Tag Archives: yeates

Wolves 1 Watford 1: Sako rescues Saunders after fans voice their anger at board

Wolves 1 Watford 1: Sako rescues Saunders after fans voice their anger at board

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

21:42 GMT, 1 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 1 March 2013

Bakary Sako struck an equaliser three
minutes into added time to wreck Gianfranco Zola’s hopes of an 11th
away victory of the season.

The winger hit a right-foot shot beyond debutant Jonathan Bond after a long throw caused chaos in the visitors’ area.

Bjorn Sigurdarson flicked on the ball and Sako did the rest, claiming his 10th goal of the season.

Late show: Bakary Sako scored last-gasp equaliser for Wolves

Late show: Bakary Sako scored last-gasp equaliser for Wolves

Match facts

Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Doherty, Johnson, Gorkss, Robinson, Hunt (Cassidy 64), Henry (Davis 70), O'Hara, Sako, Sigurdarson, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 64). Subs Not Used: De Vries, Edwards, Ward, Batth.

Booked: Sigurdarson.

Goals: Sako 90. Watford: Bond, Doyley, Nosworthy, Ekstrand, Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Hogg 82), Battocchio, Anya (Pudil 84), Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 78). Subs Not Used: Bonham, Yeates, Murray, Geijo.

Booked: Abdi.

Goals: Abdi 41.

Att: 18,571

Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).

But it was not enough to pull Wolves clear of the relegation zone as they had been chasing the game since four minutes before the interval.

Almen Abdi — one of Watford’s controversial Italian loanees — struck a delightful free-kick from the edge of the area as the division’s top scorers looked to put three points between themselves and third-placed Hull City.

Protests had been planned outside the stadium before kick-off to voice concern about Wolves owner Steve Morgan’s stewardship. But the multi-millionaire had eased their anxiety by appearing before a group of supporters in midweek. He admitted making mistakes and apologised. The group which gathered under the statue of Wolves legend Billy Wright was no more than 50-strong and soon dispersed.

The air of relative calm around the stadium would have changed had Matej Vydra’s seventh-minute shot that deflected off Roger Johnson found the net.

Shortly afterwards, Bond, who had been promoted after Manuel Almunia was forced out with a hamstring injury, produced a superb double-stop.

Neat strike: Almen Abdi scores for Watford

Neat strike: Almen Abdi scores for Watford

Watford's Almen Abdi celebrates his goal

Watford's Almen Abdi celebrates his goal

He blocked Kevin Doyle’s fierce drive and then got to his feet quickly, palming Sigurdarson’s follow-up shot over the bar.

The value of that save was seen four minutes before the interval when
Watford took the lead. Karl Henry tried desperately to rob Vydra of the
ball as he advanced to the edge of the penalty area.

But amid a cluster of bodies the Czech fell to the ground and referee
Paul Tierney awarded the free-kick. Midfielder Abdi took responsibility,
curling his shot around the wall and past Carl Ikeme’s outstretched
right hand.

Bond then saved well from Doyle shortly before the hour but at the other
end, Ikechi Anya missed with a side-foot effort from six yards out and
Ikeme pulled off a superb tip-over from Christian Battocchio’s
long-range effort.

Watford may consider this two points dropped, but while the Football
League considers closing the loophole that allowed them to sign a dozen
players on loan from Udinese last summer, Zola’s men are still closing
in on promotion.

Watford 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Matej Vydra double

Watford 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Vydra double has Hornets flying

PUBLISHED:

17:42 GMT, 22 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 22 December 2012

Matej Vydra scored twice as Watford moved into the npower Championship play-off places with victory over Nottingham Forest.

The double took his tally for the season to 10, with the goals coming either side of Daniel Ayala being sent off for the visitors before the break.

Happy Hornets: Matej Vydra blasts his and Watford's second

Happy Hornets: Matej Vydra blasts his and Watford's second

Match facts

WATFORD: Almunia, Hall, Hoban, Ekstrand, Cassetti, Pudil, Hogg, Abdi (Battocchio 84), Chalobah (Mujangi Bia 90), Deeney,
Vydra (Beleck 74). Subs Not Used: Bonham, Neuton, Yeates, Geijo.

Booked: Cassetti, Deeney, Beleck.

Goals: Vydra 15, 40.

NOTTM FOREST: Camp, Collins, Ayala, Ward, Harding (Halford 46), Hutton, Moussi, Cohen, Reid (Guedioura 46), Cox (Blackstock 79), Sharp. Subs Not Used: Darlow, Gillett, Lansbury, Majewski.

Sent Off: Ayala (38).

Booked: Ayala, Ward, Cox, Sharp.

Att: 15,143

Ref: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

The visitors had an early chance to
take the lead when Andy Reid swung in a dangerous free-kick but Danny
Collins glanced his header just wide.

Watford threatened soon after and
Elliott Ward had to be alert to black Almen Abdi's goal-bound effort
after the Swiss midfielder burst through the middle.

Billy Sharp spurned a glorious opportunity to hand Forest the advantage with 15 minutes gone.

Chris Cohen found Simon Cox in space down the right and his low cross was turned wide by Sharp at the back post.

And they were made to pay when Guy Moussi conceded possession in the middle of the pitch.

Abdi pounced to play in Vydra and the Czech made no mistake from inside the box. Daniel Pudil's 20-yard drive once more highlighted the hosts' threat, with Lee Camp diving to his left to tip it past the post.

Forest's task was made even harder when Ayala, who was booked earlier, picked up his second yellow in the 38th minute.

Having already got away with a
blatant foul on Vydra moments earlier, the defender on loan from Norwich
brought down Troy Deeney on the edge of the box and was given his
marching orders.

The Hornets exploited their numerical
advantage to great effect just before the break, with Abdi again laying
on the assist for Vydra to finish from 12 yards.

Facing an uphill battle, Forest
manager Sean O'Driscoll made two changes at the interval, bringing on
Adlene Guedioura and Greg Halford for Dan Harding and Reid.

Those changes failed to stem the tide
of Watford attacks and it should have been 3-0 after an hour when the
ball fell kindly for Pudil on the edge of the box but he snatched at the
shot and cleared the bar.

Forest, to their credit, showed some
resistance after that, Guedioura firing into the side-netting and Sharp
dragging a shot wide from a promising position.

But Watford were worthy of their lead
and remained resolute in the closing stages, sealing a fifth win in
eight league games to climb into sixth place.

Burnley 1 Watford 1: Austin on the mark again as Clarets grab a point against Hornets

Burnley 1 Watford 1: Austin on the mark again as Clarets grab a point against Hornets

PUBLISHED:

17:38 GMT, 15 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 15 December 2012

Burnley striker Charlie Austin scored his 22nd goal of the campaign as the Clarets and Watford drew at Turf Moor.

Nathaniel Chalobah fired the visitors into an 11th minute lead with a well-taken volley from the edge of the area but Austin equalised 17 minutes later from the penalty spot.

The home side dominated for large parts but could not force a winner, with Austin himself being denied by goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, and the Hornets could have left with all three points as Joel Ekstrand struck the crossbar for Watford with 10 minutes left.

Another one! Charlie Austin's equaliser against Watford was his 22nd of the season and earned Burnley a point

Another one! Charlie Austin's equaliser against Watford was his 22nd of the season and earned Burnley a point

Match Facts

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Long, Shackell, Lafferty, Wallace (Vokes 90), Marney, Edgar, Paterson (Stanislas 72), Ings (Treacy 84), Austin. Subs not used: Jensen, Mills, Bartley, Stock

Booked: Treacy.

Goal: Austin 28 pen.

Watford: Almunia, Ekstrand, Hall, Hoban, Cassetti, Abdi, Chalobah (Yeates 46), Hogg, Pudil (Anya 90), Geijo (Vydra 72), Deeney. Subs not used: Bonham, Neuton, Beleck, Battocchio.

Booked: Chalobah, Almunia.

Goal: Chalobah 11.

Attendance: 14,896

Referee: Phil Gibbs

The latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Burnley boss Sean Dyche made three changes, with David Edgar and Kevin Long replacing suspended duo Chris McCann and Michael Duff, while Danny Ings was handed a first start of the season in place of Brian Stock, who dropped to the bench.

Watford welcomed back Almen Abdi to the side for his first start since November due to injury, while Alexandre Geijo replaced Matej Vydra in attack.

The visitors went ahead after just 11 minutes through on-loan midfielder Chalobah. Burnley failed to deal with a succession of Watford corners and, after the ball was partially cleared, Chalobah volleyed in from edge of the area for his second Hornets goal.

Burnley responded well to falling behind, with Edgar heading wide from Ross Wallace's corner.

And the Clarets were soon level. Referee Phil Gibbs had no hesitation in awarding a spot-kick after Joel Ekstrand pushed Dean Marney in the area and Austin calmly sent Almunia the wrong way.

Dyche's side were on top and Kieran Trippier's shot from the edge of the area tested Almunia, who could only gather at the second attempt. Then Danny Lafferty's deep cross was headed goalwards by Austin but the Spaniard saved well.

Just before half-time, Martin Paterson broke down the flank and Austin was denied a tap-in by a crucial intervention from Tommie Hoban.

Mark Yeates replaced Chalobah at half-time for the visitors to make his 300th career appearance, and the Hornets started the second half brightly with Deeney going close.

Away point: Nathaniel Chalobah had fired Gianfranco Zola's Watford into an 11th minute lead at Turf Moor

Away point: Nathaniel Chalobah had fired Gianfranco Zola's Watford into an 11th minute lead at Turf Moor

The striker, who was aiming to equal the club record for scoring in seven successive games, was denied twice by Lee Grant as the Burnley keeper saved the Deeney's far-post header with his legs and recovered quickly to block the follow up.

But Burnley soon found their rhythm again and almost went ahead as Trippier's dangerous cross was met by Austin, but his diving header was held well by Almunia.

Austin was then released by Lafferty but his attempted chip failed to find a way past the former Arsenal keeper.

There were loud shouts from the home fans for a penalty with 16 minutes left as the ball struck Marco Cassetti's arm in the penalty area, but the referee decided it was not deliberate.

Watford were still a threat on the counter and Ekstrand came within inches of a spectacular goal but his long range effort crashed off the bar.

But neither side was able to force a late winner as the game ended all-square.

Watford 4 Barnsley 1: match report

Watford 4 Barnsley 1: Terriers trounced in latest Troy story

PUBLISHED:

17:33 GMT, 1 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 1 December 2012

Striker Troy Deeney celebrated his 100th appearance for play-off hopefuls Watford with a pair of goals against struggling Barnsley.

Deeney headed in after just 10 minutes, and after midfielder Mark Yeates had produced a slide-rule finish from a tight angle just before the hour mark, Deeney struck again seven minutes later to take his season's goal tally to eight.

Going close: Watford's Fernando Forestieri takes a pop at the Barnsley goal

Going close: Watford's Fernando Forestieri takes a pop at the Barnsley goal

Match facts

WATFORD: Almunia, Hall, Hoban, Ekstrand, Cassetti, Yeates, Hogg, Chalobah (Battocchio 71), Pudil, Deeney (Geijo 81), Forestieri (Vydra 66). Subs not used: Bonham, Dickinson, Murray, Mujangi Bia.

Goals: Deeney 10, 66, Yeates 59, Vydra 83 (pen)

BARNSLEY: Steele, Cranie, Foster, McNulty, Golbourne, Mellis (dawson 32), Greening (O'Brien 81), Buzsaky, Davies, Sinclair (Noble-Lazarus 70), Tudgay. Subs not used: Alnwick, Wiseman, Cywka, Stones.

Goals: Tudgay 90+4

Referee: Fred Graham

Att: 11,335

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

Substitute Matej Vydra rounded off a
one-sided second half by converting an 83rd-minute penalty after he had
been hacked down from behind by Jimmy McNulty.

On-loan striker Marcus Tudgay did manage to notch a consolation goal for the visitors in stoppage-time.

The win saw the in-form Hornets extend their unbeaten record to seven matches and move into the top six on goal difference.

But Barnsley face a winter of
discontent, having now gone nine matches without a victory and being
dragged ever closer towards the bottom three.

Deeney had come off the substitutes'
bench to score against Barnsley's South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield
Wednesday in midweek and having been restored by manager Gianfranco Zola
to the starting line-up he wasted little time putting the in-form
Hornets in the driving seat.

He got away from his marker far too easily and stooped to head in Marco Cassetti's excellent 10th-minute corner.

It was the fourth time in three matches that Barnsley had conceded a goal from a set-piece.

The visitors twice came close to levelling matters from two Akos Buzsaky corners.

The first one saw leading scorer
Craig Davies produce a superb 15-yard header that Watford skipper Manuel
Almunia managed to claw away, with the ball grazing the post on its way
behind.

Then from Buzsaky's second delivery,
ex-Arsenal stopper Almunia produced an equally fine save to keep out
Tudgay's close-range header.

Luke Steele prevented Watford from
increasing their lead in the 24th minute, going full-stretch to push
away a fierce 25-yard right-footer from Fernando Forestieri.

Sinclair should have brought Barnsley level in the 39th minute when he was sent clear by Buzsaky.

Sinclair's touch was rather heavy as
he rounded Almunia and from a tight angle he saw his shot brilliantly
blocked on the line by the covering Tommie Hoban.

While the opening 45 minutes had been
very even, Watford dominated the second half – as Barnsley endured a
defensive horror show.

Yeates brilliantly found the bottom
corner from a tight angle in the 59th minute, before Forestieri teed up
fellow forward Deeney for a 16-yard finish in the 66th minute.

And Vydra, having replaced Forestieri, beat goalkeeper Steele from the spot seven minutes from time.

Tudgay notched his second goal in as
many matches with a smart finish for Barnsley in stoppage-time, but it
was no more than a consolation.

Leeds 1 Watford 6: match report

Leeds 1 Watford 6: Nine men gunned down by six-shooting loan rangers

By
Wayne Gardiner

PUBLISHED:

17:42 GMT, 10 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 10 November 2012

Watford's army of loan rangers combined deliver a fourth away win of the season as they ran riot at Elland Road on what proved to be another depressing afternoon for Leeds.

Frustrated: Leeds manager Neil Warnock

Frustrated: Leeds manager Neil Warnock

Hornets manager Gianfranco Zola has assembled a side largely made up of players borrowed from Udinese but, regardless of their origin, they clearly have more than enough ability to make an impression in the Championship.

The caveat to this win was that the
goals they scored from Matej Vydra, Almen Abdi, Mark Yeates, Sean Murray
and Troy Deeney all came after Leeds had been reduced to nine men, but
prior to that they had still looked the better side, having gone ahead
through Vydra.

Leeds did score a penalty through
Michael Tonge but having lost Jason Pearce to a first-half red card and
Rodolph Austin to injury after all their substitutions had been made,
were made to suffer for the best part of an hour.

Now without a league win in six,
they and manager Neil Warnock remain at the mercy of the takeover of the
club by GFH Capital which is close to entering its seventh month.

Match facts

LEEDS: Kenny, Austin, Peltier, Pearce, Byram, Green (Lees 45), Norris, Tonge, White (Brown 46), Diouf (Hall 46), Varney. Subs not used: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Becchio, Dawson.

Goals: Tonge (80, pen)

Sent off: Pearce

Booked: Peltier, Byram, Norris, Varney

WATFORD: Almunia, Doyley, Hoban, Ekstrand, Anya, Abdi (Hogg 68), Cassetti, Smith (Murray 81), Yeates, Geijo (Deeney 80), Vydra. Subs not used: Bond, Thompson, Chalobah, Forestieri.

Goals: Vydra 28, 83, Deeney 90+9, Abdi 61, Yeates 75, Murray 90+5

Booked: Ekstrand, Yeates

Referee: T Kettle

Att: 19,104

Click here for latest Championship results, fixtures and table

With an already-thin squad at his disposal, Warnock cut a forlorn figure throughout.

Well-placed sources on both sides of
deal insist it remains on track but regardless of whether it does or
not, it will not be as smooth a transaction as the one which saw Watford
bought out in the summer, allowing them to embark on their recruitment
drive.

They are now back in amongst the
play-off contenders and, having weathered an early storm which saw David
Norris hit the post following a six-man move, were too quick and
ultimately too good for their hosts.

Goalkeeper
Manuel Almunia was only tested once – when Luke Varney spurned a
one-on-one chance – and with Leeds keeping a high line in order to
attempt to exert pressure, they were easy pickings Watford's nippy front
three of Vydra, Anya and Abdi.

They demonstrated that in the 27th
minute when they opened the scoring, with Alex Geijo collecting the ball
on the break just inside the Leeds half and promptly sending a pass
ahead for Vydra to chase.

There was only one winner in his
footrace with Lee Peltier but his chance still needed finishing,
something he did with a clinical edge-of-the-box drive.

One could quite easily have been two
after that, with Abdi first shooting at Paddy Kenny after a ball came
loose, before the same player turned Pearce inside out and dragged a
shot across Kenny's bows and wide.

The home side were simply unable to
handle the speed with which Watford were attacking them and on the
stroke of half-time, they again paid the price.

El-Hadji Diouf's pass sold Pearce
shot and as Abdi nipped in to rob possession, the former Portsmouth
defender poleaxed him and was duly dismissed by referee Trevor Kettle.

Warnock's response was to make three
changes by the time the second half had started, but his cavalier
approach came back to haunt him two minutes after it when Austin went
down in a heap and had to be carried off, leaving United to carry on
with nine men.

It was open practice for Watford
after that and after a couple of sighters they doubled their lead on the
hour when Abdi dragged a 20-yard shot beyond Kenny and into the bottom
corner.

Against slim numbers it was hard to
gauge how good Watford were playing but there was no doubting the
quality of their third – a brilliant 25-yard free-kick from Yeates which
again gave Kenny no chance.

Somehow, Leeds got on the scoresheet
themselves in the 79th minute when Varney was upended by Joel Ekstrand,
allowing Tonge to score his fourth of the season, but it was a mere blip
for Watford.

With eight minutes left Vydra coolly
chipped a counter-attack second after an excellent ball from Anya and
then, deep into the 10 minutes of added time, Murray placed a 25-yard
drive beyond Kenny.

That appeared to have rounded things
off but there was still more time for Watford to score again, Deeney
replicating Murray's effort.

Huddersfield 2 Watford 3: Deeney keeps his cool to seal stunning fightback

Huddersfield 2 Watford 3: Deeney keeps his cool to seal stunning fightback

|

UPDATED:

17:23 GMT, 29 September 2012

Huddersfield squandered the chance to go top of the npower
Championship as Troy Deeney's late penalty earned Watford a dramatic
win.

Oliver Norwood's stunning free-kick handed the hosts, unbeaten in
six, the advantage, but Simon Grayson's men were stunned by a
second-half fightback from their struggling visitors.

Just cool: Watford's Troy Deeney (right) celebrates his winner

Just cool: Watford's Troy Deeney (right) celebrates his winner

MATCH FACTS

Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard, Dixon, Norwood (Arfield 79), Clayton (Scannell 72), Southern, Ward, Novak, Beckford (Lee 79). Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Wallace, Spencer.

Goals: Norwood 25,Lee 84.

Watford: Almunia, Cassetti, Neuton, Hall, Pudil, Hoban, Hogg, Abdi (Yeates 76), Chalobah (Smith 81), Deeney, Forestieri (Murray 90). Subs Not Used: Bond, Iwelumo, Forsyth, Doyley.

Booked: Cassetti,Smith.

Goals: Forestieri 68, Hall 83, Deeney 87 pen.

Att: 14,564

Ref: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).

Udinese loanee Fernando Forestieri netted his first goal for the club, Fitz Hall put the Hornets ahead and although substitute Alan Lee levelled, Deeney – making only his second appearance since being released from prison – kept his cool to win it from the spot.

The home side handed a debut to on-loan Leicester striker Jermaine Beckford and looked threatening early on, Keith Southern's header was destined for the back of the net only for Piccoli Neuton to clear off the line.

The Hornets' first chance arrived from a corner which was delivered by Forestieri and headed over by fellow Italian Marco Cassetti.

And they pressed again minutes later as Forestieri danced his way past Peter Clarke and hit a superb curling effort just wide of the far upright.

But it was the Terriers who broke the deadlock, and in some style too. Almen Abdi fouled Beckford and Norwood stepped up to steer home a breathtaking free-kick from 30 yards out.

It was the midfielder's third goal in as many matches, having only scored three in his fledgling career prior to that run, and it took his side temporarily top of the pile.

As the home fans rejoiced in that fact, Deeney, who served three months for affray, almost curtailed their celebrations but his header cleared the bar.

Forestieri should have sparked his team back to life early in the second half but he miscued wide when well placed.

Cool head: Deeney scores from the penalty spot

Cool head: Deeney scores from the penalty spot

The miss nonetheless served as encouragement to Gianfranco Zola's side and they drew level after 68 minutes when Forestieri's shot deflected off Clarke and crept past Alex Smithies.

Beckford's underwhelming afternoon was brought to an end 11 minutes from time as he made way for Lee but it was the away side who struck next before the veteran striker could make his mark.

Hall turned home substitute Mark Yeates' cross from close range and an upset was on the cards.

Lee, however, had other ideas and having replaced the man who made all the headlines pre-match, he looked set to have written one of his own when he netted a bullet header with six minutes left.

The final say went to Watford, though, when Cassetti was fouled in the box and Deeney converted the subsequent spot-kick for his first goal of the season.

Watford 0 Tottenham 1 – pre-season match report

Watford 0 Tottenham 1: Defoe delivers timely reminder of his talents to AVB

|

UPDATED:

18:08 GMT, 5 August 2012

Jermain Defoe made his case to start the season as Tottenham’s centre forward with the winner at Watford on Sunday evening.

Andre Villas-Boas is chasing at least one new striker with Emmanuel Adebayor and young Brazilian Leandro Damiao the chief targets.

But Defoe issued a reminder of his finishing prowess as he returned to the team after flying home from the club’s tour of the United States following the death of his cousin.

Jermaine Man: Tottenham striker Defoe scored the only goal in a pre-season win over Watford

Jermaine Man: Tottenham striker Defoe scored the only goal in a pre-season win over Watford

MATCH FACTS

WATFORD (4-1-4-1): Almunia; Doyley (Hodson 75), Nosworthy, Taylor, Pudil
(Dickinson, 6 min); Eustace; Yeates, Buaben (Massey 78), Hogg (Forsyth
67), Murray (Mingoia 84); Garner (Iwelumo 58).

TOTTENHAM (4-3-2-1): Friedel (Cudicini HT); Naughton (Walker HT), Gallas
(Vertonghen HT), Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Jenas (Sigurdsson HT), Livermore
(Bentley 80), Carroll (Huddlestone 67); Lennon, Bale (Townsend 75);
Defoe (Kane 67).

It has been a sombre summer for the England striker. His father died after a battle with throat cancer during the preparations for Euro 2012 and 20-year-old Hannah Defoe died last week, electrocuted when she dived into a swimming pool during a holiday in the Caribbean.

Defoe was back on the pitch at Vicarage Road and back in the goals as Tottenham continued their unbeaten pre-season under the new manager.

There were traces of AVB’s tactical trademarks around. The goalkeeper rolled almost every ball to his defenders, the central defenders split wide in possession, the full-backs roared forward and the midfield triangle tried to rotate.

His efforts to imprint this at Chelsea
were ultimately thwarted by the unsuitability of the players at his
disposal, their resistance to change and the impatience of the owner.

It
is unlikely that the Blues would have won the Champions League if he
had stayed and attempted to push through the change but perhaps Spurs
will be more receptive. It will probably hinge on results.

Tottenham have only one more friendly –
at Valencia on Thursday – before the Barclays Premier League season
starts at Newcastle and Villas-Boas has plenty of work to focus on.

Remember me: Injury-hit Jermaine Jenas got some important minutes under his belt against Watford

Remember me: Injury-hit Jermaine Jenas got some important minutes under his belt against Watford

Spurs seemed disjointed as the first 45 mintues of Lloyd Doyley’s testimonial match idled by.

William Gallas headed over from Tom Carroll’s corner when he ought to have hit the target but that was about it. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon were subdued but more influential after the break.

Watford are also in the midst of major
changes, with Gianfranco Zola coming in to replace Sean Dyche, who
finished in the top half of the Championship last season despite the
club’s severe financial limitations.

Zola,
back after two years out of management, told fans the club was entering
'a new era' but one of his new recruits, loan signing Daniel Pudil,
limped off after six minutes.

Villas-Boas
made four changes at half-time, sending on new signings Jan Vertonghen
and Gylfi Sigurdsson and Spurs started the second half with more
purpose.

Proving it: Jake Livermore continued to underline his value as a first-team member at Tottenham

Proving it: Jake Livermore continued to underline his value as a first-team member at Tottenham

Defoe grabbed his goal with a close range header after a strong run and cross from Kyle Walker, also on at the interval.

Watford responded well. Mark Yeates went closest to an equaliser after stealing possession from Younes Kaboul.

Yet Tottenham could have extended the lead. Manuel Almunia saved well from Bale and David Bentley but the Defoe goal proved enough to record a third win of pre-season.

Watford 0 Southampton 3: Lambert hits another treble as Saints regain top spot

Watford 0 Southampton 3: Lambert hits another treble as Saints regain top spot

Rickie Lambert scored a hat-trick as the npower Championship's leading marksman sent Southampton to the top of the table with a 3-0 win at Watford.

Lambert struck twice in the first half before sealing his treble with a second-half penalty, taking his tally to 19 league goals, as Saints extended their unbeaten run to six games.

West Ham started the day as leaders but their stalemate with Crystal Palace provided Nigel Adkins' side with the opportunity to leapfrog them and they took full advantage.

We are top of the league: Southampton celebrate Rickie Lambert's third

We are top of the league: Southampton celebrate Rickie Lambert's third

MATCH FACTS

Watford: Kuszczak, Doyley, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Dickinson, Yeates (Buaben 84), Eustace, Hogg, Kacaniklic (Iwelumo 78), Deeney, Trotta (Garner 59). Subs not used: Loach, Bennett.

Southampton: Davis, Butterfield, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, Schneiderlin, Cork, Chaplow (Hammond 77), Lallana (Puncheon 29), Lee, Lambert (Connolly 84). Subs not used: Sharp, Martin.

Booked: Hooiveld, Puncheon.

Referee: Tony Bates.

Attendance: 13,424.

Watford handed a debut to Manchester
United loanee Tomasz Kuszczak in goal but he was culpable for the
opening goal, finding himself stranded as Lambert nodded in.

The keeper could do nothing with the second goal shortly afterwards as Lambert fired home from the edge of the box.

Carl Dickinson gave the striker a
chance to wrap up his hat-trick when he fouled Tadanari Lee in the box
and Lambert duly obliged by blasting in the penalty.

The first chance of the game very
nearly fell to Troy Deeney when Kelvin Davis' rushed clearance came
straight to him but the striker was unable to control the ball.

It was an error from Davis' opposite number which led to the game's opening goal in the 13th minute.

Debutant Kuszczak had ample time to
get to Jose Fonte's cross but he hesitated and was caught out of
position, allowing Lambert to loop his header over the goalkeeper.

The visitors were buoyed by the opening goal and Lambert managed to double their lead just eight minutes after his opener.

The main man: Lambert hit his 20th goal of the season

The main man: Lambert hit his 20th goal of the season

Adrian Mariappa failed to clear the ball and Saints broke quickly through Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana.

The latter used trickery to create
some space and laid the ball back for Lambert, who emphatically drilled
the ball into the bottom corner at the first time of asking.

Lallana came off injured at the end of the first half but it did not slow Southampton's attacking juggernaut.

Japanese striker Lee should have put
the result beyond doubt early in the second half but he scooped a great
chance over the crossbar.

The Hornets had offered little in
front of goal but they should have pulled one goal back when Mark
Yeates' cross was nodded wide by John Eustace. The Watford skipper was
stretching and should have let the delivery reach debutant Marcello
Trotta, who was well placed.

Lee raced through 19 minutes from
time only to be denied by a fine Kuszczak save, but Dickinson pushed the
striker in the aftermath and referee Tony Bates awarded a penalty.

Lambert rifled the spot-kick into the top corner of the net and out of Kuszczak's reach to complete his hat-trick.

Watford 3 Leicester 2: Foxes hit by Forsyth"s sucker punch

Watford 3 Leicester 2: Doyley farce after Forsyth's sucker punch

Lloyd Doyley was given his sent off in what appeared a case of mistaken identity as Watford came from behind to dent Leicester's play-off hopes.

Doyley's farcical dismissal came in the 92nd minute when Adrian Mariappa tripped Leicester striker Jermaine Beckford just outside the penalty area.

Late strike: Craig Forsyth scores the winner

Late strike: Craig Forsyth scores the winner

MATCH FACTS

Watford: Loach, Hodson, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Doyley, Eustace, Kacaniklic (Dickinson 90), Murray (Forsyth 46), Hogg, Iwelumo, Garner (Buaben 82).

Subs Not Used: Gilmartin,Yeates.

Sent Off: Doyley (90).

Booked: Garner.

Goals: Mariappa 5, Murray 33, Forsyth 80.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier (Morgan 46), Mills, St. Ledger, Konchesky, Gallagher, Dyer (Howard 84), Drinkwater (Danns 46), Wellens, Beckford, Nugent. Subs Not Used: Logan, Marshall.

Booked: Mills,Konchesky.

Goals: Nugent 11,18.

Att: 11,800

Ref: David Webb (County Durham).

But, instead of producing the red
card for Mariappa, referee David
Webb sent off Doyley.
Watford manager Sean Dyche
admitted being 'surprised by the
whole incident' before heading off
to speak to the referee.

Discussing the victory, sealed
with 10 minutes to go by a goal
from substitute Craig Forsyth,
Dyche added: 'It was a great win
against a very powerful squad put
together for multi-millions.

'It became about that siege
mentality and the chance to break
in the second half. We did it three
or four times but then Craig hit a
fantastic goal.'

The defeat by Watford means
Leicester have gone a year without
registering back-to-back league victories, and such inconsistent form will surely dash any hopes of promotion.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson said: 'I have told the players I don't want to hear anybody talking about the season being over. There is work to be done.'

Off you go: Lloyd Doyley of Watford is shown the red card by referee David Webb

Off you go: Lloyd Doyley of Watford is shown the red card by referee David Webb

Watford got off to a flyer when
Mariappa headed home a Sean
Murray free-kick in the fifth
minute. But Leicester were on
level terms six minutes later
when David Nugent's shot from
the left-hand corner of the penalty
area evaded keeper Scott
Loach.

Nugent's second was much
more of an eye-catching effort,
the 26-year-old striker volleying
Beckford's backheel into the
top corner with 18 minutes
played.

Murray wrong-footed Kasper
Schmeichel with a 25-yard
free-kick to level with the fourth
goal in the opening 33 minutes,
and Forsyth grabbed all three
points for the home side with a
20-yard drive as Watford caught
Leicester napping.

Double trouble: David Nugent scored twice for Leicester

Double trouble: David Nugent scored twice for Leicester

Nottm Forest 1 Watford 1: Troy puts hosts deeper in relegation mire

Nottm Forest 1 Watford 1: Troy puts hosts deeper in relegation mire

Leveller: Troy Deeney

Leveller: Troy Deeney

Troy Deeney's first-half header earned Watford a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on an emotional day at the City Ground.

A minute's applause was held before kick-off for Forest owner Nigel Doughty who died last weekend and it was the home side who dominated for long spells.

They deservedly went in front through Gareth McCleary's 25-yard strike before Deeney equalised a minute before the break.

Forest pressed in the second half
and Chris Gunter was unlucky to see a volley hit the bar, while John
Eustace also crashed a shot against the woodwork.

The result ended Forest's six-match
losing run in the league at home but they remained five points adrift of
safety, while Watford extended their unbeaten run to three matches.

MATCH FACTS

NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Camp, Chambers, Wootton (Reid 87), Higginbottom, Elokobi, Gunterm Moussi, Guedioura, McCleary, Miller (Findley 75), Harewood (Blackstock 80). Unused subs: Smith, Lynch.

Goals: McCleary 19

Booked: Gunter, Miller

WATFORD: Loach, Hodson, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Doyley, Murray (Iwelumo 69), Eustace, Hogg, Kacaniklic (Yeates 62), Garner, Deeney. Unused subs: Bond, Dickinson, Buaben.

Goals: Deeney 44

Booked: Nosworthy, Doyley, Garner

Referee: Jon Moss

Forest manager Steve Cotterill
fielded a new-look back four with loan signings George Elokobi, Danny
Higginbotham and Scott Wootton starting alongside returning captain Luke
Chambers.

Watford went into the game looking
for a third successive victory and manager Sean Dyche kept faith with
the side that had started the previous two matches.

The home side started well and
Ishmael Miller almost got through on goal from a Marlon Harewood flick
on before Adlene Guedioura saw a shot blocked.

Forest fans had not seen their team
score in the last seven home matches but with 19 minutes gone they had a
goal to cheer when McCleary's 25-yard effort went in off the post to
give the Reds the lead.

Nottingham Forest immediately went in
search of a second and Gunter was sent through but his lob over Scott
Loach was cleared away.

Moments later, Miller also had a clear sight of goal only to see his shot well saved by Loach.

Watford responded and almost levelled
when Jonathan Hogg's header found Eustace unmarked but his header was
parried away by Lee Camp.

With a minute of the half remaining
Watford drew level when Sean Murray's lofted free-kick was met by Deeney
who headed past Camp.

Forest looked to have regrouped at
the start of the second half and McCleary picked out Miller who
fashioned some space for a shot but his effort was blocked.

Harewood also went close with a free-kick from 30 yards that had Loach scrambling.

The hosts went even closer to going
back in front when Harewood picked out Gunter and his thundering volley
cannoned off the crossbar.

Watford still looked dangerous
themselves and Adrian Mariappa had a near-post header saved by Camp
before Eustace saw a shot hit the bar.

Gunter had been at the centre of most
of Forest's dangerous moves and he had another chance with 12 minutes
remaining but fired over from 12 yards.