Danny Ings scores twice as Southampton beat Watford

Watford 1-3 Southampton: Danny Ings and Ward-Prowse on target as Southampton beat Watford in a comfortable win at Vicarage Road.

Danny Ings on target as Southampton beat Watford
Danny Ings celebrates his opener against Watford in a 1-3 comfortable win at Vicarage Road.

Danny Ings double and a spectacular James Ward-Prowse free-kick sent Saints on their way to a 3-1 victory at Watford’s Vicarage Road.

Jan Bednarek turned the ball past McCarthy to give the Hornets a glimmer of hope in what was a convincing performance from the St Mary’s side.

Ings opened the scoring in the first half before adding his second after the break, with Ward-Prowse netting in the final 10 minutes.

The win took Saints to the magical 40-point mark for the first time since the 2016/17 campaign and up to 13th in the table. Ralph Hasenhuttl made five changes to the team that lost to Arsenal.

Jannik Vestergaard came in for the suspended Jack Stephens, Kyle Walker-Peters was picked ahead of Yan Valery, with Shane Long replacing Michael Obafemi.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was unable to recover from the knock he suffered on Thursday, meaning Oriol Romeu was drafted in. Will Smallbone was also preferred to Stuart Armstrong.

With the rain pouring down on Vicarage Road, both teams started in a scrappy fashion and it looked set to be a gloomy affair. However, the passing of the clouds revealed the sun just in time for the match to come alive.

Ings slipped a pass to Shane Long who then managed to create enough space for himself to rifle a shot on target, only for it to be matched by Watford’s Ben Foster.

However, Hasenhuttl didn’t have to wait much longer to witness his side to take the lead.

This time Smallbone fed the ball to Ings just outside the area before the striker bagged his 20th goal of the season with a wonderful strike into the bottom corner in the 17th minute.

Saints almost doubled their tally moments later thanks to a clever pass from Romeu.

The Spaniard spotted James Ward-Prowse sneak in behind the Watford defence which resulted in the captain firing his effort narrowly wide.

Hasenhuttl’s side continued to assert their dominance, leaving goalkeeper McCarthy very little to do.

Watford managed to get a dangerous ball rolling across the face of McCarthy’s goal, but no one arrived to bury it home.

Hornets forward Will Hughes looked to get his side back in the game with an audacious effort from long range, only for it to strike Ward-Prowse in the face and leave him requiring medical attention.

Saints’ skipper bounced back and almost created a second goal.

The 25-year-old whipped in a devilish free-kick which was just inches away from being turned home past Foster by Ings.

Whatever former Saints chief Nigel Pearson told his Watford side at half time, it had the desired effect.

The Hornets started quickly and created an opportunity through Ismaila Sarr but Ryan Bertrand was on hand to throw himself in front of the ball and stop the forward testing McCarthy.

Realising his side could do with an injection of energy, Hasenhuttl made his first substitution in the 65th minute, bringing on Armstrong in place of Smallbone.

However, Saints were able to dish out a hammer blow and take the wind out of Watford’s sail in the 70th minute.

Foster threw the ball straight to Ings, with the in-form striker not needing a second invitation to charge down on goal.

This led to the striker rifling a shot past the Hornets’ goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

Watford didn’t give up, though, and was given hope of a late comeback when Bednarek turned the ball past McCarthy.

Jose Holebas, who had only just come on, curled a delivery in which the Polish international inadvertently poked home.

However, Saints’ two-goal cushion was restored in spectacular fashion.

Hasenhuttl’s side was awarded a free-kick just on the edge of the area which was taken by Ward-Prowse.

The midfielder left Foster rooted to the spot with an unbelievable strike.

Redmond then looked to add to the tally but could only watch on as his powerful effort cannoned off the outside of the post.

Ericson Mangoli

Written by Ericson Mangoli

Ericson Mangoli is the founder of African Stand, based in Nairobi Kenya, Ericson leads a splendid group of correspondents, independent writers, investigators, analysts, and supporters from around the globe to run African Stand as a supervisor and the chief editor.

Ericson Mangoli's editorial experience ranges more than 5 years and covers all the sports news, and at times including business and venture, data innovation, legislative issues, strategy, basic freedoms, science detailing, and significantly more.

Ross Barkley strike sends Chelsea to FA Cup semi-final

Super-sub Ross Barkley strike sends Chelsea to FA Cup semi-final

Manchester United to face Chelsea in FA Cup semi-final

Manchester United to face Chelsea in FA Cup semi-final