By Andy Lewers, Digital Editor, Tales From
Well, where to begin? Marco Silva’s Watford created history against Swansea on Saturday. The win meant it was the first time in the club’s history that we had won three consecutive away games in the top flight.
It wasn’t as straightforward as our other away fixtures however.
Having been torn apart by a ludicrously impressive Manchester City team last week, it was important Watford showed how they could respond to a defeat and a heavy one at that.
The ‘Orns dominated the early stages, despite the absence of Chalobah in midfield, following an injury during training earlier in the week.
Gray came close to opening the scoring on five minutes, following a superb run and cutback from the impressive Carillo, but it took a superb block to deflect the striker’s effort wide.
No matter though, as Gray was on hand to smash in a loose ball in the Swansea area eight minutes later. A cross from Carillo wasn’t dealt with by the Swans and there was Gray to bag his first goal in a Watford shirt.
Gomes had to be on hand shortly after to keep Watford’s lead intact. With Clucas lurking at the back post for a set piece, Gomes managed to jump across the face of the goal and palm Clucas’ close-range effort round the post.
Watford however continued to dominate, as the home fans became more aggitated as the half wore on.
The ‘Orns almost added a second, but Carillo was judged to have been offside after tapping into an empty net from two yards out.
Gray came agonsingly close to his second of the afternoon shortly before half time. His anticipation allowed him to intercept a tame backpass from Mawson and slide the ball under Fabianski. The angle was always against him however and the travelling fans watched in agony as the ball trickled the wrong side of the post.
Despite a late rally from the home side, Watford managed to hold onto their lead heading into the break.
A half time substitution of Wague on for Capoue meant that Watford changed formation and it had an immediate impact, though not the one we had hoped for.Swansea took full advantage whilst Watford struggled to adapt to the new system. Gomes made a decent save from an effort by Bony, but Abraham was on hand to tap in the rebound.
The hosts were beginning to dominate and would have taken the lead had it not been for a tremendous last-ditch tackle from Mariappa to deny Abraham his second.
As the half wore on, if anyone was going to win it, it was going to be the home side.
The introduction of Deeney with five minutes to go however changed all that. Shortly after coming on Troy had Watford's first effort on goal in the second half, but Fabianski made a comfortable save.
It wasn't until the dying seconds of normal time that the final twist in the tale would be made.
A poor pass from Mawson of Swansea in midfield deflected into the path of Richarlison. The Brazilian ran towards goal and got a lucky break when taking it past the final man to set up a one-on-one with Fabianski.
The ball seemed to loop in slow motion as Richarlison shot and the keeper got a hand to it, but it wasn't enough as the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced into the net to send the away fans into dreamland.
With five minutes of added time shown as the celebrations ended, the 'Orns managed to hold on and claim a vital three points.
What a moment, what a rollercoaster, what a day!
That win meant Watford had won three consecutive away games in the top flight for the first time in our history.
To use an old cliche, this really was a game of two halves. Watford were dominant in the first half and the hosts couldn't get anywhere near us. Second half however the tables were turned, the change of formation contributing somewhat as Swansea piled on the pressure.
But we dug in, we ground it out. It wasn't pretty, there wasn't much in the way of 'sexy football' either, but do we really care?
90th minute winners way from home, the best way to win a game.
Now let's go into next week and try and make it four in a row.