Stunning Comeback Moves Watford Up To Third
Sat 28th Feb - 3:00pm
Watford won yet another dramatic game in what is turning out to be an incredible season as they came back from 2-0 at Elland Road to beat Leeds Utd 3-2. Billy Sharp pounced after a defensive mistake to give Leeds the lead after seven minutes before Rodolph Austin's brilliant volley doubled the lead after 20 minutes. Troy Deeney pulled one back for Watford before half time and two second half goals from Matej Vydra saw the Hornets complete the turnaround and move up to third in the table.
Slavisa Jokanovic made three changes to the Watford side that beat Rotherham Utd 3-0 on Tuesday. Juan Carlos Paredes and Ikechi Anya returned at full back in place of Tommie Hoban and Gabriele Angella, with Craig Cathcart returning to centre-back. Odion Ighalo was left out with a slight hamstring injury giving Matej Vydra the chance to start in attack.
Neil Redfearn was deprived of regular strike Steve Morison who missed the game through injury meaning a return to the starting XI for Billy Sharp. Guiseppe Bellusci missed the game as he served the second of his two game ban after picking up ten yellow cards for the season last weekend.
Leeds started the game positively and took the lead after seven minutes with the first chance of the game. A long ball forward from the Leeds midfield saw Ikechi Anya and Heurelho Gomes get in a mix-up which saw Anya attempt a back headed with Gomes out of his goal. The Brazilian managed to spare Anya an own goal but the ball broke to Billy Sharp who finished into an empty net.
The hosts looked to press home their advantage after a good start and Gomes was called into action again after 12 minutes when Lewis Cook drove goal wards from long range but his effort was well saved.
Leeds continued to attack with purpose and doubled their lead after 20 minutes with a phenomenal strike from Rodolph Austin. A long ball forward saw Sam Byram win a header on the edge of the Watford box with the ball breaking to Austin who hit a shot first time on the volley from the corner angle of the area over Gomes and into the far corner.
The Hornets slowly managed to claw their way back into the game and created their first clear cut chance after half an hour when Troy Deeney played in Juan Carlos Paredes in the box but his low shot was saved by Marco Silvestri with Matej Vydra's follow up saved the Leeds goalkeeper as well.
Watford did get themselves at foothold in the game when they pulled a goal back after 39 minutes through Deeney. Good build up play in midfield saw Vydra play a ball for Deeney in behind the Leeds defence. The Watford number nine out muscled Sol Bamba and finished coolly past Silvestre into the bottom corner.
Despite a disappointing first half the Hornets almost found themselves going in level at the break when Deeney controlled the ball and found Ben Watson in the box but he miscued his effort and sliced the ball over the bar.
Half Time: Leeds Utd 2-1 Watford
The Hornets came out for the second half very slow out the traps and were fortunate not to fall further behind. Sharp turned with the ball and played Austin clean through behind the Watford defence. His first effort was brilliantly saved by Gomes before substitute Gabriele Angella got back on the goal line to deny Austin with his second attempt.
Just a minute later Leeds missed another good chance when another break into the Watford box saw Luke Murphy arrive and collect the ball but fire well over from a good position.
Having ridden out that rough period at the start of the second half Watford then pounced and came back to equalise after 56 minutes. An excellent passing move involving Daniel Tozser, Almen Abdi and Vydra saw Deeney collect the ball on the corner angle of the Leeds box. His crossed low for Vydra to smash in left footed from close range to bring the Hornets level.
Watford then took the initiative and could have taken the lead just minutes later when Vydra got through one-on-one with Silvestri but fired his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Watson then had another good chance immediately after when he received the ball inside the area and hit a low effort that went just wide of the far post.
Leeds continued to attack with potency themselves with Angella having to be at his best to nick the ball off Sam Byram's toe as he lined up a close range shot after being found in the area by Alex Mowatt.
The Hornets continued to get closer in the search for a winner that would complete the comeback and Abdi came mighty close to Watford's third when he shot inches wide after being teed up by Deeney on the edge of the Leeds box.
However, with nine minutes to go, Watford did complete the comeback and took the lead for the first time in the game with Vydra's second of the afternoon. Watford counter-attacked with pace after winning the ball back with Deeney's incisive pass finding Vydra clean through on goal. His first shot was saved by Silvestri but he got back up to bundle in the rebound past Sol Bamba in the six yard box.
Leeds put on late pressure in the attempt to find an equaliser. They forced a flurry of late corners but the closest they came was Luke Murphy's long range effort which went high and wide of the Watford goal.
Full Time: Leeds Utd 2-3 Watford
Leeds Utd: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Cook, Murphy, Austin (Adryan), Byram (Cani), Mowatt (Antenucci), Sharp
Subs Not Used: Taylor (GK), Berardi, Sloth, Walters
Watford: Gomes, Paredes (Hoban), Cathcart, Ekstrand (Angella), Anya, Watson, Layun (Munari), Tozser, Abdi, Vydra, Deeney
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Pudil, Motta, Forestieri
Att: 24,705 (1,194 Hornets)
Ref: Mr Andy Haines