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Monday 18 November 2019

'I want points... not prizes' says Long

Irish striker prefers Saints' safety to scoring Premier's fastest goal

QUICK ON THE DRAW: Shane Long scores for Southampton against Watford after less than eight seconds on Tuesday night
QUICK ON THE DRAW: Shane Long scores for Southampton against Watford after less than eight seconds on Tuesday night

Shane Long had mixed emotions after writing his name in the Premier League record books.

The Southampton striker scored the fastest goal in Premier League history when he netted after just 7.69 seconds against Watford on Tuesday night.

But Saints could not hold on and hosts Watford hit back with a last-minute equaliser from Andre Gray to snatch a 1-1 draw.

"It's nice. I didn't find out until after the game and I didn't know what the record was before," Ireland striker Long said.

"Records like that are nice to have I suppose, but it's just disappointing that it wasn't a goal to get three points because I thought we deserved it.

"But Watford are a good side - they are where they are in the league for a reason, so fair play to them for coming back."

Amazingly, Long's landmark goal came from Watford's kick-off. Roberto Pereyra played the ball from the centre circle back to defender Craig Cathcart some 40 yards from his own goal.

As Cathcart attempted to launch the ball upfield, Long charged it down and raced through before lifting it over Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The goal was a fraction more than two seconds quicker than the Premier League's previous fastest, scored by Tottenham's Ledley King against Bradford in December 2000.

"In every game you want to show your intent from the first kick and put them under pressure," added Tipperary-born Long.

"Mainly it's just to force that long ball so they're not quite set. Luckily I blocked it, it dropped nicely and I took a touch across Craig. I know Ben from West Brom and he's an amazing keeper. He spreads himself so well and from watching clips I knew the dinked finish was my best option of scoring. Thankfully it came off."

JOY: Shane Long celebrates his goal with Southampton team-mates but the Saints had to settle for a draw at Watford
JOY: Shane Long celebrates his goal with Southampton team-mates but the Saints had to settle for a draw at Watford

A point moved Saints six clear of Cardiff in the final relegation spot and kept FA Cup finalists Watford firmly in the hunt for seventh place.

Gray, who swept home from close range with 26 seconds of normal time remaining, told Watford's website: "It's a point earned.

"We were losing and the game was getting on. Considering everything in the game, it was a good point and every one we get is massive for us."

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