Monday 24 September 2018

Hughes hits cracker as Watford end dismal run with win over Burnley

Burnley 1 Watford 3

Watford's Troy Deeney celebrates after Will Hughes (background) scores his side's third goal
Watford's Troy Deeney celebrates after Will Hughes (background) scores his side's third goal

Rory Dollard

Will Hughes put the finishing touch to a rare away win for Watford, who ended a torrid run on the road by putting away Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor.

Javi Gracia's side had not won in their previous 12 Premier League trips, losing 11 and failing to score in their previous eight.

But 13 proved a lucky number, with the Hornets twice taking the lead through Andre Gray and Troy Deeney before Hughes beat Joe Hart with a sweet strike from 20 yards.

Hart had kept clean sheets in each of his first three appearances for the Clarets, who have already completed six games of a season elongated by Europa League commitments.

Sean Dyche made six changes from Thursday night's extra-time win over Istanbul Basaksehir but, with the first leg of their play-off against Olympiakos approaching, Burnley's ability to fight on two fronts will come into question.

One point and one goal in their first two league games will surely sharpen the minds ahead of the visit to Athens.

They might have conceded after just 90 seconds had James Tarkowski not thrown his body in the way of Gray's close-range shot, but the striker did not have to wait long to score against his former employers.

As Watford attacked down the right wing he peeled off to race undetected into the box, meeting Deeney's cross with a sweet volley that recalled his best days at his old stomping ground.

The away contingent had barely finished celebrating the strike when Tarkowski cancelled it out, rising highest to nod home Johann Berg Gudmundsson's cross at the far post.

The defender has excelled in the past year, going from a little-known squad man to England international, but this was his first goal in two-and-a-half years at the club.

There was no further scoring before the break, but chances galore. Gudmundsson's bending free-kick drew a diving save from Ben Foster, Gray stabbed wide from a decent position and Jack Cork just ran out of road - and into Etienne Capoue - after an ambitious run into the box.

When Deeney returned fire for Watford from distance, Hart got down well to make the save. Chris Wood and Ashley Westwood both had chances on the cusp of half-time but could not convert.

It seemed impossible that both sides would hold out and it was Watford who took control, netting twice within five minutes of the restart.

They took the lead through Deeney, who latched on to a superb defence-splitting pass from Abdoulaye Doucoure and poked his shot past Hart.

Moments later, sloppy play from Matt Lowton turned a Burnley throw into Watford's third. Hughes gratefully collected a loose pass, charged forward and fired into the top corner from 20 yards.

Burnley began to tire and only came close when substitute Sam Vokes headed inches wide with his first touch and Ben Mee hooked over in added time.

Press Association

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