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Vicarage Road Stadium (ATT 15,915) 16th September 2007 - Kick off 13:15 Ref: G Salisbury

Watford Watford vs Southampton Southampton

Henderson sends Hornets top

Watford edge Southampton in thriller

By Andrew Scurr.   Last Updated: 16/09/07 3:32pm

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Henderson: Super sub

Henderson: Super sub

Substitute Darius Henderson scored a goal deep into stoppage time to give Watford a 3-2 victory over Southampton in a thoroughly exciting contest at Vicarage Road.

Adrian Boothroyd's side went top of the Championship after scoring twice in the final ten minutes to take all three points.

Defender Danny Shittu headed Watford ahead on 42 minutes, only for Grzegorz Rasiak to equalise before half-time. Nathan Dyer then gave Saints the lead against the run of play before Henderson's first with ten minutes remaining.

The striker then netted the winner in the third minute of added time to maintain The Hornets' 100 per cent home record at the start of the new season.

Watford were on top to start the game but almost went behind on 10 minutes when Shittu inadvertently headed a Southampton free-kick towards his own goal which forced a save from Mart Poom as he tipped the ball onto the post.

Kelvin Davis had already been busy in the Saints goal when he produced a terrific double save to deny first Tommy Smith from close range and then Lee Williamson's follow-up volley from 18 yards.

Watford took a deserved lead three minutes before the break as a Davis mistake allowed Smith to pick up the ball and stand up a cross to the back post which Shittu climbed highest to meet and head home from a yard out.

But with virtually the last kick of the half Rasiak pounced to pull Southampton level with a neat finish past Poom into the bottom corner after Dyer played the Polish striker in with a perfect pass.

The Hornets should have retaken the lead moments after the restart, however strikers Marlon King and Nathan Ellington were both thwarted by the excellent Davis when Watford looked sure to score.

Davis was keeping Southampton in it and he again frustrated Watford in the 57th minute when Smith's header looked like looping underneath the crossbar, only for the Saints goalkeeper to palm the ball away.

Southampton struck against the run of play on 70 minutes through Dyer. The young winger picked the ball up in midfield before unleashing a curling effort from 25 yards which found the corner of Poom's goal.

Their lead lasted just ten minutes when Adam Johnson and Lloyd Doyley linked up down the right-hand side and the latter fired a ball across the face of Davis' goal that was finished by Henderson at the back post.

Watford almost had a winner when Smith flashed a shot narrowly wide but the home side still had time to claim all three points when Henderson found the back of the net for the second time from inside the six-yard box after Saints failed to clear a free-kick.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Nottingham Forest 8 18
2 Norwich City 8 17
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 17
4 Watford 8 16
5 Middlesbrough 8 15
6 Sheffield Wednesday 8 15
7 Charlton Athletic 8 14
8 Derby County 8 13
9 Blackburn Rovers 8 13
10 Reading 8 13
11 Leeds United 8 13
12 Ipswich Town 7 11
13 Millwall 8 11
14 Brentford 8 11
15 Bournemouth 8 9
16 Cardiff City 8 9
17 Wigan Athletic 7 8
18 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 8
19 Rotherham United 8 8
20 Birmingham City 8 7
21 Bolton Wanderers 8 5
22 Huddersfield Town 8 5
23 Blackpool 8 2
24 Fulham 8 1

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