Watford FC did enough to get themselves back out the relegation zone tonight (Saturday, February 8) but ended up drawing to Brighton at The American Express Community Stadium.
A fantastic first half solo goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure was ruled out by an unfortunate Adrian Mariappa own goal in the 78th minute, but Watford held on to a draw to keep their hopes of survival very much intact.
Brighton’s defence looked shaky right from the start as Watford’s front line, led by captain Troy Deeney, pressured them off the ball and forced several errors.
But it was the Hornets’ star midfielder Doucoure who put the visitors in the lead in the 19th minute with a stunning goal.
The Frenchman won back possession just past the half way line and charged at several Brighton defenders, striding strategically to the edge of the box before curling an extraordinary effort past an outstretched Mathew Ryan.
The first half continued in scrappy fashion, which suited the visitors.
Brighton’s slow build up was frustrating their own fans and Watford were happy to let them play the ball around the back and wait to strike.
Nigel Pearson will have been the happier of the managers going into the dressing room at half time as Watford’s shape and tactics were working a treat.
Their compact shape continued to frustrate Brighton for much of the second half, and Deulofeu fashioned himself a great chance in the 58th minute.
The Spanish winger danced past a number of challenges on the left before cutting in and creating a yard for himself, but he dragged his shot wide of the mark.
Brighton’s attack grew in confidence as the game went on, but it was unfortunately Watford’s own defender who finished for them.
Jahanbaksh belted down the right and swung in a low, driven cross which Mariappa needlessly poked into his own net.
The result leaves Watford in 19th place, level on points with West Ham in 18th and one.
Behind Aston Villa in 17th – though both sides have a game in hand over the Hornets.