Seagulls Defeat Hornets At Vicarage Road
Tue 18th Sep - 7:45pm
Watford suffered their third consecutive defeat this evening after a disappointing reverse against high flyers Brighton & Hove Albion.
Hornets boss Gianfranco Zola made two changes to the side that lost at Bolton at the weekend with Marco Cassetti and Fernando Forestieri replacing Lloyd Doyley and Sean Murray. Meanwhile, lining up for Brighton were Watford old boys Thomasz Kuszczak, Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley.
Watford made an impressive start to the match penning Brighton back into their own half, moving the ball quickly and creating space in between the lines. Following angled balls up to lone striker Chris Iwelumo, Forestieri, making his first start for the Hornets saw his deflected effort bounce just the wrong side of the post.
Other early efforts saw Matej Vydra have a goalbound effort blocked by Albion left back Wayne Bridge and a flurry of balls played across the box that would not quite fall for any Watford players.
Brighton grew into the game and looked dangerous on the break with their pace in wide areas causing Watford defenders Neuton and Marco Cassetti particular problems. Indeed Cassetti was lucky to escape with just a yellow card after a poor tackle in Liam Bridcutt midway through the first half.
As the half wore on Watford`s defence started to crumble as they received little support from the players in more forward positions. Indeed, poor tracking back saw Brighton midfielder Dean Hammond break into the box totally unmarked and saw his close range effort well saved by Manuel Almunia.
As the half drew to a close Albion also went close with efforts from Craig Mackail-Smith and Gary Dicker, whilst Cassetti was lucky to escape a second yellow for a tug on Will Buckley moments before the interval.
Half Time: 0-0
Brighton took the lead just five minutes into the second half after another passage of sloppy Watford defending. Centre-Back Neuton making just his second start, failed to deal with an arial ball and Daniel Pudil brought down Mackail-Smith as he ran into the area.
Mackail-Smith then stepped up to despatch the penalty himself, emphatically past Almunia in goal.
Watford struggled to find a cohesive response to going behind as Brighton defended in numbers and denied Watford space in dangerous areas of the pitch. Fernando Forestieri did manage one piece of trickery however, but his shot from the edge of the area just clipped the top of the bar.
Brighton could have made it two midway through the second half when Neuton, who endured a torrid evening, was turned by Ashley Barnes and he found Mackail-Smith but fired over from inside the area.
The last ten minutes of the game were the shrouded in controversy as Watford felt aggrieved at being denied a penalty on two occasions by referee Darren Drysdale. First Jonathan Hogg went down inside the area after being blocked off when trying to reach a return pass and then substitute Nathaniel Chalobah, on debut, was also denied a spot kick when he was brought down by Ashley Barnes inside the area.
The game descended into further chaos when a flare up in the area between Daniel Pudil and Ashley Barnes saw the Brighton man throw Pudil to the ground but escape with only a yellow card.
But Brighton held on to the claim all three points, whilst it is back to the drawing board for Gianfranco Zola who now prepares his charges for the visit of Bristol City to Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Watford: Almunia, Cassetti (Doyley), Nosworthy, Neuton, Pudil, Hogg, Yeates, Abdi, Forestieri (Chalobah), Vydra, Iwelumo (Beleck)
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Hoban, Forsyth, Smith
Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno (Calderon), El-Abd, Greer, Bridge, Hammond, Dicker, Bridcutt, Orlandi (Barnes), Buckley, Mackail-Smith (Dobbie)
Subs Not Used: Ankergren (GK), Dunk, Harley, Lopez
Referee: Mr D Drysdale