Southampton’s Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League era after just seven seconds but Andre Gray struck late to secure a point for Watford on Tuesday.
Shane Long closed down Craig Cathcart’s attempted clearance and drove through to clip over Ben Foster after just seven seconds. The previous record holder was Ledley King, who scored in 10 seconds during Spurs win over Bradford City in 2000.
Watford goalkeeper made excellent saves later on to deny Nathan Redmond twice before Gray levelled matters in the closing stages to ensure a share of the spoils.
The draw means Watford moved to seventh while Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are now six points above 18th placed Cardiff.
Watford responded well from Long’s historic goal, an unmarked Gray powering straight at Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn from 12 yards and Gerard Deulofeu lashing wide from the edge of the box.
Long was in action again soon after but this time headed wide at the back post, while Redmond could not beat an instinctive Ben Foster midway through the first half. Foster forced wide another Redmond attempt and the Saints forward clipped the woodwork shortly before the break after running into the area to meet a low cross.
Foster was brilliant throughout the night and pawed away James Ward-Prowse’s freekick 10 minutes to full time, ensuring the hosts lived on to equalise later.
Gunn kept out Deulofeu’s low strike but moments later he was beaten by Gray’s deflected close-range effort from eight yards firing into the roof of the net to secure a deserved point for the hosts.
The Saints will be hugely disappointed to have let away maximum points at Vicarage Road but the point should see them over the line, given the gap between them and Cardiff City.
What the managers said
Watford boss Javi Gracia:
“Before the game we knew it would a tough game because Southampton are playing, in my opinion, really well, and after the early goal it was even more difficult.
“In the first-half we didn’t feel comfortable, we didn’t play as usual and in the second-half we improved a little bit. We created chances at the end with the spirit and desire and it is a good point.
“I prefer to play with three at the back and we need to be more offensive which is why I took Craig (Cathcart) off at half-time.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl:
“I think in the first half we could’ve been well in the lead. We were much more aggressive than at Newcastle and that’s what we wanted to show today, we wanted to win. It’s a big point for us.
“I think the message today was to be very aggressive from the first minute, and I think Long listened very well.”
Watford entertain Wolves on Saturday in the battle to finish ‘the best of the rest’ and a potential Europa League spot decide. Southampton host Bournemouth as St. Mary’s.