Defoe salvages point for Bournemouth at Watford
The Cherries twice come from behind at Vicarage Road.
Jermain Defoe came off the bench to rescue a stoppage-time point for Bournemouth in their mid-table Premier League clash at Watford.
Roberto Pereyra’s strike early in the second half looked as though it would be enough to secure victory for the Hornets but Defoe struck late on as Eddie Howe’s side left Hertfordshire with a 2-2 draw.
Kiko Femenia had put Javi Gracia’s side ahead at Vicarage Road only for the visitors to equalise before half-time through Joshua King’s penalty.
Pereyra put the hosts back in front soon after the interval only for Defoe to turn home Nathan Ake’s flick-on in the dying embers.
It was the last meaningful action of a contest between two sides who should be safe, with the pair both moving onto 37 points after this draw.
Ake came close to opening the scoring in the early stages but the former Watford loanee could only turn a close-range diving header against the crossbar.
Junior Stanislas, scorer of the late winner against West Brom before the international break, had the Cherries’ next chance, forcing a smart stop out of Orestis Karnezis with a curling effort.
But the hosts would break the deadlock after 13 minutes as Femenia was picked out unmarked from a corner, his shot beating Asmir Begovic courtesy of a deflection off King.
The Bournemouth striker had a marvellous chance to atone for his part in the Watford goal but was stopped by a fantastic Sebastian Prodl challenge after Adrian Mariappa had gifted possession to the Norway international.
In an end-to-end first half it was Watford who were making more of their chances and they came close to adding a second at the midway point, with Will Hughes’ low drive hitting Troy Deeney and flying behind.
Bournemouth were struggling to create chances of note but were level before the break after the assistant referee did well to spot a Jose Holebas handball in the box.
Andrew Madley pointed to the spot and booked Holebas, who could easily have been given his marching orders, after the defender pushed the ball clear following Karnezis’ save from Stanislas.
King stepped up and sent the Greek goalkeeper the wrong way and send the teams in level at the interval.
Watford needed just four minutes of the second half to re-establish their lead as Hughes teed up Pereyra, whose cute effort clipped Dan Gosling on its way past Begovic.
Bournemouth had no real reaction to the effort as Gracia’s men looked to be seeing the game out with relative ease.
That was until a late free-kick was pumped towards the Watford goal and Ake’s header into the box bounced once before being snaffled up by substitute Defoe, who tucked away his first goal since December 9 to earn his side a share of the spoils.