Blackpool 2-2 Watford
WATFORD BLEW a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Bloomfield Road, failing to build on an excellent start before finding themselves on the back foot for the final hour of the game.
Watford took an early lead when Ikechi Anya scored in the fourth minute. Troy Deeney doubled that lead after 22 minutes. The second-half was all Blackpool, with former Hornet Kevin Phillips getting Blackpool`s first before substitute Isiah Osbourne bagged an injury-time leveller.
Gianfranco Zola made four changes to his side, Lloyd Doyley, Jonathan Hogg, Marco Cassetti and Fernando Forestieri dropped out with Fitz Hall, Cristian Battocchio, Anya and Matej Vydra coming in. Battocchio was making his first start for the club since signing on-loan from Udinese.
Michael Appleton went with Phillips up front again, Nathan Delfouneso playing in behind. New signing Wes Thomas was amongst the substitutes.
Watford made an ideal start, Anya following-up his superb showing at Leeds by finishing off a flowing Watford move to hand the Hornets a fourth-minute lead.
Manuel Almunia dealt with a corner, bowling out quickly to debutant Battocchio who found Vydra who in turn found Anya to bag his second Hornet`s goal.
Deeney nearly created a second goal four minutes later; finding Vydra who`s cross for Nathaniel Chalobah was cleared for a corner.
In the 22nd minute Mark Yeates floated in a free-kick which fell perfectly for Deeney to stab home from close-range, his fifth of the season.
Almunia nearly undid Watford`s good work when his clearance only found Phillips who got up well to head narrowly over.
Yeates could have added a third seconds before half time when he darted into the penalty area before cracking into the side netting on his left foot.
Blackpool had the first chance of the second half, substitute Tiago Gomes slipping in Tom Ince who shot straight at Almunia.
Watford failed to heed that warning and in the 51st minute Phillips halved the deficit from Chris Basham`s pull-back after the Hornets failed to clear their lines.
Nathan Delfouneso could have equalised shortly after the hour mark, but instead heading straight at Almunia from Kirk Broadfoot`s cross.
Gomes was the next to try his luck, Almunia palming the midfielder`s 25 yard effort over the bar.
Ince hard Watford hearts in mouths when he hit the crossbar with an almost inch-perfect curled effort.
With six minutes left, debutant Wes Thomas saw his header well stopped by Almunia who pushed the effort around the post for a corner.
With five minutes of injury time announced, Osbourne bagged a deserved equaliser for Appleton`s side with a curled 20-yard strike following Ince`s mazy run.
Blackpool: Gilks; Broadfoot, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey; Basham, Sylvestre (Osbourne); Grandin (Gomes), Delfouneso, Ince; K. Phillips (Thomas).
Subs not used: Harris, Angel, Dicko, & Halstead (GK).
Watford: Almunia (c); Ekstrand, Hall, Hoban; Anya (Cassetti), Yeates (Murray), Battocchio, Chalobah, Pudil; Deeney & Vydra (Forestieri).
Subs not used: Thompson, Smith, Geijo & Bond (GK).
Attendance: 13 076
Referee: Mr K Wright.