Watford defeated Newcastle United 2-1 on Saturday at Vicarage Road bringing the Magpies’ recent upturn in the English Premier League to an end. The hosts opened the scoring shortly after the break courtesy of a clinical Odion Ighalo finish and doubled their lead 13 minutes later when the Nigerian set up Craig Cathcart for his first goal in a Hornets shirt, a close range volley that left Rob Elliot for dead. The visitors did get a goal back late in the second half when Jamaal Lascelles rose high inside the box to head home a Jonjo Shelvey corner but it was a little too late as the Hertfordshire club marched on to victory.
Newcastle were on top early in the match as Watford started surprisingly passive. The Geordies’ first chance of the match fell to Rolando Aarons, however the young winger could not finish after Georginio Wijnaldum had done well to poke the ball on to him following a Moussa Sissoko cross. Aarons was getting the better of Juan Carlos Paredes on the left wing, while Troy Deeney and Ighalo had been kept quiet at the other end.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ charges had penalty appeals waved away when Sissoko brought down Nathan Ake inside the box in the 13th minute and the event seemed to spur them on as Deeney and Etienne Capoue both came close to putting the hosts ahead in the 17th minute. Great goalkeeping kept the scores level as Huerelho Gomes equaled Elliot’s efforts at the other end with a brilliant save of his own to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Chances had been few and far between and the teams were evenly match as the half came to a close and one could say that neither deserved to be ahead. The hosts wasted little time after the break as Deeney played Ighalo through on goal one minute after the restart and the Nigerian made no mistake, rounding the keeper before slotting the ball into the net. The goal had relieved a lot of the frustration that the strikers had experienced in the first stanza and they were wreaking havoc in the Newcastle half. In the 58th minute, Watford extended their lead as Ighalo turned provider, setting up Craig Cathcart for a close range finish, his first for the team.
Shelvey had been wasteful in midfield but played a key role in Newcastle’s goal as it was his corner that was headed in by Lascelles to set up a thrilling finish to the encounter. At 2-1, the away team tried to mount a late comeback and despite Waford having 10 men behind the ball, it was Ighalo that drew a save from Elliot in the 78th minute to keep Steve McClaren’s men in the contest.
After 90 minutes of never say die football, Watford emerged 2-1 victors. It was a football lesson for Newcastle and an expensive one as the Tyneside club continues its fight for survival with only 15 games left to play.
Watford: Gomes, Paredes, Britos, Cathcart, Ake, Capoue, Watson, Behrami, Jurado, Deeney, Ighalo. Subs: Pantilimon, Nyom, Prödl, Anya, Guedioura, Abdi, Amrabat .
Newcastle: Elliot, Janmaat, Lascelles, Coloccini, Mbemba, Sissoko, Saivet, Shelvey Aarons, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic. Subs: Darlow, Taylor, Gouffran, Marveaux, Thauvin, Perez, Riviere .
Venue: Vicarage Road