. I’m delighted with the character and the grit and the willingness to win.

“You can’t concede two goals again at home after being two up – we have to stop that nonsense.

“I’ve never stopped believing in the group of players that we have. I think they’ve shown they believe so much in what they’re doing with the late winner today and the fight.”

Saints were in cruise control after Will Smallbone had headed in their fastest goal of the season after 57 seconds and Che Adams had doubled the lead by tapping in David Brooks’ cross.

Ryan Porteous pulled one back for the Hornets before the break before they thought they had earned a fifth straight draw when Ismael Kone coolly slotted in an 85th-minute equaliser.

But West Ham loanee Downes bundled in at the back post with the last kick of the game to send St Mary’s into chaos.

Watford interim boss Tom Cleverley said: “The red card incident on Porteous, genuine mistake. The handball, his line of sight might have been obscured, genuine mistake.

“The fact that the corner gets delivered after the 98th minute after seven added on is a worry.

“For me, our season is sort of mid-table and it’s not affected the way our campaign ends so much, but when there’s hundreds of millions of pounds on the line for Leeds, Ipswich and Leicester.

“I think they could be arguing that the top referees should be in charge of these games for when the stakes are so big.

“I will never, ever have a go for genuine mistakes. I’m disappointed the corner was taken. There was no subs, no goals in injury time.

“It’s a really difficult one to take. But for the first time we’ve been behind in my stint as manager and we showed real character to come back.

“It feels a really, really bitter pill to swallow that we’ve come out with no points. We’re feeling really hard done by now.”

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