GOAL ACE ODION IS A LUCKY BOY!
Watford striker continues fine run
WATFORD boss Slavisa Jokanovic admitted his side rode their luck after Odion Ighalo’s late winner snatched all three-points against Blackburn Rovers at Vicarage Road.
Ighalo hit the winner in the 83rd minute – his ninth league goal in six games – after reacting first to Miguel Layun’s corner to hook the ball past Jason Steele.
Hornets’ keeper Heurelho Gomes produced a string of fine saves to deny Rovers, and Jokanovic conceded that his team didn’t play their best but showed great team spirit.
“We didn’t play a brilliant game, Blackburn created a lot of difficulties, but we were strong enough and showed resolve to get through it,” he said.
“We fought hard, we showed great team spirit, and I knew if we created a chance we could win the game. I would prefer to play nice football and score many goals but sometimes you win games when you’re not playing well and we got a bit lucky.
“I am happy with how the team battled, we didn’t play a great game, we were a little lucky but this is football.
“Heurelho made some spectacular saves but this is part of his job and he helped us to win the game.
“Ighalo scored the winner, but that’s also his job, so it was a team effort.”
Both sides were positive from the start but it was the Hornets who should have gone ahead in the ninth minute when Ikechi Anya teed up Miguel Layun, but the Mexican’s effort was brilliantly tipped wide by Steele.
Blackburn had their own opportunities, as Jordan Rhodes hit a half-volley over before Chris Brown headed a free-kick narrowly wide of the far post.
The visitors also had another good chance in injury-time at the end of a goalless opening period, but Gomes tipped Ben Marshall’s free-kick around the post.
Rovers began the second half in the ascendency and Rhodes missed a glorious opportunity just before the hour.
Gomes’ short punch fell to the Scotland international, but Gabriele Angella denied the striker with a wonderful block to keep the scores level.
Blackburn continued to threaten but were once again denied by heroics of Gomes.
First, the Brazilian denied Rhodes from point-blank range before tipping a Craig Conway shot wide.
The visitors continued to press and Gomes was called into action once more to deny Conway’s free kick inside the final ten minutes.
However, against the run of play it was the Hornets who stole it when Ighalo popped up with a late winner – his 12th league goal of the season. The Nigerian thought he had his second of the game deep into injury time but it was ruled out for offside.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer was left deflated by defeat, and said despite playing well, his side needs to be more clinical in front of goal.
“We didn’t take our chances, we weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal and we didn’t defend the scruffy corner well enough, but overall performance-wise we were by far the better team,” he said.
“It’s hard to take. We were much the better team throughout and I’m sure Heurelho Gomes will be man of the match.
“He made one outstanding save from a free-kick first-half, but I thought in the second half we created chances which we should have taken.
“When you take the emotion out of it, the performance gives us confidence that we’re not going to be too far away from the play-offs.
“People talk about the gap between us and Watford, but if we perform like that from now until the end of the season, we’ll be very close.”
DEADLY: Watford’s Odion Ighalo (left) looks for space
SPRAWL: Blackburn’s Jason Steele is left flat on his back by Odion Ighalo’s goal