Memorable Match: Watford 5-2 Southampton - Seven-goal thriller in League Cup clash
Photo by Getty Images/Phil Cole

In a crucial clash in the lower reaches of the Premier League table, Watford travel to the south coast to face Southampton this weekend, and nothing less than three points will be considered necessary for either side.

That's particularly the case for the latter, who currently occupy the very foot of the standings, a position they were consigned to after an abject performance saw them lose at home to Burnley last Saturday. Second half goals from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski were ultimately sunk the Hornets, derailing any positivity which had been mustered before the break.

The Saints, meanwhile, will be buoyed by their point against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend. Goals from Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse put the visitors ahead until the sixth minute of stoppage time, when Alexandre Lacazette scored his second of the game to rescue a point for the Gunners.

Attacking productivity has been lacking for Watford of late, and perhaps they will be hoping to emulate the showing produced by their Hornets ancestors back in 2004 in a League Cup clash at Vicarage Road — top flight Southampton were put to the sword by the then-second division side in Hertfordshire.

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Story of the match

As far as their league exertions were concerned, Watford had started the season with some force, but the visit of the Saints saw them in the midst of a quite remarkable barren run in which they drew eight out of nine matches.

As for Southampton, they were situated in the bottom three of the top tier, with just a solitary win from their opening 12 games of the campaign.

League form is usually seen to be tossed out of the window when cup fixtures roll around, but the visitors' sorry predicament in fact gave a teetering Watford side the perfect opportunity to pounce.

They would capitalise on their first notable chance of the encounter. Neil Ardley whipped in a teasing set-piece which met Bruce Dyer in the box to head home, sending the home crowd into raptures.

And their ascendency continued almost immediately after the break. Ardley was one again the provider with an exquisite corner kick which was then prodded home by James Chambers who had been lurking at the back post.

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Chambers, a full-back, notched his second ten minutes later, smashing home a pass across goal from Jermaine Darlington who had done well to retain possession in the penalty area.

Striker and top scorer Heidar Helguson then got in on the act. After the ball was turned over in midfield, Brynjar Gunnarsson supplied the Finn with an exquisite lobbed pass into the box, and the prolific forward duly side-footed a volley past goalkeeper Alan Blayney.

With Watford now four goals to the good, Vicarage Road could not believe its eyes.

Southampton eared a consolation through substitute Dexter Blackstock in the 84th minute, though it really would prove no more than that as the Hornets went straight down the other end to restore their previous advantage, with Hameur Bouazza firing home emphatically.

The visitors pegged another goal back with a deft header from Brett Ormerod, but their late display of attacking productivity was too little, too late. After an enthralling and frankly outrageous evening of football, Watford had secured their spot in the Fifth Round of the League Cup.

What happened next?

Watford would in fact advance to the semi-finals of the competition, defeating another south coast outfit in Portsmouth in Round Five. But their they would lock horns with powerhouses in the shape of Liverpool, who comfortably dispatched them 2-0 on aggregate in the two-legged tie that ensued.

In the league, Watford eventually finished 18th. It was an unsatisfactory season in Hertfordshire, and manager Ray Lewington was replaced by Aidy Boothroyd in March, the man that would go on to earn the Hornets promotion to the Premier League in the following season.

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Meanwhile, Southampton finished bottom of the top flight in 2004/05, and would not return there until 2012 after a spell of mediocrity which even saw them drop down to League One for two years.

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