Robins Come From Behind Twice To Deny Hornets
Sat 22nd Sep - 3:00pm
Watford arrested their run of four consecutive defeats by getting a point in 2-2 draw with Bristol City in an entertaining second half at Vicarage Road.
Watford made two changes to the side that lost to Brighton on Tuesday with Nathaniel Chalobah and Sean Murray replacing Jonathan Hogg and Chris Iwelumo respectively. There was also a place on the bench for Troy Deeney for the first time this season following his release from jail ten days ago.
Lining up for Bristol City was summer Hornets target Tom Heaton who had been identified as a possible target by the previous management regime.
Watford dominated most of the early stages with possession but struggled to fashion clear chances against a well organised Bristol City defence. Although restricted to mainly long range efforts almost throughout the fist half Watford went close on a few occasions through Chalobah, Fernando Forestieri and Mark Yeates.
Sean Murray wasted Watford`s best opening with a tame effort after the ball had been laid back to him inside the area by Matej Vydra after some good link up play. Neuton had the ball in the net just before the interval but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The closest Watford came was in the last minute of first half stoppage time with Almen Abdi breaking onto a loose ball, his fierce shot was pushed onto the post by Tom Heaton in the Bristol City goal.
Half Time: 0-0
After a close first half in which neither side managed to break the shackles the second half turned into a pulsating end to end affair with both sides creating a host of chances.
Bristol City should really have taken the lead moments into the second half when Neuton was caught out by a long ball and Sam Baldock laid the ball across the box to Martyn Woolford who with Almunia scrambling across his goal could only hit the post with his effort.
Moments later a scramble in the Bristol City box almost saw Watford take the lead with both Marco Cassetti and Forestieri both denied from close range.
The substitution of Forestieri for Troy Deeney and the move to the 3-5-2 formation saw the game change for Watford as the crowd were lifted and Deeney provided a presence in the final third. With his first touches he turned the Bristol City defence and unleashed a fierce shot which was parried by Heaton but Vydra could only out the rebound wide.
Watford did make the breakthrough eventually after good play from Murray down the right freed Cassetti and his cross was turned into his own net by James Wilson with Deeney lurking behind him.
However, the lead did not last long as Bristol City equalised by four minutes later, when Cassetti was beaten too easily on the wing by Joe Bryan and his cross was headed in by Marvin Elliott.
The Robins nearly took the lead midway through the second half when Neuton slashed at a bouncing ball and Albert Adomah had a shot blocked by Daniel Pudil and Ryan Taylor and Sam Baldock were also denied in the resulting scramble.
Watford did retake the lead after 71 minutes when a angled ball from Daniel Pudil was brilliantly controlled by Matej Vydra and he turned inside the defender and finished into the bottom corner.
However, the Robins always looked like they had a goal in them and they equalised for the second time with just seven minutes left. A long ball forward was knocked on by Baldock to the left hand side and Woolford`s cross found Steven Davies whose initial shot was brilliantly saved by Almunia but the rebound hit the striker and rolled in.
Both sides then missed great chances to win it as Deeney saw a late header hit the inside of the post and in stoppage time substitute Neil Kilkenny shot over from inside the box following an incisive break.
Gianfranco Zola`s side had to settle for a point then despite looking for a long time like they would convert a good attacking performance into three points, before old defensive deficiencies cost them the victory.
Watford: Almunia, Cassetti (Doyley), Nosworthy, Neuton (Hall), Pudil, Abdi, Yeates, Chalobah, Murray, Forestieri (Deeney), Vydra
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Smith, Iwelumo Beleck
Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Fontaine, Wilson, Bryan, Adomah, Pearson, Elliott (Davies), Woolford (Kilkenny), Baldock (Morris), Taylor
Referee: Mr D Sheldrake