Watford’s ascension from the foot of the Premier League table finally got underway this Boxing Day afternoon, as Nigel Pearson’s new side held Sheffield United to a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane.
Nigel Pearson made it four points from his first three games in charge to get his side up to 19th place – one point above fellow strugglers Norwich.
The hosts started strong in the opening minutes, with centre-back O’Connell testing Ben Foster in the ninth minute – his crack at goal was palmed off the line by the veteran ‘keeper.
Minutes later the Blades came again, this time through McBurnie – he met a pinpoint cross with a strong header, forcing Foster into another impressive stop.
Chances were far and few for the Hornets in the early exchanges – so it came as quite a shock when Nigel Pearson’s men took the lead in the 27th minute.
Pearson’s no nonsense style of football was perfectly summed up by the leadup to the goal, which saw Foster boot the ball upfield before it was flicked on by Chalobah in midfield.
Deulofeu latched onto it in United’s half before beating two centre-backs and slotting calmly into the bottom right corner.
It was a short-lived lead as Baldock won his side a penalty in the 35th minute, which was swiftly converted by Oliver Norwood.
Baldock got himself ahead of Hughes in a chase for the ball.
He got to it in Watford’s box and shielded it from the Watford midfielder, who nipped at the back of midfielder’s leg to concede a clear penalty.
While the first half was the more action-packed of the two, the second did have its moments.
McGoldrick, still looking for his first goal of the season, smacked the post in the 57th minute before the flag was raised for offside; the Blades had another chance go begging minutes later as Fleck latched onto a Mousset pass across goal, but somehow in-form Foster leapt across to make an impossible save.
It wasn’t a great attacking display for Watford, but they did manage to fashion a key chance in the 83rd minute.
Hughes stepped over a still ball, inviting Deulofeu to take a swing at goal, which only marginally missed the target.
Picture courtesy of Watford FC