Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Saturday November 2 2013
WATFORD were soundly beaten by in-form Leicester City at Vicarage Road this afternoon, with the Foxes capitalising on the Hornets' shortcomings to win 3-0.
Chris Wood put the visitors ahead in the 10th minute in the most fortuitous of circumstances before villain of the Play-Off semi-final Anthony Knockaert inevitably added a second after the re-start.
Gianfranco Zola`s men rallied after falling two goals behind but were unable to make their possession, territory or chances pay off and were eventually put to bed when Lloyd Dyer sprinted clear and saw his effort deflect off Manuel Almunia before looping home.
There was one change for Watford, with Ikechi Anya replacing Davide Faraoni down the right. Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson brought Wood into his starting XI in place of Jamie Vardy. Jeffrey Schlupp started at left-back with Paul Konchesky left out altogether.
It was Wood who got the opener in the 10th minute, the big Kiwi reaping the rewards of closing down Almunia as the Hornets` captain cleared on his left foot, straight into the Foxes forward who deflected the ball home.
Watford had gone close five minutes earlier when Joel Ekstrand clipped the ball down the left for Daniel Pudil to scamper after. The Czech crossed for Troy Deeney who saw his shot blocked before Anya flashed narrowly over with the follow-up.
In the 20th minute, Lewis McGugan did well to win the ball back with the aid of Fernando Forestieri and travelled infield from the left, offloading the ball to Sean Murray who fluffed his lines outside the area with McGugan in room to shoot.
The Hornets forced Kasper Schmeichel into his first meaningful save 10 minutes before the break when Murray switched the play to Anya who fed McGugan inside the area, the former Forest man twice denied by the agility of the Dane at his near post.
Another poor back pass - this time from Lloyd Doyley - caught out Almunia earning Leicester a corner kick from which Knockaert crossed for Wes Morgan to send a header narrowly over the crossbar.
Almunia redeemed himself seconds before the break, pawing away Gabriele Angella`s goalbound interception after David Nugent had sent a wicked right-wing centre across the face of the Hornets penalty area.
Two minutes after the re-start, McGugan signalled Watford`s intentions when he lashed a 25-yard free-kick narrowly over Schmeichel`s cross bar from a relatively central position.
Wood and Knockaert combined well shortly after, Knockaert dragging a shot agonizingly wide of Almunia`s post as he searched for revenge at the scene of his infamous tears.
A minute later the Frenchman avenged his penalty miss, collecting Dyer`s centre after the winger had combined well with Schlupp down the left, guiding a well-placed effort beyond Almunia and into the roof of the Spaniard`s net to make it 2-0.
Knockaert was understandably jubilant and celebrated vociferously enough to earn himself a booking in the process.
Watford responded through substitute Diego Fabbrini, who set Anya away down the right, the Scot crossing low and dangerously for Forestieri who was incredibly denied by Schmeichel from close-range.
Three minutes later Anya had an even better chance of his own, slipped in by Fabbrini, the diminutive wing-back could only slash his shot comfortably wide of Schmeichel`s near-post when well placed on the right-hand side of the 18 yard box.
Anya sent another tantalising delivery in for Deeney just after the hour and with Schmeichel already prone, the Hornets top-scorer could only fling himself at the cross and jab wide of an open goal.
Watford remained on top but were unable to force a way past Schmeichel and with four minutes remaining, the Foxes broke down the left with the energetic Dyer, who motored past substitute Marco Cassetti before firing in off Almunia to complete a thoroughly miserable day for Watford.
Watford: Almunia (capt); Doyley (Cassetti), Angella, Ekstrand; Anya, McGugan, McEachran, Murray (Fabbrini), Pudil (Faraoni); Deeney & Forestieri.
Subs not used: Bond (GK), Battocchio, Acuna & Iriney.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Moore, Wasilewski, Morgan (capt), Schlupp; Knockaert (Hammond), King, Drinkwater, Dyer; Wood (James) & Nugent (Taylor-Fletcher).
Subs not used: Logan (GK), Hopper, Bakayogo & Miquel.
Attendance: 16 011
Referee: Mr R East
Date:Saturday November 2 2013
Pozzo Round-up: November (Sunday December 8 2013)
Zola bemoans crucial refereeing decisions at Leeds (Sunday December 8 2013)
Watford handed away tie in FA Cup (Sunday December 8 2013)
FA Cup: Watford ball No.40 in 3rd round draw (Sunday December 8 2013)
Stats: Leeds v Watford (Saturday December 7 2013)
Hornets snatch late point at Elland Road (Saturday December 7 2013)
Starting XIs: Leeds United v Watford (Saturday December 7 2013)
Opposing View: Leeds United (Friday December 6 2013)
Preview: Leeds United (A) - December 7 (Thursday December 5 2013)
Opinion: Time to get behind the players (Thursday December 5 2013)
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