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Match Reports

REPORT: TOWN 1-2 WATFORD

20 April 2019

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Gerard Deulofeu's brace wrapped up all three points for visitors Watford condemning the Terriers to another defeat in the penultimate home fixture of the season.

Deulofeu struck inside five minutes and then late in the second-half on an afternoon where that desired clinical edge would evidently prove to be vital, despite Karlan Grant grabbing a consolation in injury-time.

Five changes were made to the starting team on the back of the 4-0 defeat at Spurs a week previous. Jonas Lössl made a return between the sticks ahead of Ben Hamer, with Tommy Smith and Aaron Mooy taking the spots of Florent Hadergjonaj and Jon Gorenc Stanković respectively. Steve Mounié led the line as Karlan Grant dropped to the bench having suffered a bout of illness during the week, and there was also a first start since the February trip to Chelsea for Isaac Mbenza.

Not the start that was required, however. Watford's creative spark and recent FA Cup Semi-Final hero Gerard Deulofeu got the Hertfordshire outfit off to a flyer on a perfect footballing day in HD1, guiding a right-footed effort into the back of the net via the post.

And the Spaniard thought he'd breezed through on goal again just minutes later, only for a timely Christopher Schindler sliding intervention to halt the forward's progress.

Javi Gracia's Hornets are still in hot pursuit of a 7th placed finish in the Premier League this season to cap what has already been somewhat of a success having reached that FA Cup Final showpiece with Manchester City, and the attacking prowess with which they have gone out about their work throughout the campaign was evident in abundance throughout the early stages, looking a threat to the Town rear-guard every time an attack materialised.

Juninho Bacuna blazed the Terriers' first chance of the clash into the visiting support, arriving at a shooting chance courtesy of a rebound from Erik Durm's cross after the full-back was initially found by a masterful, cutting through ball from a deep-lying position by the Dutch midfielder.

Mbenza came within a strong palm of Ben Foster to equalising and bringing the home faithful to their feet. Isaac unleashed a crisp drive on the half-volley from Tommy Smith's careful knockdown, and Foster had to be alert to bat away in the centre of his goal. On this occasion, there was no blue and white shirt in the vicinity to tuck home the rebound, and the visitors cleared their lines efficiently.

It was the half-hour mark when Town's best chance came and went, to the frustration of Siewert.

Mbenza again involved, setting Smith on his way down the right flank. Tommy delivered to the back-stick, where Elias Kachunga was positioned, and Kache's subsequent effort towards goal, albeit with a slight degree of hesitation, was crucially blocked by Adrian Mariappa. The following corner wasn't taken advantage of.

Smith again reached the by-line thanks to an incisive pass through the lines, only for it once again to be cleared by some last-ditch defending by Mariappa.

Although there hadn't been much positivity throughout the first period, there was a special moment for young academy prospect Matty Daly, chosen to replace Jonathan Hogg to make his professional debut as the interval loomed.

Deulofeu began the second 45 as he did the first, dancing his way into a shooting position before failing to test Lössl. At the other end, a flurry of Town chances weren't taken.

Firstly Isaac Mbenza delivered a fruitful cross towards Steve Mounié, although it agonisingly dropped over the head of the Benin striker. Steve then led a quick breakaway, and with a numerical advantage and several options either side, he couldn't seem to make up his mind and was eventually dispossessed by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Aaron Mooy fired straight at Foster, as Town continued to play and work their openings with patience buoyed by a Terriers support in full voice like always.

It was nearly the visiting support in one corner of the ground who celebrated once again, although all hope of a second was to be short-lived as Andre Gray couldn't make an adequate connection to culturally flick home Ken Sema's low cross with 20 minutes remaining.

10 minutes later, however, those who'd made the journey up the M1 were thoroughly rewarded with the confirmation of all three points. That man Deulofeu clinically completed his brace and his side's second of the afternoon, slotting under Jonas Lössl at the second bite of the cherry after Abdoulaye Doucouré had initially seen his shot saved by the Dane between the Town posts.

Karlan Grant provided brief respite for the Terriers, heading home a consolation goal deep into added time from Chris Löwe's cross, but the damage had already been done and it was Javi Gracia's Hornets who returned to the North of the Capital with the victory.

Premier League action doesn't let up, with a trip to Liverpool on the horizon this coming Friday in-front of the Sky Sports Cameras (Friday 26 April, 8pm).

TOWN (4-3-3)

Jonas Lössl; Erik Durm, Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Tommy Smith; Jonathan Hogg (Matty Daly, 41'), Juninho Bacuna, Aaron Mooy; Isaac Mbenza (Chris Löwe, 81'), Steve Mounié (Karlan Grant, 66'), Elias Kachunga

UNUSED SUBS

Joel Coleman, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Florent Hadergjonaj, Alex Pritchard

WATFORD (4-2-2-2)

Ben Foster; Adam Masina, Craig Cathcart, Adrian Mariappa (c), Kiko Femenía; Étienne Capoue, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Ken Sema, Will Hughes (Marc Navarro, 90'); Andre Gray (Isaac Success, 72'), Gerard Deulofeu (Nathaniel Chalobah, 82')

UNUSED SUBS

Heurelho Gomes, Daryl Janmaat, Miguel Britos, Marc Navarro, Christian Kabasele

REFEREE

Roger East

GATE

23,557


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