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Ward-Prowse strike caps Southampton's late fightback

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SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) - James Ward-Prowse struck a stunning free kick seven minutes from time as Southampton fought back from a goal down to beat fellow strugglers Watford 2-1 on Saturday and record their first home Premier League win this season.

Southampton came into the game with the weakest defence in the league, and it sprung another leak midway through the first half as Ismaila Sarr chased down a ball over the top and clipped it confidently into the net to put the visitors ahead.

The goal by the powerful Senegalese 21-year-old was just the ninth of the season for Watford, making them the least-potent attack in the Premier League behind Norwich and Everton who have scored 13.

With Southampton pouring forward, second-half substitute Shane Long had a shot cleared off the line before Danny Ings bundled the ball home from close range in the 78th minute after Moussa Djenepo’s brilliant dribble set up the chance.

Fired up by the equaliser, Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg won a free kick on the edge of the area and Ward-Prowse smashed it into the top corner, sending the home crowd into raptures.

The win moved Southampton above Norwich into 18th place on 12 points while Watford remained bottom on eight.

“To go 1-0 down tonight and then to come back and win the game like that shows the character of the lads. We’re all together, the fans, you could tell by the atmosphere, it was great at the end,” Ings told Sky Sports.

“I always say it’s under-rated how much the fans mean to you at home games. We’ve got to make other teams not want to be here when we’re playing them, and tonight I thought the fans were unbelievable,” he added.

Reporting by Philip O’Connor, editing by Ed Osmond