Hornets Bag All Three Points In Thriller
Tue 14th Feb - 7:45pm
A REFEREEING howler of the highest order nearly cost Watford two points in a thrilling game at Vicarage Road. Having battled back from 2-1 down the Hornet's nearly had their 3-2 lead blown by referee Mr David Webb after dismissing Lloyd Doyley for an offence committed by Adrian Mariappa which did not warrant a red card either.
Watford made one change from the weekend's draw with Nottingham Forest, with Chris Iwelumo replacing the injured Troy Deeney. And it was Watford that started brightly scoring after just five minutes.
Alex Kacaniklic's run down the left was abruptly ended by Matt Mills, and Sean Murray's whipped free kick was headed in at the near post by Adrian Mariappa for his first goal of the season.
Watford continued to press on forcing a series of corners, however Leicester looked dangerous on the break and equalised after eleven minutes. Following a Watford corner Leicester broke quickly and when Lee Hodson failed to close down David Nugent he curled his shot from the corner angle of the penalty area into the bottom corner.
Watford missed a great chance to retake the lead just moments later when after neat build up play Jonathan Hogg's deflected effort found Kacaniklic six yards out but he somehow managed to miss the target.
From the resulting goal kick Leicester took the lead. Kaspars Schmeichel's long kick forward was flicked by Jermaine Beckford and Nugent controlled and finished expertly from the edge of the box sending the ball into the top corner, leaving Scott Loach with no chance.
A period of Leicester pressured ensued with Danny Drinkwater firing wide and Beckford having a goalbound effort deflected for a corner.
However, Watford levelled the game up just after the half hour mark with Sean Murray's first senior goal. After a free kick was given away by Matt Mills, Murray shot from 30 yards was deflected into the bottom corner with Schmeichel diving the wrong way.
Half Time: 2-2
The second half was a more subdued affair with both sides creating fewer chances. Watford had a good chance to retake the lead on 51 minutes when half time substitute Craig Forsyth's cross was not cleared by another half time sub, Wes Morgan, and Joe Garner fired just wide.
Leicester started to gain the upper hand and missed a great chance to retake the lead themselves. Good approach play from the Foxes saw Sean St Ledger played in down the right and his cross was somehow headed over by Beckford from close range.
Leicester continued to press and Loach had to save smartly from both Beckford and Paul Gallagher. Watford also survived a goalmouth scramble after they failed to clear a Leicester corner.
The decisive moment in the game came with 10 minutes to go when Watford retook the lead. After Watford had broken forward Joe Garner and John Eustace combined to bundle the ball through to Forsyth who struck the ball cleanly past Schmeichel into the far corner of the goal. A goal reminiscent of his strike against Bradford in the FA Cup last month.
Watford then looked to secure their lead when the games controversial moment occurred. Following a long Schmeichel clearance Beckford threatened to get in behind Mariappa who pulled him down. A free kick was awarded and Watford looked to escape further punishment as Doyley seemed to be clearly covering Beckford's path therefore avoiding a red card for Mariappa.
However, to everybody amazement the referee and linesman decided to issue a red card to Lloyd Doyley, who had absolutely no involvement in the incident at all. Despite Watford's protests Doyley had to go as the referee refused to change his mind. Watford survived the free kick and held on for another crucial three points, although all the post match talk will be of the horror show on display from Mr Webb.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Doyley; Murray (Forsyth), Hogg, Eustace (c), Kacaniklic (Dickinson); Garner (Buaben) & Iwelumo.
Subs: Gilmartin (GK) & Yeates.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Peltier (Morgan), Mills (c), St. Ledger, Konchesky; Gallagher, Wellens, Drinkwater (Danns), Dyer (Howard); Nugent, Beckford.
Subs: Marshall & Logan (GK). BR>
Referee: Mr D Webb.