Late Goal Denies Watford Title
Sat 02nd May - 12:15pm
Watford conceded a last minute equaliser at home to Sheffield Wednesday which saw them slip up at the top of the league and finish second after Bournemouth won at Charlton. Matej Vydra gave Watford the lead after 26 minutes when he pounced after Troy Deeney's shot was saved. The Hornets missed a host of chances to make the game safe and were made to pay in second half stoppage time when Atdhe Nuhiu pounced after a goalmouth scramble to earn a point for Wednesday and deny Watford the Championship title.
Slavisa Jokanovic made two changes from the side that won 2-0 at Brighton last weekend. Miguel Layun came into midfield to replace the ineligible Adlene Guedioura after his loan spell expired during the week. The other change saw Matej Vydra replace Odion Ighalo up front to partner Troy Deeney.
Stuart Gray had to do without on loan Watford midfielder Lewis McGugan as he could not play against his former club. Chris Kirkland came in in goal in place of Championship goalkeeper of the year Kieran Westwood.
Watford started the game very quickly in a determined mood and created the first chance after five minutes when Matej Vydra set Marco Motta away down the right wing but his low cross was scrambled away by the Sheffield Wednesday defence before a Watford player could pounce.
Watford were then denied what looked like a strong claim for a penalty when Troy Deeney turned Tom Lees and bore down on goal before appearing to be tripped by Chris Kirkland, but referee Lee Probert turned down the penalty appeals.
Moments later the Hornets had another chance when Deeney's impressive strength saw him win the ball on the edge of the box and find Vydra but his low effort was beaten away by Kirkland.
The Hornets had another chance midway through the first half when Vydra was fouled 30-yards out but Almen Abdi's free kick was blocked by the large Wednesday wall.
Three minutes later Watford's pressure did tell and they took the lead through Vydra. Deeney did well to roll the challenge of a defender in the box and shoot low. His effort was well saved by Kirkland but Vydra was on hand to head the ball into an empty net on the rebound.
Watford continued to dominate and missed chances to double the lead. Ikechi Anya fired a shot into the side netting when he got into a good position, Gabriele Angella put a header wide when he found space from a corner and Abdi missed a good chance from close range when Deeney found him with a lofted through ball.
Abdi missed an even better chance just before half time when a sweeping move saw Motta cross another ball into the box but Abdi fired over at the near post.
Half Time: Watford 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first was played as Watford continued to press to double their lead. Deeney found space on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected behind.
From the resulting corner the ball was cleared to the edge of the box where Miguel Layun picked up the ball and fired goalwards but his effort went just wide of the post.
Sheffield Wednesday came into the game more in the second half and looked more of a threat going forward. Chris Maguire found space about 25-yards out and advanced forward before shooting goalwards but putting his effort well over the bar.
Deeney had the next chance for Watford as they looked to seal the game. Vydra and Motta combined well down the right wing with the Czech standing up a ball in the box which Deeney attacked but could not keep his header down.
Sheffield Wednesday were perhaps fortunate not to find themselves down to 10 men midway through the second half when Jose Semedo flew into a studs up challenge on Ben Watson, but referee Lee Probert produced only a yellow card.
As time wore on Watford became more cautious about searching for a second goal. On a rare move forward Deeney found Abdi in the box but his low shot was well saved by Kirkland.
It looked as though Watford would go up as champions but as the game entered stoppage time the visitors found an equaliser. A free kick into the box wasn't cleared and the ball bounced perfectly for substitute Atdhe Nuhiu to fire the ball in past Heurelho Gomes.
Watford had one last chance to win the game moments later when substitute Daniel Tozser shot at goal from 20-yards but Kirkland turned the ball behind for a corner.
Full Time: Watford 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Watford: Gomes, Cathcart, Angella, Connolly, Motta (Paredes), Watson, Layun, Abdi, Anya (Tozser), Vydra (Ighalo), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Bond (GK), Hoban, Munari, Forestieri
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Vermijl, Lees, Buxton, Helan, Lee (Isgrove), Semedo, Filipe Melo, Lavery (Nuhiu), Maguire, Keane (May)
Subs Not Used: Wildsmith (GK), De Havilland, Maghoma, Bus
Ref: Mr Lee Probert