HORNETS STRIKE LUCKY AT LEEDS
SUPERSTITIOUS Watford fans may feel fortunes are in their favour after they defied all the odds to move just three points off the top spot with victory over Leeds.
All of Saturday morning’s top three dropped points to allow the Hornets to make ground on their promotion rivals: Derby and Middlesbrough lost at Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday respectively, while Bournemouth drew with Blackburn.
As if the odds of those results going Watford’s way were not long enough, Slavisa Jokanovic’s men also had to overturn a twogoal deficit secured by Leeds after just 19 minutes.
But that was exactly what they did thanks to fantastic performances up front from Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra, who scored twice after coming into the side for the in-form but hamstrung Odion Ighalo.
Jokanovic said: “We made some mistakes in the beginning of the game and gave them many presents.
“We started the second half in a similar way, and in this situation we must control the game a little bit more.
“I must be happy how we resolved the problems we solved in the game. I’m not thinking about promotion, about what’s going to happen in May.
“I have dreams, our supporters have dreams and the club too, but now is not the time to be in bed sleeping; now it’s time for working.
“That is what I want to do. My dreams are not important now. My real situation is to rest my team and be ready and prepare and be ready for the next three points which are in front of us against Fulham.”
Leeds looked good for much of the first half after being gifted the first goal through a mix-up between Ikechi Anya and Heurelho Gomes, whose failure to hold the defender’s wayward header back allowed Billy Sharp to score.
There was no luck involved as Rodolph Austin doubled the lead out of nowhere on 19 minutes, striking a perfect half-volley over Gomes from the corner of the box.
Watford took heart when Deeney pulled one back six minutes before the interval after shrugging off Scott Wootton to meet Vydra’s through ball.
Leeds could have restored their two-goal buffer immediately in the second half after Sharp put Austin one-on-one with Gomes, but the keeper saved and Gabrielle Angella cleared Austin’s follow-up.
Vydra pulled Watford level on 56 minutes after more good linkup play with Deeney gave the striker an easy finish at the far post.
A winner seemed inevitable in light of the fact that Watford have not drawn a game since October, so it was unsurprising when Vydra held off Sol Bamba to convert another great Deeney through ball.
It was no less than the tenacious Hornets deserved, but Leeds boss Neil Redfearn was rightly concerned about his side’s defending.
He said: “You can’t afford to defend like that. I thought we were the better side for 40 minutes. We got the game plan right, and I thought we played some good stuff.
“It was 2-0 and it could have been three or four at that point, but you’ve got to remember they’re a good side and if you give good sides room to play, they’ll hurt you.
“We talked about the defenders having to defend one v one at times because Watford do counter attack and we needed to make good decisions, but we didn’t.
“I think if you look at Watford, they’ve done that to two or three teams.They’re a free-scoring side and you can only legislate for so much. But they’ve spent a lot of money, and if you do that you’re going to create chances and score goals.”
MAT FINISH: Watford’s Matej Vydra celebrates scoring their crucial third goal with teammates
SAM THE MAN: Leeds’ Sam Byram and Ikechi Anya