Get the Gate rocking for Leeds visit
Posted: Monday, July 22nd 2019
Saturday, September 22nd 2012
Steven Davies' first City goal secured a point in an absorbing clash at Vicarage Road.
James Wilson's 58th minute own goal gave Watford the lead after an uninspiring first half ended goalless, but Marvin Elliott's header soon drew City level.
Matej Vydra then put the Hornets back in front 18 minutes from time, but ten minutes later Davies was the right man in the right place to salvage a 2-2 draw from a game that might easily have finished 5-5.
Derek McInnes was forced into two changes due to injuries to Greg Cunningham and Cole Skuse - both stretchered off in the midweek victory at Peterborough.
Cunningham's place at left-back went to 19-year-old Joe Bryan, his 75th minute replacement at London Road, while the more familiar face of Albert Adomah returned to starting duties on the wing.
Watford shaded the opening exchanges, but City's danger on the counter-attack was ever present.
It took Wilson going into the referee's notebook to prevent a defensive mix-up gifting the hosts the lead when he, Liam Fontaine and Tom Heaton all went for the same ball, eventually forcing the Welshman to bring down Vydra with a clear chance unfolding.
From the resulting free kick, Almen Abdi's curling effort was just a whisker away from nestling inside Heaton's right-hand post.
At the other end, Baldock and Adomah looked menacing, as the two combined to produce a chance for the in-form striker that soon came and went when he opted to cut back on to his right foot.
Moments later, City's razor sharp number seven killed the ball in an instant as it dropped over his shoulder in the penalty area, but the driven shot on his second touch was deflected behind for a corner.
But Watford remained the more likely deadlock-breakers, and good work from Vydra provided fellow Udinese loan signing Fernando Forestieri with a big chance, only for the Italy Under-21 international to shoot tamely at Heaton.
City created an even more presentable opening 11 minutes before the interval when Martyn Woolford latched on to a perfectly weighted ball over the top from Ryan Taylor.
The winger connected sweetly with the bouncing ball, but struck his shot too close to former Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia who parried his effort to safety.
With the first half looking set to wind down into an uneventful stalemate, Abdi struck the foot of the post out of nothing from 20 yards via a Heaton fingertip, but City escaped clean sheet intact.
City should have snatched the lead with the first attack of the second period, but were on the wrong end of a post-hit of their own through Woolford.
Another Taylor pass this time fed the onrushing Adomah who was only denied by a last-ditch tackle, but the loose ball fell invitingly for Woolford with Almunia already committed, only for his shot to crash back off the upright.
But the missed opportunity only succeeded in sparking a tidal wave of Watford pressure.
It started with Forestieri unable to find Vydra completely unopposed in the City box, before, from the ensuing corner, Bryan cleared off the line from Nyron Nosworthy and Marco Cassetti prodded the rebound wide from six yards.
In the technical areas, it was Gianfranco Zola who blinked first to good effect. Physical striker Troy Deeney immediately set about causing problems off the bench, forcing Heaton into a firm parry only for Vydra to fire the rebound wide.
It would prove only a temporary reprieve, as Cassetti's low cross towards the substitute demanded drastic action from Wilson, who could only divert the ball past his own goalkeeper from close range.
But the Hornets' lead lasted only five minutes thanks in part to great work from Bryan, who beat Cassetti on the outside and delivered a perfect centre for Elliott to rise and powerfully head the ball back across Almunia for an excellent equaliser.
Now City had the momentum, and should have turned the game on its head midway through the second half. With red shirts queuing up, Taylor's eventual shot was well blocked, before a second chance created by Stephen Pearson and substitute Neil Kilkenny resulted in a low ball across the six-yard box begging for a touch.
Baldock stretched but could not quite grow enough, while at the back post the angle had tightened sufficiently to make Adomah's chance a far more difficult one and he only found the side netting.
But City fell behind a second time against the run of play in a frantic second half when Vydra peeled off the back of Fontaine, cut inside and finished clinically low past Heaton.
It seemed all the good work of McInnes' side in getting back into the game was destined not to be rewarded, but City's new-found resilience rescued a point when Davies scrambled in from close range eight minutes from time.
There was still further drama at both ends, as headers from Deeney and Fitz Hall were denied by the post and Heaton respectively before Kilkenny waltzed through the Watford defence only to blaze over and squander a huge chance to snatch three points.
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