Watford FC’s fully changed side have been knocked out of the FA Cup after losing 2-1 to Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park this evening (Thursday, January 23).
The youthful Watford side struggled to make an impact against Tranmere in the Third Round replay, and the League One team nicked the win in extra time after the Hornets initially battled back from behind.
The game began with a number of Watford attempts being blocked by a strong Tranmere defence, including a decent strike from Joseph Hungbo four minutes into his Watford debut.
Another attempt was blocked 10 minutes into the match from skilful Brazilian João Pedro, who missed a second opportunity from the centre of the box in the 21st minute.
The first half was relatively uneventful, with both sides missing a number of half chances – until the first goal in the 36th minute when Emmanuel Monthe scored from a corner, giving Tranmere a 1-0 lead.
At half time Pearson swapped Tom Dele-Bashiru for forward Kaylen Hinds, who made his Watford debut.
After a slow start, things began to pick up for Watford in the second half. Three minutes in, João Pedro nearly put his name on the scoresheet but was denied by a smart save near the bottom right corner from the Tranmere ‘keeper.
José Holebas came even closer in the 63rd minute, hitting the post from the left side of the box.
Watford finally equalised four minutes later when 21-year-old Kaylen Hinds scored a powerful right-footed strike following a corner, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure. 1-1.
Minutes later Tranmere almost got ahead again when Paul Mullin hit the right post.
In the 76th minute, Watford nearly took the lead with another goal when Christian Kabasele narrowly missed a header.
Despite Paul Mullin and Kieron Morris’ late attempts on Watford’s goal, normal time ended 1-1 and the sides had to battle it out for another 30 minutes.
An excellent shot from Callum Whelan from outside the box opened the first half of extra time brightly for the Hornets, but Scott Davies parried away.
It was Tranmere who ultimately made the most of the extra 30 minutes though, as Paul Mullin stole the show with a header from close range straight in the 104th minute. 2-1.
The goal was enough to separate the sides at the final whistle, meaning a bitter defeat for last years’ finalists Watford, but a historic victory for League One strugglers Tranmere.