Thursday 19 October 2017

Richarlison equaliser just reward for gutsy Hornets

West Brom 2 Watford 2

Richarlison celebrates scoring his side's second goal with his team mate Abdoulaye Doucoure. Photo: Getty Images
Richarlison celebrates scoring his side's second goal with his team mate Abdoulaye Doucoure. Photo: Getty Images

Stuart James

Watford's winning run on the road has come to an end, although you would never have guessed by the celebrations among the travelling supporters at the final whistle. This felt more like a victory for Marco Silva's side, who showed plenty of courage to recover from being 2-0 down inside 21 minutes to pick up a deserved point courtesy of yet another last-gasp goal from Richarlison.

The Brazilian, who snatched the winner against Swansea at the death last Saturday, headed home in injury-time to the delight of the Watford supporters. It was just reward for their persistence on an afternoon when Albion scored twice in three minutes early on to seemingly put themselves on the path to victory. Salomón Rondón, with only his second Premier League goal this year, got the first and when Jonny Evans headed in moments later it looked like being a long afternoon for Watford.

Jonny Evans of West Brom celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Getty Images
Jonny Evans of West Brom celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Getty Images

Yet Silva's side showed why they have proved to be such awkward opponents on their travels this season. Abdoulaye Doucouré reduced the deficit eight minutes before the interval and Albion were living dangerously thereafter. Tony Pulis, however, will be furious with the way his team allowed Watford to haul themselves level late on. James McClean gave away a free-kick, José Holebas delivered the ball to the back post and Richarlison did the rest.

Dominant in possession from the outset, Watford were caught by the classic West Brom sucker-punch as the home team struck twice in quick succession, exposing some poor defending for the first goal and scoring via a set-piece for the second.

Rondón's opener owed much to the vision of Grzegorz Krychowiak, whose lovely flighted pass from deep encouraged the Venezuelan to run in behind Adrian Mariappa. Christian Kabasele tried to come across and out-muscle Rondón but the Albion striker was too strong for the Watford centre-half. With the angle against Rondón, there was still much to do but he slipped his shot between Heurelho Gomes and the goalkeeper's near post.

Worse viewing was to follow for Silva as Albion added a second in trademark fashion. Matt Phillips delivered an in-swinging corner that Doucouré could only flick on. Evans and Ahmed Hegazi were waiting at the far post and the Northern Irishman got there first, nodding home.

Andre Carrilo of Watford and Jay Rodriguez of West Bromwich Albion compete for the ball. Photo: Getty Images
Andre Carrilo of Watford and Jay Rodriguez of West Bromwich Albion compete for the ball. Photo: Getty Images

Watford badly needed to gain a foothold in the game again and they managed to do so. It was no real surprise when the Hornets pulled a goal back three minutes later. Troy Deeney, starting in place of Andre Gray, won the first header and Richarlison, drifting inside, cleverly flicked the ball on for Doucouré. With Craig Dawson, the Albion right-back, caught infield, space opened up for Doucouré on the Watford left and the midfielder drilled a low, angled shot to the net from the edge of the area.

Watford started the second half in the same fashion as they finished the first, dictating the tempo and looking the more threatening. Silva thought they should have had a penalty when Hegazi tangled with Kabasele as the Watford player tried and failed to reach a Holebas's corner with a diving header.

Back came Watford again as Richarlison, winning an aerial dual with Kieran Gibbs, nodded just wide at the far post. He was not so forgiving in injury-time.

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