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Che Adams strikes to lift Southampton and sink lacklustre Watford

Sometimes one is enough. One shot on target; one goal; one away win. Che Adams’s deft first-half finish was all Southampton needed to delight their travelling faithful. Oh, how they enjoyed their marching-based evensong, having seen their team win on the road for the second time in 18 attempts.

It was three points that should have been more comfortable, with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side exerting control for large periods and guilty of missing opportunities. “It was a very deserved win,” he said. “The one criticism is we didn’t score more to be honest. One-zero is normally the result the manager likes the most. From this result, you can criticise what you have done but still know you have a positive atmosphere in the team.”

Watford have gone from the ridiculous, to the sublime, to the substandard in a fortnight. The substitute Ashley Fletcher almost earned what would have been an undeserved point – Alex McCarthy clawing away his late effort – but otherwise they went down with a whimper. Boos rang out at the final whistle; much for Claudio Ranieri to tinker with, perhaps. “We must be patient,” said the Watford manager. “Our fans must be patient, take us with love and support us.”

Southampton started brightly and retained their sheen throughout. Returning from suspension, the captain, James Ward-Prowse, was the heartbeat alongside Oriel Romeu. Pre-game murmurings that Ibrahima Diallo might be retained proved false; Hasenhüttl was never going to leave out a man who had completed 7,546 consecutive Premier League minutes before his red card at Chelsea.

Ward-Prowse’s presence gave the right-back Tino Livramento even more attacking licence; he and Kyle Walker-Peters on the opposite flank ventured forward with alarming frequency and freedom. “The first half was too easy for them to find a solution on the flank,” Ranieri admitted. “We arrived always late.”

Livramento was Chelsea’s academy player of the season last year, and turned down a new contract in favour of a £5m move to St Mary’s. Having never played a senior minute before his Saints debut, his award could conceivably be upgraded come June. “To play at this level at 18 years old, the way he does, you have a big future,” Hasenhüttl said.

Southampton’s issue since the departure of Danny Ings has, to put it simply, been goals. Adams was supposed to be a ready-made solution but began the afternoon without a Premier League goal this season. But having netted in the Carabao Cup midweek, he grabbed the winner with a lofted shot that nestled in the top corner.

Quite how he failed to add a second shortly afterwards only Adams will know, after he contrived to nod Adam Armstrong’s cross down and over from five yards.

Armstrong – who arrived from Blackburn after a prolific Championship campaign (28 goals in 40) – has just one Premier League strike himself. Recalled only due to Armando Broja’s ankle injury, his drought continues but only his finishing let him down: five times he failed to find the target. On other days, his wastefulness will prove costly.

Watford’s sole opening of the first half came seconds before Adams’s glaring miss. Ben Foster set Joshua King racing down the left and Ismaïla Sarr’s shot beat Alex McCarthy, but Walker-Peters cleared on the line.

Booed off, Watford improved slightly after the interval but created little until Fletcher’s late chance. McCarthy was largely engaged in gentle catching practice that mirrored his pre-game routine; Sarr was particularly guilty. “He is a champion,” said Ranieri. “All the champions have some matches where it is not easy. Then suddenly everything they touch is fantastic.”

The space Adams was afforded in the penalty area to turn and finish will worry Ranieri. Watford’s promotion was built on making Vicarage Road a fortress and a frugality in defence. Having kept 14 clean sheets here in the Championship – conceding 12 – they have already leaked 11. Every visiting team has scored.

Plus, there was a lack of time on the ball. Ken Sema and Tom Cleverley were introduced at the break simply to press; at times the visitors played walking football. “We were too passive in the first half,” Ranieri said. “I didn’t want this; I wanted to put them under pressure.”

His programme notes talked up the importance of belief. Watford will need that and plenty more if the season is not to become a slog.

Reece James double sinks Newcastle and stretches Chelsea’s lead at top

At half-time the crowd were urged to raise money for the Royal British Legion by participating in an auction to win “match worn” signed shirts streaked with mud, sweat and, in the case of Newcastle’s players, quite possibly tears.

No prizes for guessing whose top Chelsea fans would bid most money for. Reece James’s two second-half goals allowed Thomas Tuchel’s Premier League leaders to translate dominance into points as they left Newcastle stuck in the bottom three and still seeking their first win of the season.

“We don’t need to do shooting exercises in training with Reece, he shoots like a horse,” said a delighted Tuchel as his wonderfully cohesive team passed and moved three points clear of second-placed Liverpool. “It was an excellent performance but we have a long way to go.”

The home side’s new Saudi-led owners will surely park their tanks on Chelsea’s lawn one day but, more immediately, almost Newcastle’s entire armoury needs restocking. The immediate, extremely urgent, task facing Roberto Martínez, Erik ten Hag, Lucien Favre, Frank Lampard, Paulo Fonseca, or whoever is eventually appointed as Steve Bruce’s successor, will be to steer the team clear of relegation.

Bruce gave Newcastle’s players plenty of days off but Graeme Jones, his caretaker successor, believes they are better off being drilled on the training ground. There have apparently been no complaints about the resultant recent lack of time off from a team which, initially at least, showed off some impressive resilience and organisation while absorbing considerable Chelsea pressure.

Admittedly there were some ominously panicked clearances in the direction of row X but despite Tuchel’s side monopolising possession, a series of important blocks from Jamaal Lascelles ensured that, albeit only for a while, Karl Darlow’s goal proved surprisingly well protected.

Jones’s problem was that, with Newcastle offering negligible threat from open play and Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin regularly dropping back into midfield, Édouard Mendy had even less to do.

It dictated that a set piece seemed the home side’s sole realistic route to goal and offered Chelsea reason to believe that a combination of their inventively intelligent off-the-ball movement and almost inevitable defensive concentration lapses would eventually lead to that ostensibly formidable black and white wall collapsing into a pile of bricks.

As half-time beckoned, such visiting optimism was boosted as Hakim Ziyech curled a shot beyond Darlow only to see that effort disallowed for offside before missing a routine chance to side-foot past Jones’s goalkeeper after Kai Havertz flicked on James’s cross.

Not that Tuchel looked remotely satisfied. As the minutes passed the Chelsea manager’s technical area body language reflected mounting shades of exasperation at his side’s failure to overcome a Jones gameplan big on low blocks and long balls.

As if already being without the injured Romelu Lukaku was not bad enough, Tuchel could have done without Mason Mount having been sent back home to London after feeling unwell in the team hotel on Friday night.

As the second half began Chelsea fans probably felt James’s crossing had not been up to his customary standard. Before long though, that seemed hair-splitting pedantry as the right wing-back finally raised the tone, giving his side the lead courtesy of a stunning, high velocity, rising shot arrowed into the roof of the net with a sniper’s precision.

After meeting Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross, James cut inside and checked on to his supposedly weaker left foot before driving a stake through Newcastle’s collective heart.

With Geordie morale plummeting by the second James deployed his right foot to score a similarly unstoppable second goal. This time Ciaran Clark succeeded in partially blocking Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot but the fallout rebounded for the man of the moment to positively lash the ball home with Darlow wrong-footed.

Next Newcastle’s goalkeeper hauled Havertz down, precipitating Jorginho scoring Chelsea’s third from the penalty spot with a rather nonchalant chip.

Meanwhile Javier Manquillo’s snatched, non-menacing, 84th-minute effort represented Newcastle’s solitary shot on target.

The depression engulfing St James’ Park ran so deep that even the news, broadcast over the sound system at the final whistle, that Sunderland had conceded five goals at League One Rotherham barely raised a cheer.

“You’ve got to remember we were up against the Champions League winners and for 65 minutes we were right in the game,” said Jones. “But the manner of our reaction after the first goal was disappointing. It was a very difficult afternoon.”

Maxwel Cornet caps Burnley’s early salvo to break duck against Brentford

Sean Dyche spoke of his delight at Burnley changing the narrative after they recorded their first win of the Premier League season with a 3-1 victory over Brentford at Turf Moor.

On the day Dyche reached nine years as the club’s manager, his side scored three times without reply in the first half, via Chris Wood in the fourth minute, Matt Lowton in the 32nd and Maxwel Cornet four minutes later.

The Brentford substitute Saman Ghoddos pulled a goal back with 11 minutes of normal time remaining, but the visitors were unable to spoil Dyche’s anniversary as Burnley took maximum points for the first time in 10 league outings this season, and 13 including the end of last term.

Dyche – whose team moved out of the relegation zone, up a place to 17th – said: “I thought we were excellent first half, the feel of the performance, the mixture of football we found to affect them.

“I’ve been saying recently the performances were good. I’ve been saying about the margins, about the details. It came together today without a doubt. I really liked the energy of the performance in the first half and also some of the quality.

“There was a bit of nervousness in the second half, you expect that. It’s one of those things, and I spoke to the players about it – it’s just kind of controlling the emotion of the game. We’re normally pretty good at that, but when you haven’t had a win, it does play on your mind.”

Burnley grabbed the lead early when Lowton lofted the ball forward on the right and Ethan Pinnock tried to intercept but could not prevent it running to Wood, who cracked a shot beyond the Premier League debutant Álvaro Fernández, replacing the injured David Raya, who is set to be out for several months after damaging ligaments.

The home side doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute as Lowton rose to head in Charlie Taylor’s cross. Burnley fans had barely finished celebrating when their team scored again as Cornet, in delightful fashion, notched his fourth goal in five league appearances since joining the club, bringing down a pass from Dwight McNeil and then smashing the ball past Fernández.

Brentford reduced the deficit via a superb volley from Ghoddos with 11 minutes left, but they could not make things any more nervy for Burnley in the closing stages.

Regarding his nine years in charge, Dyche said: “[The new ownership] have been very patient with what they are seeing, the old owners going out were very patient, and the fans have been very patient.

“I think it is an achievement, I’m aware of that, to be at a club so long in the modern era of football, the demands of it. But my personal take on it is more about the game. I had a glass of wine and a bit of dinner with my staff last night.”

Thomas Frank, whose Brentford side stay 12th after their third successive league defeat, said: “I think it was almost written in the stars that we had to lose today because Sean Dyche had been in charge nine years on this day and done fantastic. So I didn’t want to ruin that party obviously! I already praised Sean before, big respect.

“We have played 10 games in the Premier League, 20 halves, and we have had two bad ones – second half against West Ham and this first half. If we continue with that performance level, then no problem.

“We knew what Burnley would do, we were prepared for it, and then defensively we executed situations very badly … and in those moments, they executed perfectly, so that’s why it went wrong.” PA Media

Scottish roundup: Celtic squander late penalty in draw with Livingston

Giorgos Giakoumakis missed a stoppage-time penalty as Celtic squandered the chance to go top of the cinch Premiership in a goalless home draw with Livingston.

The Greek striker’s weak effort was saved by Max Stryjek after Abi Obileye had gifted the hosts a rare chance when he hit out at Kyogo Furuhashi in the box and received a red card.

Celtic took even longer to get going than their supporters after a 30-minute silent protest against the board and managed only one other shot on target – an Anthony Ralston effort that was cleared off the line just before half-time. The home side had 85 per cent of possession but failed to score against David Martindale’s side for the second time this season.

A win would have put Celtic top, at least until Rangers play Motherwell on Sunday, for the first time since they briefly hit the summit after beating St Mirren 6-0 on August.

The stalemate meant Hearts could have climbed to second, but instead they surrendered their unbeaten record in a 2-1 defeat at Aberdeen.

John Souttar gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after Joe Lewis brought down Josh Ginnelly. But Aberdeen equalised four minutes into the second half through a fierce Marley Watkins drive that gave Craig Gordon no chance.

In the 69th minute Lewis Ferguson rose above everyone else to meet a Dylan McGeouch corner and send a powerful header into the net to win it for the Dons. Hearts’ misery was compounded when Andrew Halliday was sent off a minute from the end.

Dundee United’s seven-game unbeaten run was ended by St Johnstone thanks to Ali Crawford’s first-half goal.

In the 28th minute Cammy MacPherson stole the ball from Jeando Fuchs and played in Crawford, who curled his shot into the bottom corner. United had plenty of chances to equalise but were denied time after time by Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark, who produced an inspirational display.

Dundee bounced back from their 5-0 midweek defeat to Ross County to claim a first league away win of the season at St Mirren. Max Anderson’s 11th-minute curler from the edge of the box was enough to give Dundee victory. The Dark Blues held firm throughout the second half as Jim Goodwin’s men chased an equaliser that never came.

The match between Ross County and Hibernian was postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak in the visitors’ camp.

Championship roundup: Cardiff’s quickfire treble saves point at Stoke

Managerless Cardiff pulled off a remarkable comeback at the Bet365 Stadium, as Stoke let slip a three‑goal lead to draw 3-3.

Jacob Brown put the hosts ahead after 10 minutes and Steven Fletcher grabbed a goal in each half to put them in control. But three goals in five minutes hauled Cardiff level. Rubin Colwill pulled one back in the 66th minute, Mark Harris added a second four minutes later and Kieffer Moore struck almost instantly to complete the fightback.

Victory would have taken Stoke into the top six but they are in ninth. Cardiff, who sacked Mick McCarthy last Saturday, are 21st.

Steve Morison, the Cardiff caretaker, was asked if he feared the worst and said: “Fear the worst? We had the worst, we were 3-0 down, it couldn’t have got much worse, could it? All credit goes to the players, I just told them that standard at 3-0 down wasn’t good enough but the performance after we went 3-0 down is good enough.

“At the minute, we’re not good enough to not be at it because if we aren’t at it then we’re 3-0 quite quickly. But if we perform at that level, we will win games of football.

At the summit Bournemouth continued their remarkable unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 win at Reading. Dominic Solanke opened the scoring with a close-range header just before half-time, and Jamal Lowe added the second with a smart finish just before the hour. The win – their 11th from 15 league games this season – keeps the Cherries five points clear of second-placed Fulham and nine clear of West Brom in third.

Coventry strengthened their position in the play-off places with a 1-0 win at struggling Hull. Matty Godden’s ninth-minute header – helped on its way by poor goalkeeping – was enough to earn them three points.

Coventry are fourth in the table and deserved the victory against meek opposition, whose fans demanded at full-time the dismissal of Grant McCann. Hull have won two league games and remain in the relegation zone, having been promoted as champions.

Huddersfield climbed to fifth after Jonathan Hogg’s late header sank Millwall 1-0. The Huddersfield substitute Josh Koroma and Millwall’s Ryan Leonard were booked with five minutes remaining in a row over time-wasting.

Andreas Weimann’s first-half double ended Nigel Pearson’s Ashton Gate nightmare as Bristol City came from behind to beat Barnsley 2-1. The visitors took a 28th-minute lead through Aaron Leya Iseka. The home fans were becoming restless until Weimann thumped the equaliser past Brad Collins on 42 minutes . He then netted his second in first-half stoppage time.

City held on for a first home success in 18 games, stretching back to 26 January – 15 of them under Pearson.

First-half goals from Jake Bidwell, Joel Piroe and Olivier Ntcham handed Swansea a 3-0 win over Peterborough. Ben Brereton Díaz scored twice in the first 20 minutes as Blackburn beat Derby 2-1, Curtis Davies grabbing a late consolation.

Two goals in three second-half minutes from Marc Roberts and Scott Hogan gave Birmingham a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough, in Neil Warnock’s 1,601st match as a manager. Warnock said: “I will still be disappointed when I get home tonight. I will still be horrible to be with sat next to my missus.”

Emil Riis celebrated his new contract at Preston with both goals in the 2-0 defeat of Luton and Keshi Anderson’s late goal secured a 1-0 victory for Blackpool at Sheffield United.

Buttler blasts England to crushing win over Australia at T20 World Cup

There was a moment, two balls into the 11th over of their innings, when the cameras cut to the balcony outside England’s dressing room, where Eoin Morgan was shaking his head in disbelief. In the middle, Jos Buttler was playing one of the great Twenty20 innings and Australia’s Adam Zampa, having come into the game as the second most economical bowler still in the tournament (after England’s own Chris Woakes), was on his way to departing it as the 32nd. It was not only England’s captain who was finding it all hard to fathom.

It could only ever be so long, a certain number of matches, a limited quantity of emphatically beaten opponents, that England’s critics could reasonably complain that Morgan’s side had not been properly challenged at this World Cup. After they added Australia to the list of teams they have humbled it is clear that when they perform they are just not a team that is particularly challengeable.

This again was a victory forged in the field, but gilded with an innings of brutal magnificence by Buttler. He finished with 71 off 32 balls, having swiftly extinguished the always remote chance of Australia defending their total of 125. More than the toss – which England won, giving them the advantage of batting second – the greatest indicator of the likely victors in this tournament has been supremacy in the powerplay, and this was the second successive game in which England exceeded in three overs the total their opponents reached in six.

By the time their powerplay was over, England’s total was 66 without loss, more than triple Australia’s 21 for three, and Buttler had just deposited one Mitchell Starc delivery over long-off and into the third tier of the stands for six, the next about 20 seats to the left for another, and around the stadium people were groaning and purring with appreciation. Jonny Bairstow later also hit successive sixes, off Zampa, before guiding his side over the line for the loss of two wickets, and with 50 balls to spare.

Even from a side starting to make this kind of performance feel commonplace, this was special. Still, some of England’s achievements felt familiar, and from the start they ripped through a few of their greatest hits, treating the audience to a handful of favourites from their opening two games of this competition, plus a couple from the last time they played Australia in a World Cup, in the semis of the 2019 50-over competition.

Their opponents must be growing tired of some of these tunes by now. Take Marcus Stoinis, who was lbw without scoring to an Adil Rashid googly at Edgbaston two years ago and fell to precisely the same fate here. Stoinis has taken to referring to himself as a rooster, and certainly he looked crestfallen here. Then there was Woakes, player of the match in 2019 and returning to cause a bit more misery, at least until Ashton Agar hit two sixes off his final over.

It seems inexplicable now that Woakes spent nearly six years out of the T20 team before his recall in June, and that despite his success in the Indian Premier League and in other formats for England it was only injuries to others that led to his return. Even those who needed no convincing of his ability must have found his subsequent impact remarkable: over his first eight T20 internationals between 2011 and 2015 his 27 overs had cost an average 9.37 and brought seven wickets; his 17 overs across five games since then have gone at just 4.11 and brought five wickets.

David Warner had batted excellently against Sri Lanka on Thursday night, an innings acclaimed as a return to form after a desperate run of failures in this format. He lasted two balls before Woakes got one to move away off a scrambled seam and take the edge on its way through to Buttler.

In their opening game of the tournament England had West Indies at eight for one and nine for two. Here Australia were seven for one and eight for two, Steve Smith getting the toe of his bat to steer the ball towards mid-on, where Woakes demonstrated his excellence in another aspect of the game with a superb back-pedalling one-handed catch. When Woakes hit both of Glenn Maxwell’s pads with the penultimate bowl of the fourth over and a review failed to save the batsman, it was the 10th wicket England had taken in powerplays at this competition.

The novelty on this occasion was that Moeen Ali, outstanding at the start of the games against West Indies and Bangladesh, did not bowl at all. Morgan instead turned to Liam Livingstone in the middle overs. He demonstrated excellent control and was England’s least expensive bowler; he also took the wicket of Matthew Wade, who hoisted the ball down the throat of Jason Roy at long off.

At that point Australia were 51 for five and it took some late six-hitting from Agar, Pat Cummins and Starc to lift them to a total that, if not defendable, was at least not completely embarrassing. Their match against West Indies now looks crucial in deciding the second-best side in this group; the identity of the first already seems assured.

Guardiola refuses to blame Laporte red for Manchester City’s defeat to Palace

Patrick Vieira said his players “suffered” during their 2-0 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium while Pep Guardiola refused to blame Aymeric Laporte’s red card and Gabriel Jesus’s VAR-adjudged offside goal for the champions’ second defeat of the season.

Wilfried Zaha was the standout performer in what was Palace’s first away win, scoring the opener and later in the first half forcing Laporte, as the last man, to wrestle him to the grass. Laporte was sent off by Andre Marriner and Zaha’s devilry subsequently caused Bernardo Silva to be booked for chopping him down.

Vieira, a former City player and coach, said: “The red card, people may think it was harsh or not harsh, I let them make their opinion. When you come to a place like City you have to be prepared to suffer and hope a decision goes in your favour. All these decisions went in our favour. In the games so far we have been really unlucky and today it went in our favour.”

Zaha also played a key part in the late second scored by Connor Gallagher, who is on loan from Chelsea. Vieira praised the pair. “Both of them, like the rest of the players, work really hard. We knew that coming to City we are not going to have much of the possession.

“We couldn’t allow ourselves one player not taking part in the defensive work. I am really pleased for Wilfried for the goal he scored but even more pleased for how hard he worked.”

Guardiola said of Laporte’s dismissal and Jesus’s cancelled effort: “It could be a yellow card, could be red it depends on the decision of the referee. The goal disallowed – I didn’t see it but I imagine the linesman said offside but we didn’t lose for that.

“We conceded the first goal and after that we work really well but then had to play 10 against 11. We need to do everything right but the players show character.”

Zaha said: “It was about getting in their faces and not letting them play. We know how good they are, we wanted to show them what we could do. I scuffed it but a goal is a goal. I was just buzzing to see it go in so I was happy. Conor Gallagher brings a lot of energy and I need people to link up with and it makes a massive difference when he helps out.

“I feel like we have had a threat but the difference now is that we keep the ball from the back and build and make our chances. We are exploiting our talent.”