TOWN 3 WATFORD 1
A stunning second-half performance saw Town claim victory over high-flying Watford at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Goals from Nahki Wells, James Vaughan and a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender from Joel Lynch gave the Terriers the victory over Watford, who had equalised with a goal from substitute Odion Ighalo.
Oscar Gobern came in to the side to play alongside Conor Coady and Jacob Butterfield in a midfield three as Town lined up with a 3-5-2 formation, which matched their opponents.
The Hornets - having won four of their last five games - started brightly and Matej Vydra saw a goal bound effort deflected wide off Town Captain, Mark Hudson.
Town then began to grow in to the game and were threatening, especially down the right-hand side with Sean Scannell. The in-form wide man went close with a couple of efforts that narrowly missed the target.
Moments later the Hornets went close again, this time through Troy Deeney. Lynch gave the ball away in a poor area, and Almen Abdi released the Watford skipper, but his fierce strike was blocked well by the covering Jack Robinson.
Vaughan and strike partner Wells then both went close with good chances for the home side. Vaughan blazed over when through on goal before Wells saw a header saved well by Heurelho Gomes.
However, the best chance of the half fell to Watford midfielder Gianni Munari, who stung the hands of Alex Smithies with a half-volley from a Deeney knock down. That was the last goal mouth action of the half as the teams went in goalless at the break.
The game sprung in to life in the second-half and Smithies had to be at his best to deny Watford’s Mexican debutant Miguel Layun, saving a shot low down to his right.
The first goal of the afternoon then came in the 51st minute when a low Jacob Butterfield cross caused panic in the Watford defence, with the ball falling to Wells who made no mistake in converting his 11th goal of the season.
Town were in the ascendency at this stage and QPR loanee Robinson twice went close in the space of a minute. He saw a cross loop over Gomes and come back off the cross bar, and then seconds later he fired a long range effort just over.
Watford then made a triple substitution. Gomes was forced off with a groin injury, and replaced by Jonathan Bond. Ighalo and Ikechi Anya were also introduced as Watford Manager, Slavisa Jokanovic tried to add more pace to his side’s attack.
Ighalo made an instant impact as he levelled the game at 1-1 with his first contribution. The Nigerian forward found space in the Town penalty box and fired a shot towards goal, which Smithies failed to collect and the ball squirmed over the line.
Town responded well and were unfortunate not to regain the lead just moments later as Gobern saw his header cleared off the line. Abdi then wasted a glorious opening after racing through the Town defence, but he blazed over when he should have scored.
The visitors were made to pay for that miss just moments later. Gobern picked out Wells with a delightful pass, and the Bermudian then slid the ball across the face of goal to Vaughan who turned the ball in to the far corner with a deft flick for his first goal at home of the campaign.
The game was then settled in the 83rd minute after a moment of individual brilliance from Welsh defender, Lynch. Robinson hooked a looping ball in to the Watford box and Mark Hudson found his defensive partner Lynch, who then unleashed an unstoppable overhead kick in off the cross bar to mark the 200th League start of his career.
That goal knocked the stuffing out of Watford, and Town held on to claim their second successive home win in the League and move up to 15th position in the Sky Bet Championship.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Jack Robinson, Oscar Gobern, Conor Coady, Jacob Butterfield, Sean Scannell; Nahki Wells, James Vaughan (Joe Lolley, 90)
Lloyd Allinson, Paul Dixon, Matt Crooks, Philip Billing, Lee Peltier, Radoslaw Majewski
Mark Hudson (46); Jack Robinson (62)