Lambert on the spot to celebrate his century

Southampton 4 Watford 0

One point from their last two was a desert for Southampton in this season of plenty and they needed to get back to winning yesterday. That they did so emphatically and with style made it just about the perfect afternoon for their fans.

On his 100th League appearance for the club, Rickie Lambert pushed his tally for the season into double figures with identical penalties, one in each half. If the opener had an element of good fortune there could be no denying Saints' overall supremacy and by the end it could easily have been six or seven. As it is the four they settled for cemented their place at the top and hoisted their goal total to 25 from the first 10 fixtures.

It also triggered eye-catching statistics: a 14th consecutive home win (club record) and the best League start for 52 years. "We played some exceptional footballin the second half and the entertainment value was top drawer," said their manager, Nigel Adkins.

Perhaps sensing some nerves in the opposition after their rare midweek defeat at Cardiff, Watford were lively early on. Chances arrived for Jonathan Hogg and Joe Garner which they were unable to take and it proved costly when Saints found fluency. Steve de Ridder lofted a high ball towards the far post where Lambert disputed ownership with David Mirfin and John Eustace. The ball dropped, the crowd roared, and after a pause, the referee Carl Boyeson pointed to the spot, indicating handball. However television replays indicated it was Lambert who had transgressed. "None of their players appealed and it's one of the strangest decisions I've seen in a long time," said Watford manager, Sean Dyche.

If he was harbouring any guilt, the Liverpudlian did not allow it to distract him from the task in hand, ramming home the spot-kick. Now the League leaders began to display the freedom and movement which has made for such an exhilarating start to their season.

Lambert might have immediately doubled his tally before a moment of quality as the scorer dummied Guly do Prado's cut-back and Adam Lallana struck a fearsome first-timer against the crossbar.

The second goal came via the same road: another De Ridder delivery to the far post and another infringement as Lambert challenged. This time Adrian Mariappa was guilty of a foul and Lambert's spot-kick proved irrestible.

Guly added a third after Lallana had set him up. Number four came from substitute Lee Holmes with a low drive two minutes from time while Richard Chaplow struck a post and also failed to accept the chance that followed a wonderfully flowing build-up.

Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; De Ridder (Chaplow, 64), Hammond; Cork (Schneiderlin, 73), Lallana (Holmes, 86); Guly, Lambert.

Watford (4-4-2): Gilmartin; Mariappa, Mirfin, Taylor, Doyley; Yeates (Deeney, 56), Eustace, Hogg (Jenkins, 46), Forsyth; Sordell (Iwelumo, 61), Garner.

Referee Carl Boyeson.

Man of the match Lambert (Southampton).

Match rating 7/10.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor