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The BBC's Andy Barwell
"Watford 'keeper Chamberlain made good saves"
 real 28k

Saturday, 15 April, 2000, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Watford head for drop
Marian Pahars
Substitute Marian Pahars scored for Saints
Southampton 2-0 Watford

Kevin Davies is enjoying a sea change in his footballing career since Glenn Hoddle joined Southampton for which he will be truly thankful.

Davies slotted home his sixth goal of the season at The Dell to help Southampton to a victory which virtually consigns Watford to relegation and all but guarantees Premiership football on the south-coast for another year.

Substitute Marian Pahars grabbed the second-half clincher for Southampton with a sharp header, before tearing off his shirt in celebration to reveal the message `Super Marian'.

But this triumph came courtesy of super Davies' who last August Davies was the most expensive flop in the Nationwide League - his 7.25million transfer to Blackburn having turned into a nightmare of injuries, illness and, more significantly, a complete inability to score goals.

Since returning to Southampton, however, the Sheffield-born poacher has undergone a steady rejuvenation.

Lack of quality

The game was barely four minutes old when defender Wayne Bridge found space on the left and played the ball hopefully into the middle in the direction of Davies.

The striker was completely unmarked and took the ball on a couple of yards before sliding a left-foot shot past the outstretched arms of Watford goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain from 15 yards.

The game suffered from a general lack of quality football and although Saints' Stuart Ripley made some good runs his final ball lacked precision.

You could not say the same about Pahars, the smallest man on the pitch, who came on in the 55th minute for James Beattie and took less than 20 minutes to get on the scoresheet with a header as he rose above the Watford defence from Le Tissier's corner.

Watford's best chance of the game came after just 40 seconds - David Perpetuini finding Micah Hyde wide on the right of the penalty area in oceans of space. It was the sort of chance which just must be taken if you are to survive in the Premiership, but Hyde panicked and blasted his shot harmlessly into the side netting.

Teams:

Southampton: Moss, Lundekvam, Tahar, Richards, Ripley, Le Tissier, Tessem, Marsden, Bridge, Beattie, Davies. Subs: Benali, Soltvedt, Oakley, Pahars, Bevan.

Watford: Chamberlain, Cox, Palmer, Page, R. Johnson, Hyde, Easton, Ward, Perpetuini, Smart, Smith. Subs: Robinson, Gudmundsson, Bonnot, Helguson, Day.

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester le Street)

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