Watford strike late to earn a point at home to Bournemouth
BOURNEMOUTH boss Eddie Howe has challenged his side to rediscover their shooting boots after their winless run in the Championship extended to six matches.
The Cherries had begun the season with a 4-0 demolition of Huddersfield, but wasted a hatful of chances at Vicarage Road to build on Harry Arter’s opener and were forced to settle for a point when substitute Craig Cathcart hit back late on.
It could have all been different had Ian Harte not missed from the penalty spot in the opening minutes, following a foul from Gabriel Tamas which Howe was flabbergasted did not lead to a red card.
But his most pressing concern is how to bring an end to Bournemouth’s barren run.
“For the referee to not even book Tamas, I find an amazing decision, considering Callum Wilson was through on goal,” said Howe.
“My immediate thought was would it be a yellow or red, we were hoping for red, and felt it was justified.
“When you miss a penalty, take the lead, and produce such a good defensive display, it’s difficult to take. And it’s especially tough to take when you’re on a run like us.
“We’ve got ourselves into good positions and, if we were a little bit more clinical around the box, we probably could have won the game comfortably.”
Bournemouth started brightly and were rewarded with a fourthminute penalty.
Callum Wilson burst beyond Tamas to go clear through on goal, before the defender bundled him over to concede the spot-kick.
The usually reliable Harte stepped up but fired well wide, to the delight of the Watford crowd.
Midway through the first half the hosts suffered a setback as Tamas was stretched off with a serious-looking knee injury following a collision with Wilson.
And Wilson almost broke the deadlock for the visitors on the stroke of half-time with a powerful header, but Heurelho Gomes pulled off a great to save to tip the ball over the bar.
The second half began as the first, with the visitors firmly on top. Wilson had a goal correctly ruled out for offside but Bournemouth got on the scoresheet just after the hour.
Arter picked the ball up 30 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable effort, leaving Gomes grasping at thin air, as it flew into the top corner.
Watford, with a 100 per cent home record to protect, threw on the returning Fernando Forestieri in search of a goal, back after two weeks on the sidelines with hamstring trouble.
But, it was Cathcart who drew the hosts level with ten minutes to go. Seizing upon the visitors’ inability to clear the ball, the defender showed tremendous poise and technique to cushion a volley inside the far post.
With Watford manager Oscar Garcia still in hospital after being admitted with chest pains last Sunday, his assistant manager Ruben Martinez took charge.
However, Martinez expects his Spanish compatriot to soon be back on the touchline.
“He’s much better. He’s due to the leave the hospital soon,” he said. “I hope he returns as soon as possible.
“We played against a good team, a team that has been working for two years with the same coach and players.
“For us it’s difficult. We’re trying to build a team and have only been here two weeks, and with the problem of Oscar, it’s a difficult start to build.
“I hope all the injuries and problems are finished. We want to focus 100 per cent on football, to give the team our style of play and hopefully in a few weeks that will change.”
LATE ARRIVAL: Craig Cathcart enjoys equalising for Watford with seven minutes to go
INJURY: Watford’s Gabriel Tamas is carried off