Late Drama Denies Hornets Three Points
Watford came away from Glanford Park yesterday just a point better off in spite of their first-half domination and taking the lead for the first time on the day in the 91st minute thanks to midfield workhorse, John Eustace. Poor refereeing cost the Hornet`s a crucial away win; what would have been a first in four months as a 95th minute penalty was awarded to the home side to give Gary Hooper his second of the afternoon after a 'handball` awarded against Jay DeMerit.
Tom Cleverley returned to the starting eleven after a calf injury meaning Ross Jenkins dropped down the bench and Heidar Helguson partnered Danny Graham up top after being ineligible to face parent club, Queens Park Rangers.
The visitors put the Iron under the cosh early on and a goalmouth saw the ball stay out the net as Danny Graham nodded straight at 'keeper Joe Murphy.
Just before half-time the Hornet`s were made to pay for not taking their first-half chances as former Southend United striker Gary Hooper opened the scoring. Put through by a perfect through ball from striker partner Paul Hayes, Hooper finished neatly one-on-one with curled effort that was placed perfectly into the left-hand corner.
The Hornet`s leveler came in the 64th minute after another goalmouth scramble, Danny Graham, (just one goal in his last twenty starts for the Golden Boys), managed to hook the ball home in a crowded penalty area.
However with just eight minutes to go, the Hornet`s chances of grabbing all three points were dealt a huge blow and Tom Cleverley clattered former Crewe midfielder, Michael O`Connor. If replays are anything to go by, then O`Connor should`ve followed the United loanee down the tunnel for throwing a punch at Cleverley in reply to the tackle.
But, Watford belied their man disadvantage and in the 91st minute took the lead for the first time in the game, the unlikely goalscorer, John Eustace. From sub Jon Harley`s corner the midfielder was able to loop a diving header into the far bottom corner to seemingly hand the 'Orns an invaluable three points on the road.
In a game of drama however, the Iron were handed, literally, a 95th minute penalty as Cliff Byrne`s wayward volley hit the arm of Jay DeMerit, which was presumably out to give the defender, balanced on one leg, some balance. However the referee saw it differently and up stepped Gary Hooper to convert his 13th Championship goal of the season.
Scunthorpe United: Murphy; Byrne (c), Mirfin, Raynes, Williams; Sparrow, O`Connor (Forte), McCann (Thompson), Woolford (Togwell); Hayes and Hooper.
Subs not used: Lillis (gk); J.Wright, McDermott, Milne.
Watford: Loach; Mariappa, Taylor, DeMerit (c), Doyley; Cowie, Lansbury, Eustace, Cleverley; Helguson (Harley) and Graham.
Subs not used: Lee (gk); McGinn, Jenkins, Hoskins, Henderson and Hodson.
Referee: Mr D Webb