FOOTBALL: Watson's roundabout success

Swindon Town 1 Southampton 1
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The Independent Online
The Magic Roundabout, in case you didn't know, stands outside the County Ground, one major with four minors revolving around it, like a planetary system, a monument to at least one road planner's sense of humour.

There might be, you would think, a statue of Ossie Ardiles in the middle, commemorating the great Argentinian's sense and style of play. For one brief shining moment Swindon harked back to the Ardiles magic with a wonderfully roundabout goal that was of such quality that it deserved to win a semi- final, if not to appear at Wembley.

For half an hour Southampton had been more concise, more likely to score without ever being as entertaining as their manager, Dave Merrington, thought. Indeed I had just written, of their play, "a morass of sweat and dross" when the burly Wayne Allison claimed the ball for Swindon.

He transferred inside to Kevin Horlock, whence it moved round to Paul Allen, to Peter Thorne and then back again to Horlock, by then racing up to the box: the finish was as sweet as the movement.

Southampton's equaliser brought criticism of the immaculate Fraser Digby from Steve McMahon, the Swindon player-manager. "He should have punched clear," he said but Matthew Le Tissier's wonderfully flighted inswinging corner, back-headed by Gordon Watson, was a long way out: even Peter Schmeichel, with his reach, would have been stretched.

The Saints, after their shoot-out at Crewe, were short of both inspiration and ammunition. Digby was not seriously tested until the last quarter when he pulled off a remarkable double save from Tommy Widdrington and Neil Shipperley.

Merrington indicated afterwards that he had had his problems with Watson. "You get some players who don't want to train during the week and think they can turn it on just on a Saturday - they can't.

"You must work hard, and we have worked hard to change Gordon's approach. He is working as hard as anyone now."

McMahon's post-match remarks were clearly weighted by his disappointment at seeing such a prize, for a Second Division club, slip away. He thinks he will be fit for the replay. "The Dell is a nice little ground. It could suit us. This tie isn't over yet." A thought Southampton will have taken with them on a final turn on the roundabout.

Goals: Horlock (31) 1-0; Watson (77) 1-1.

Swindon Town (4-4-2): Digby; Allen, Culverhouse, Robinson, Taylor; Bodin(Drysdale, 61), Ling (Seagraves, 78), Gooden, Horlock; Thorne, Allison (Finney, 78).

Southampton (4-4-2): Beasant; Dodd, Hall, Monkou, Benali (Maskell 61); Le Tissier, Magilton, Widdrington, Charlton; Shipperley, Watson. Substitutes not used: Grobbelaar (gk), Tisdale.

Referee: R A Hart (Darlington). Attendance: 15,035.

Man of the match: Digby.

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