Watford FC claimed their first point of the season today (August 31) as they held Newcastle at St James’s Park.
The Hornets got off to the exact start they needed, taking the lead in just the second minute. Cleverly took a speculative shot from distance which deflected into the path of Will Hughes, who slotted calmly past the Newcastle keeper.
But Watford’s lack of confidence showed as they allowed Almiron a golden chance to equalise. Joelinton sent a ball to Atsu down the left, who whipped in a dangerous cross to Almiron – luckily for Foster, he couldn’t quite direct the shot past him.
Gray missed a great chance to double Watford’s lead 10 minutes later, after Pereyra played a clever pass behind for the England striker to run on to. The ball didn’t sit right for him though and he sent it wide.
While Newcastle had a fair amount of possession in the following 20 minutes, they looked incredibly open and Watford tried and failed to implement devastating counter attacks on several occasions, much to the frustration of the travelling fans.
Newcastle had a penalty shout in the 35th minute after Hayden claimed to get a clip in the box, but the referee was unmoved. Almiron then rounded Foster and slotted the ball into the net in the 37th minute, but hadn’t realised the flag was already up for offside.
Watford then had another chance to go two up, this time from a corner. Dawson latched on to a loose ball in the home side’s box, but his volley was well blocked.
Watford couldn’t hold on for the whistle as Newcastle equalised just before half time. Hayden lunged into a Longstaff cross from the right, causing the ball to fall kindly for Schar, who smashed the ball past Foster.
After an eventful first half, both teams came out trying to make their mark on the second. Newcastle had two big chances near the 60th minute through Schar and Almiron, but the Hornets soaked up the pressure.
Hughes, who had a lively game, was subbed off in the 71st minute for Isaac Success, who tried his luck in the 80th and forced Dubravka into a decent save.
It was a half of few chances for Watford but they could’ve scraped it four minutes from time when Pereyra hit a fierce 25 yard strike, but it was expertly saved by the Newcastle ‘keeper.
In the end, it was a fair contest and a fair result which Watford will hope to build on from here.
Photo courtesy of Alan Cozzi/Watford FC