April 26, 2013
Hornets' sting keeps heat on Hull
#INSERT type:image subtype:lead caption:Watford players mob manager Gianfranco Zola after Nathaniel Chalobah's stunning goal, which proved to be the winner END#Watford kept alive their automatic promotion hopes with a 2-1 victory that leaves Leicester's Championship play-off challenge hanging by a thread.
Gianfranco Zola's team had to win to put second-placed Hull under pressure ahead of their trip to relegation-threatened Yorkshire rivals Barnsley on Saturday - and they did.
Quickfire goals from Troy Deeney and Nathaniel Chalobah towards the end of the first half saw the Hornets move to within a point of the Tigers.
Substitute Harry Kane pulled a goal back in the 61st minute for Leicester, who remain seventh and will see their promotion hopes extinguished if both Bolton and Crystal Palace win on Saturday.
The Foxes were unchanged for the third successive match. Watford's only change saw the Championship player of the year Matej Vydra replace Fernando Forestieri in attack.
Wes Morgan should really have put Leicester in front in the 12th minute after getting across Joel Ekstrand at the near post, but the Foxes captain headed Matty James' corner over the crossbar from six yards out.
It looked like an error by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel shortly afterwards had gifted the visitors the lead.
Schmeichel spilled Ikechi Anya's low cross right into the path of Jonathan Hogg, but the Leicester goalkeeper reacted brilliantly to redeem himself by deflecting Hogg's point-blank shot over the crossbar.
Almen Abdi then twice failed to work Schmeichel from good positions down the left side of the box.
At the other end, Andy King's volley dipped just wide after Hogg misjudged a bouncing ball on the edge of his box before Chris Wood was inches away from getting a touch to Lloyd Dyer's low cross into the six-yard box.
Abdi found space down the left of the area again five minutes before half-time. This time he forced Schmeichel into a good save at his near post and that proved to be vital.
From the resulting corner Ekstrand headed the ball back into the danger area at the far post and Deeney reacted quickest to score from six yards out.
Chalobah's bolt from the blue saw Watford quickly double their lead in the 43rd minute.
Loose control from Adbi saw the ball roll into the path of the Chelsea man, who silenced the King Power Stadium with a rocket of a right-footed shot from 25 yards that hit the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar, leaving Schmeichel motionless.
The Hornets could have put the game beyond their hosts before the break with stunned Leicester all at sea.
Vydra cut inside Michael Keane down the right side of the box, but rather than shoot he tried to set up Deeney. A defender got a touch to the ball to cut out his pass, but Hogg arrived on the follow-up and his shot had to be cleared off the goalline by Ritchie De Laet.
Leicester's leading scorer David Nugent was introduced for the second half, replacing Jeff Schlupp, and he made an immediate impact, hooking a volley narrowly wide 45 seconds after the restart.
Another of Nigel Pearson's substitutes, Kane, went one better shortly after his 58th-minute arrival when he halved the Foxes' deficit.
Paul Konchesky, attacking from left-back, cut back on to his right foot and his shot was deflected goalwards where Kane was on hand to head home after timing his movement to perfection to stay onside.
Ben Marshall, Leicester's final substitute, then forced Manuel Almunia to push his effort wide at the midway point of the second half.
As the game became stretched both teams looked dangerous on the counter attack, but just lacked that final decisive pass.
Watford substitute Cristian Battocchio forced Schmeichel into a parrying save with the last action of the game deep into injury time.
|1 Kasper Schmeichel||1 Manuel Almunia|
|15 Michael Keane||12 Lloyd Doyley|
|3 Paul Konchesky||27 Marco Cassetti|
|5 Wes Morgan||18 Daniel Pudil|
|2 Ritchie De Laet||40 Joel Ekstrand|
|11 Lloyd Dyer||39 Nathaniel Chalobah|
|10 Andy King||22 Almen Abdi|
|16 Matthew James||21 Iketchi Anya|
|24 Antony Knockaert||8 Jonathan Hogg|
|39 Chris Wood||9 Troy Deeney|
|18 Jeffrey Schlupp||20 Matej Vydra|
|13 Conrad Logan||Jonathan Bond 30|
|6 Zak Whitbread||Matthew Briggs 17|
|22 Liam Moore||Mark Yeates 7|
|4 Daniel Drinkwater||Sean Murray 16|
|7 Ben Marshall||Christian Battocchio 38|
|35 David Nugent||Alexandre Geijo 36|
|37 Harry Kane||Fernando Martin Forestieri 41|
|David Nugent for Jeffrey Schlupp (46)||Matthew Briggs for Iketchi Anya (71)|
|Harry Kane for Lloyd Dyer (58)||Mark Yeates for Nathaniel Chalobah (79)|
|Ben Marshall for Antony Knockaert (65)||Christian Battocchio for Almen Abdi (83)|
|Jeffrey Schlupp (18)||Matthew Briggs (75)|
|David Nugent (80)|
|· Squads: Leicester City | Watford|