Watford Keep Pressure On Top Two
Sat 11th Apr - 3:00pm
Watford kept up their pursuit of Premiership football next season with a 2-0 victory over relegation threatened Millwall at The Den this afternoon. Matej Vydra volleyed Watford into the lead after 26 minutes after he was found by Ikechi Anya. The Scottish International then set up Adlene Guedioura to double their lead ten minutes into the second half before the Hornets saw off late Millwall pressure to preserve their victory.
Slavisa Jokanovic made two changes to the Watford side that beat Middlesbrough 2-0 on Easter Monday. Matthew Connolly made his first start in place of the injured Craig Cathcart whilst Matej Vydra came in for Odion Ighalo upfront. Marco Motta returned to the bench after serving a suspension for his red card at Derby.
Millwall's caretaker manager Neil Harris made just one change from the Lions last game, a win against Charlton on Good Friday. That saw Mark Beevers replace Jos Hooiveld in defence while the mercurial Magaye Gueye only had a place on the bench.
Watford started the game very quickly and could have taken the lead inside the first minute. Daniel Tozser picked up the ball in midfield and played a lofted pass through to Troy Deeney who advanced on the Millwall goal but saw his shot saved by the legs of David Forde.
The first chance for Millwall came after ten minutes when a long ball forward was headed on by Sid Nelson and Lee Gregory picked it up inside the box but fired his effort over.
Having had one chance already Deeney was next to go close for Watford again when Adlene Guedioura picked the ball up and crossed into the box but the Hornets captain could not get enough power on his header.
Millwall felt they should have had a penalty 15 minutes into the game when Ed Upson controlled a bouncing ball in the Watford penalty area before being bundled over by Ben Watson but referee Simon Hooper waved away the appeals.
Watford made the most of their luck with the penalty decision and took the lead after 26 minutes through a sweet strike from Matej Vydra. Good build up play from the Hornets saw Ikechi Anya receive the ball out wide before crossing for Vydra to volley in from the edge of the box with a tremendous shot.
Just a minute later and Watford wasted the chance to double their lead when Juan Carlos Paredes was set away down the right wing and he crossed for Ben Watson in the box but he miscued his effort.
Those chances for Watford only served to spring the hosts into action as they put the Hornets defence under pressure for the remainder of the first half.
Gabriele Angella and Heurelho Gomes got themselves in a tangle over a long ball into the Watford box which saw Martyn Woolford pick up the rebound but shoot over.
In first half stoppage time Gomes was forced into action when a quickly taken throw in saw Woolford find Jimmy Abdou in space in the box but his low effort was well saved by the Brazilian.
Half Time: Millwall 0-1 Watford
The hosts came out of the traps much quicker at the start of the second half and put Watford under pressure when Tommie Hoban slipped on the ball which released Aiden O'Brien but his cross was excellently blocked by Angella.
The Lions came even closer a few minutes later when they won a free kick 30-yards out and Shaun Williams stepped up and curled it inches wide with Gomes looking beaten.
However, Watford soaked up the pressure and countered to doubled their lead after 56 minutes. Deeney lead the breakaway with a lofted ball forward that found Anya and he crossed low into the box for Guedioura to fire in from ten yards to give Watford a cushion.
The second goal only seemed to increase the Millwall pressure on the Watford goal and they created an excellent chance after 64 minutes when Lee Gregory's flick header found O'Brien in behind the Watford defence but his shot was well saved by Gomes.
As a result of the Millwall pressure the Lions were left short at the back and this was almost exposed with twenty minutes to go when Watford broke and Vydra received the ball behind the Lions defence only for Forde to take the ball of the toe as he looked to take the ball round him.
Still the hosts came and Gomes was at his best after 75 minutes when a long ball into the box found substitute Stefan Maierhofer in space by Gomes raced off his line to clear the ball just as the striker looked to head goalwards.
As the game petered out Watford had chances to round off their afternoon. First, he denied substitute Almen Abdi when he received the ball in the box before he denied Deeney after the Hornets skipper fired goalwards from just inside the box.
Full Time: Millwall 0-2 Watford
Millwall: Forde, Cummings, Nelson, Beevers, Harding (Maierhofer), Upson, Williams, Abdou (Martin), Woolford (Gueye), O'Brien, Gregory
Subs Not Used: Archer (GK), Dunne, Bailey, Taylor-Fletcher
Watford: Gomes, Connolly, Angella, Hoban, Paredes (Motta), Watson, Tozser, Guedioura, Anya (Abdi), Vydra (Ighalo), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Pudil, Layun, Munari
Att: 12,075 (2,860 Hornets)
Ref: Mr Simon Hooper