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Report: Watford U23s 2-1 Bristol City U23s

A last-gasp goal from Watford’s Harry Forster condemned City Under-23s to a cruel defeat at UCL Sports Ground.

Jake Andrews finished off a smart City move to open the scoring in the third minute, before Michael Folivi levelled for the hosts on the stroke of half-time. 

The young Robins dominated proceedings in the second period but left London without at least a point as Forster’s deflected effort looped over Jojo Wollacott to extend Watford’s winning start to the Professional Development League campaign. 

Jamie McAllister switched to a 4-4-2 formation following City’s 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace. 

Andrews moved from a wide position to a central striker role alongside Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and the two combined to give City an early lead. 

Lemonheigh-Evans gathered Lloyd Kelly’s long ball down the left flank and picked out Andrews in the box who beat goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin with a smart finish. 

League leaders Watford battled back to twice to beat Millwall last week, and looked for an immediate way back into the match by peppering shots at Wollacott’s goal. 

The City stopper made a flying stop to first deny Max Ryan from 25 yards before making a similar stop moments later, palming Dennon Lewis’ curling free kick away from goal. 

Connor Stevens crashed a shot against the bar as the Hornets continued on the front foot and Wollacott was called into action again, tipping Folivi’s 20-yard strike round the post. 

Watford eventually grabbed an equaliser before the break. 

Lewis’ dangerous cross was hit on to the crossbar by a sliding Folivi but the forward was up quick to position himself to tap home the next delivery. 

James Difford and Lemonheigh-Evans changed positions at half-time and the former almost fired City a second with a curling attempt that just faded wide of the top corner. 

Welshman Lemonheigh-Evans’ low drive from range hit the foot of the post soon after before Lyons-Foster saw his header turned off the line with Aden Baldwin’s follow-up finding the gloves of Gilmartin. 

The defender had another good chance with ten minutes remaining as he rose highest in the area but couldn’t keep his header down. 

Out of the two sides, City were the ones who looked likely to win the contest but it wasn’t to be as Watford stole three points at the death. 

Substitute Forster played a neat one-two with Folivi to get in behind the City defence and his shot deflected off Charlie Harris and over a stranded Wollacott into the back of the net. 

City Under-23: Wollacott, Harris, Baldwin, Lyons-Foster, Kelly, Difford (Sweeney 57), McNulty, Morrell, Pring (Moss 70), Lemonheigh-Evans (Trialist 63), Andrews. Not used: Easterbrook, Omofe.