Deeney Double Sends Watford Top
Tue 17th Mar - 7:45pm
A second half double from Troy Deeney sent Watford top of the Championship on goal difference this evening after the Hornets won 2-0 at relegation threatened Wigan Athletic. The deadlock in an even game was broken after 54 minutes when Deeney headed in powerfully for his first before a injury time penalty secured the victory that put Watford top of the tree.
Slavisa Jokanovic made three changes from the Watford side that beat Reading 4-1 at the weekend. Gabriele Angella came in for Daniel Pudil as Watford reverted to a back three. Tommie Hoban came in for Daniel Tozser and Gianni Munari replaced the injured Almen Abdi.
Malky Mackay left new loan signing Jerome Sinclair on the bench as he opted for the power of Leon Clarke and Marc-Antoine Fortune up front. Former Hornet Don Cowie had to be satisfied with a place on the bench.
Both sides struggled to get into the game early on as they found the pitch difficult to put together any meaningful attacks. Troy Deeney nearly made the first opening of the game when his through ball found Matej Vydra in the box but the ball just ran away from him.
The first shot of the game fell Wigan's away after 13 minutes when attack down their left saw Gaetan Bong collect the ball just outside the box and fire goalwards but it went comfortably over the bar.
The next chance also fell the way of the hosts as they looked to take the early advantage. More good build up play saw Kim Bo-Kyung collect the ball in space and cross from Leon Clarke to meet but his goalbound volley was brilliantly blocked by Tommie Hoban.
Watford's first good move came after 25 minutes when Hoban, Deeney and Gianni Munari combined with the Italian then crossing for Deeney to head goalwards but his header was collected by Ali Al-Habsi.
Just before half time the game opened up a bit more with Watford coming close to scoring. Adlene Guedioura advanced down the right and crossed into the box. Deeney flicked the ball goalwards but Al-Habsi was on hand to turn the ball away.
The Latics went straight down the other end and created another good chance themselves. Gabriele Angella failed to clear a deep cross with Marc-Antoine Fortune collecting the ball and shooting on target but Heurelho Gomes did well to hold onto his low effort.
Half Time: Wigan Athletic 0-0 Watford
The hosts started the second half quickly and had the first good chance to open the scoring after 51 minutes. Jermaine Pennant was released down the Wigan right and his cross was met at the near post by Sheyi Ojo who was in space but he fired over the bar from close range.
Having battled through the Wigan pressure Watford then countered and took the lead with Deeney's 18th goal of the season. Substitute Fernando Forestieri found Guedioura in space on the left and his deep cross was met powerfully by Deeney who directed his header down into the bottom corner past Al-Habsi.
Watford then tried to make their advantage count and missed a couple of chances to double their lead. After 58 minutes Forestieri and Vydra combined on the counter-attack to tee up Guedioura on the edge of the box but the midfielder drove his effort just wide.
Just three minutes later and Watford had another chance when Guedioura got into space and found Vydra in the box but his shot went into the side netting from a tight angle.
Wigan had nothing to lose and sent bodies forward looking for a leveller. Hoban was at his brilliant best to deny substitute Josh Murphy when he looked to connect with a cross from close range.
Guedioura then repeated the same trick after 72 minutes when another ball into the Watford box found Murphy again but his goalbound effort was blocked by the Hornets midfielder.
Watford then reacted to the Wigan pressure by replacing Vydra with Daniel Tozser and the change immediately gave Watford more control in the game. Joel Ekstrand fired wide with a left footed effort from long range.
With ten minutes to go Watford missed an excellent chance to make the game safe. A rampaging run from Hoban into the Wigan half saw him find Guedioura in the box. His effort fell to Munari whose goalbound effort was cleared off the line James Perch and behind for a corner.
However, in the first minute of added time, Watford did make the game safe when Deeney added his second of the game from the penalty spot. Forestieri made a lade surge into the box and was brought down by Emmerson Boyce, and the Hornets skipper stepped up and smashed the ball into the net to make the points safe.
Full Time: Wigan Athletic 0-2 Watford
Wigan Athletic: Al-Habsi, Boyce, Maguire, Pearce, Bong, Pennant (Murphy), Perch, Bo-Kyung, Ojo (Kvist), Fortune (Sinclair), Clarke
Subs Not Used: Nicholls (GK), Barnett, Cowie, McKay
Watford: Gomes, Cathcart (Paredes), Angella, Ekstrand, Motta (Forestieri), Watson, Guedioura, Munari, Hoban, Vydra (Tozser), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Anya, Layun, Ighalo
Att: 10,684 (785 Hornets)
Ref: Mr David Coote