Watford 4 - 1 Leeds Match Report.
Fernando Forestieri stole the show on his first Championship start of the season as Watford defeated 9 men Leeds 4-1 at Vicarage Road, with the Little Argentinean bagging two and playing a pivotal part in another for the Hornets.
It was an even contest for 55 minutes until Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci was sent off by referee James Linington after the Italian hauled down Fernando Forestieri who was through on goal. From then on it was comfortable for Watford, who easily brushed aside a poor Leeds side, who were created little going forward.
The game was level at half time thanks to an own goal from Gabriel Tamas after Forestieri had put Watford ahead but a penalty from Troy Deeney and further goals from Fernando Forestieri and Daniel Tozser secured victory for Watford as they moved up to second place in the table.
Beppe Sannino made four changes to the side that beat Rotherham 0-2 on Tuesday night. Fernando Forestieri came in for Matej Vydra up front, who dropped to the bench after coming off in midweek due to a dead leg, midfielders Almen Abdi and Daniel Tozser came in for Keith Andrews and Ikechi Anya whilst Daniel Pudil replaced Diego Fabbrini as the Hornets reverted to their favored 3,5,2 formation. Lloyd Dyer was left out of the squad after his celebration on Tuesday night whilst midfielder Lewis McGugan was not involved again.
For Leeds, head coach Dave Hockaday handed debuts to defender Giuseppe Bellusci and striker Mirco Antenucci who replaced Matt Smith and Liam Cooper.
Watford started off brightly and made more of the early running. Deeney and Forestieri were causing problems early on with the Hornets captain playing a delightful through ball into the little Argentine who jut couldn’t reach it before the 24 year old saw a shot blocked by the Whites defence.
Tenacious Leeds midfielder Rodolph Austin had the Whites first shot of the afternoon but his 20 yard effort went well wide of Gomes post. That was to set the tone for Leeds afternoon with the Whites keeping the ball well but failed to have a real end product.
However in the 20th minute, the Golden Boys went 1-0 up. Tozser’s corner looped over everyone’s head but Forestieri managed to gather the ball out wide. He played the ball inside to Troy Deeney, whom back heeled it into the path of Gianni Munari, The Italian midfielder then helped it on to Forestieri who had been allowed by the Leeds defence to continue his run unmarked. Forestieri’s first shot was saved by Silvestri in the Leeds goal, but the 24 year old kept his eye on the ball and headed the rebound home to net his second goal of the season and put the Golden Boys 1-0 up.
10 minutes later and after neat play between Abdi and Forestieri, the latter saw a 25 yard shot easily saved by Silvestri.
Out of nothing, Leeds then equalised 3 minutes later. There didn’t seem to be too much danger when Billy Sharp was found out wide and was under close attention from Watford’s Angella. Sharp managed to fizz in a low cross which hit the outstretched leg of Hornets defender Tamas and bobbled into the goal. There was nothing that Gomes could do about it and the Hornets were extremely lucky to be on level terms with Leeds, who up to that point, had created very little despite keeping the ball very well.
The own goal seemed to shake the Golden Boys but Paredes unleashed a 20 yard shot which was deflected narrowly over the bar by one of the Leeds defenders in the 36th minute.
From the resulting corner, Watford spurned a great chance to go ahead. Abdi wipped in the corner which found Tommie Hoban unmarked, by the academy graduates header went just over the bar.
The Hornets did have one last clear cut opportunity before half time. Leeds defender Byram was hesitant and Pudil nipped in on the defenders lapse to set up a counter attack. Instead of playing in Abdi or Forestieri who seemed to be in better positions, the Czech full back decided to go alone but his effort was saved by Silvestri.
Watford weren’t at their best in the first half, however they were unlucky to be going in level at half time to a Leeds team, who apart from a 5-10 minute spell towards the end of the half, created very little.
Half Time – 1-1.
Watford were agonisingly close from going 2-1 up shortly after half time and it was Forestieri again who nearly got it. The Argentine was causing the Leeds defence all sorts of problems with the Argentine picking up a header out from Leeds defender Bellusci, before side stepping a challenge and then curling an effort from the edge of the area just wide with Silvestri beaten.
However, Leeds went close two minute later when Luke Murphy’s free kick was met by the unmarked Jason Pearce who could only head over the bar.
Beppe Sannino made his first substitute in the 55th minute with Ikechi Anya replacing Juan Carlos Paredes.
Two minutes later and the Hornets were in front and Leeds were a man down.
Bellusci got into all sorts of problems at the back as he completely missed the ball which Forestieri latched on to and charged towards goal. He strode into the penalty area and the chasing Bellusci who had been given a wretched time from Forestieri all afternoon, hauled the forward down. Referee James Linington instantly pointed to the spot and produced the inevitable red card for the Italian defender. Watford Captain Troy Deeney was on penalty duties and the striker coolly sent Silvestri the wrong way from the spot to put Watford 2-1 up.
Leeds head coach responded by replacing striker Billy Sharp with defender Liam Cooper much to the displeasure of the Leeds faithful who chanted ‘You don’t know what your doing’.
Tozser played a delightful cross field ball to Daniel Pudil whose well struck Volley went just wide.
Watford were in the ascendancy and it didn’t take them to long to notch their third goal of the afternoon and it was that man Forestieri who got it after a fantastic performance. Midfielder Munari won the ball and found Forestieri who flicked the ball past Rodolph Austin and ghosted past 4 more Leeds players, before sending a low effort off the left hand post and in. It was a memorable goal for all at Vicarage Road and one which would have not looked out of place in the Premier League.
Deeney and in particular Forestieri, caused all sorts of problems with the Argentine finding Deeney whose goal bound effort was headered away by a Leeds defender.
It was nearly a memorable afternoon for Forestieri in the 73rd minute who nearly got his first hat trick in a Watford shirt. After great play from the Hornets, Deeney knocked the ball down to Forestieri whose low effort from 18 yards, went just wide.
It was a fantastic performance from Forestieri who had caused Leeds all sorts of problems and the forward was replaced with 15 minutes to go by Odion Ighalo who was making his home debut.
Watford weren’t to far away from getting a fourth in the 77th minute. Tozser’s fantastic corner found Munari unmarked in the box whose header goes just over the bar.
Sannino made his third and final substitution in the 82nd minute with Keith Andrews coming on for Almen Abdi.
It looked like that would be that for the afternoon from the Golden Boys but the game sprang back into life in injury time.
The Hornets notched a fourth in the 91st minute and what a goal it was. Watford were awarded a free kick 30 yards out and Tozser smashed a low effort into the bottom corner of Silvestri’s goal to put Watford 4-1 up. This was Tozser’s first goal for the club since joining in January.
Then Leeds were reduced to nine men with seconds to go. On off the ball collision between Sam Byram and Daniel Pudil led to a pause in play whilst referee Linington consulted with his linesman. Linington then produced the red card for Byram after he allegedly head butted the Czech wing back and summed up a miserable second half for Leeds and their fans.
In truth it was a comfortable win for the Hornets in the end, with Forestieri causing all sorts of problems for the Leeds defence. Leeds however, were very poor and created little going forward aside from a 5 – 10 minute spell at the end of the first half.
The 4-1 win for the Hornets sends Watford up to 2nd place in the table whilst Leeds lie precariously above the relegation zone in 21st.
Full Time – 4-1
Team Line-ups and Player Ratings.
Watford- Gomes (GK) 6, Hoban 8, Tamas 7, Angella 7.5, Paredes 6 (Anya 55), Tozser 8 , Abdi 6 (Andrews 82) , Munari 8, Pudil 7, Forestieri 9 (Ighalo 76) , Deeney © 8.
Subs Not Used – Bond (GK), Doyley, Fabbrini, Vydra,
Goals – Forestieri (20, 67), Deeney (Pen 57), Tozser (90 +1)
Yellow Cards – Angella, Tozser
Red Cards – None
Leeds – Slivestri (GK), Byram, Bellusci, Pearce ©, Warnock, Tonge (Poleon 76), Austin, Bianchi, Murphy, Antenucci ( Smith 82), Sharp (Cooper 62).
Subs not used – Taylor (GK), Wooten, Norris, Cook.
Goals – Tamas (32 OG)
Yellow Cards – Austin, Murphy.
Red Cards – Bellusci, Byram.
Possession - Watford 47%, Leeds 53 %
Attendance – 15,674 (1975 away)
Referee – James Linington.