Watford Battle To Victory Over Fulham
Tue 03rd Mar - 7:45pm
Watford produced a battling performance to secure a third straight league win as they beat Fulham 1-0 at Vicarage Road. A ninth minute volley from Troy Deeney gave the Hornets that all important goal. Matej Vydra hit the bar in the first half as Watford pushed for a second before Heurelho Gomes denied Ross McCormack late on with an excellent save to preserve the Hornets victory.
Slavisa Jokanovic made five changes from the Watford side that won 3-2 at Leeds Utd on Saturday. Gabriele Angella came in for the injured Joel Ekstrand whilst Marco Motta and Daniel Pudil came in for Juan Carlos Paredes and Ikechi Anya. Tommie Hoban came in for Daniel Tozser as the Hornets reverted to a 3-5-2 formation while in midfield Adlene Guedioura came in for Miguel Layun.
Fulham were without Scott Parker and Lasse Vigen Christensen who both missed the game. Former Hornet loanee Alex Kacaniklic was on the bench for the game at Vicarage Road.
The game started as a very cagey affair with the visitors looking composed on the ball but neither side looked like creating a clear opening.
Watford did however take the lead after just nine minutes through Troy Deeney with the first shot of the game. Almen Abdi's near post corner was met by Craig Cathcart. His header was saved by Marcus Bettinelli but Deeney was on hand to volley in the rebound from a difficult angle.
The visitors looked dangerous going forward however and created a chance to equalise when Ross McCormack cut in from the left hand side and let fly forcing Heurelho Gomes into a smart save.
Watford also looked like they could add to their tally and Abdi had a low effort saved by Bettinelli when he ran onto a lay off from Deeney.
Fulham came close to levelling the scoreline after half an hour when Gomes was beating to a long ball in the box. The rebound was headed goalwards by Ryan Tunnicliffe but Gabriele Angella was on hand to clear off the line.
Abdi, who had come close earlier, came even closer to doubling Watford's lead after 35 minutes when a quick break forward saw Matej Vydra lay the ball off for the Swiss before his long range pildedriver flew just wide of the post.
Watford came even closer to adding a second before half time when Adlene Guedioura, making his second debut for the club, cut in from the right touchline and found Vydra on the edge of the box. His curling effort looked like going in but came off the underside of the bar before being cleared to safety.
Half Time: Watford 1-0 Fulham
Fulham began to push for an equaliser early in the second half and pushed Watford back into their own half in the opening stages. They forced a flurry of early corners but found the Hornets defence in resilient mood.
Watford's first chance of the second half fell to Craig Cathcart when he got on the end of Abdi's deep corner but could only guide his downward header straight at Bettinelli.
A moment of controversy then occurred in the 59th minute when Jazz Richards was only shown a yellow card instead of red when he ran at Matej Vydra and pushed him to the ground after the pair challenged for the ball on the edge of the Fulham penalty area.
The visitors continued to press for an equaliser and came close on a couple of occasions. First, Cauley Woodrow headed over the bar from six yards when he Bryan Ruiz's corner before Seko Fofana had a goalbound effort well blocked by Angella before Gomes was called into action.
Almen Abdi had another chance to wrap up the points at the other end when he got on the end of substitute Miguel Layun's cross but he could only shoot straight at Bettinelli.
Fulham ramped up the pressure in the final minutes and had a great chance to equalise with ten minutes to go. A long ball forward was flicked on by substitute Matt Smith into the path of Ross McCormack in the box. He drove his shot low by Gomes denied him with a brilliant low save.
The Cottagers piled on more late pressure but substitute Hugo Rodallega failed to connect properly with a close range bicycle kick before Smith found space in the box again but headed over from a long way out.
Full Time: Watford 1-0 Fulham
Watford: Gomes, Cathcart, Angella, Hoban, Motta, Watson, Guedioura, Abdi (Forestieri), Pudil (Layun), Vydra (Ighalo), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Paredes, Anya, Tozser
Fulham: Bettinelli, Richards, Hutchinson, Bodurov, Stafylidis, Tunnicliffe, Kavanagh (Kacaniklic), Fofana, Ruiz (Smith), McCormack, Woodrow (Rodallega)
Subs Not Used: Kiraly (GK), Hoogland, Amorebieta Dembele
Att: 15,809 (1,284 Fulham)
Ref: Mr Trevor Kettle